In an increasingly globalized world, organizations across the globe now believe that there is a lot more to the equation of “hiring right” and making it work for the business. Hiring decisions are often described to be analogous to gambling. While the right hires can prove to be a valuable asset for the organization, unsuitable candidates can affect the company’s productivity if hired. This is where understanding the fundamentals of talent acquisition is crucial.
You, as an employer, deal with handling several priorities, including maintaining workplace diversity, ; providing in-house employee training, or keeping a check on regulatory requirements,. On average, each corporate job attracts 250 resumes, out of which only 4-6 candidates are called for the interview (Source: Glassdoor). Since improving the quality of hired candidates has become one of the top recruiting priorities, you will find yourself in a better position to make the right hiring decisions with clear fundamentals.
Let’s begin with the basics of talent acquisition.
What is Talent Acquisition?
Talent acquisition refers to the process of sourcing, identifying, and acquiring skilled candidates to fulfill various organizational needs. Contrary to popular belief, it is more nuanced than just recruiting new employees. The key responsibilities of recruiters, HR professionals, and hiring managers are targeted for talent acquisition. They specialize in finding, assessing, and hiring the right candidates for open job positions in your company.
In some cases, the talent acquisition team forms a part of the Human Resources department within an organization. In others, it has its own separate department in coordination with the HR team. Finding the most skilled candidates for a particular job role is paramount to the talent acquisition process.
In general, the skill sets of talent acquisition professionals include sourcing, candidate assessment, maintaining hiring standards, and employer branding to support hiring initiatives.
The next question you might have in mind is – Is the talent acquisition process the same as recruitment?
Let’s cover that too.
Talent Acquisition Vs. Recruitment: Differences
For many business owners, it is easy to consider recruitment and talent acquisition to be the same thing. At their core, both these processes share the same goal: to place people into the open job positions in an organization. While they overlap in many ways, there are several differences between the two.
Consider this analogy to understand the differences –
Sports front offices identify and sign free agents to fill the immediate needs of their teams. This is akin to recruitment. On the other hand, talent acquisition, in relation to this analogy, relates to maintaining roster health in the long term. This requires drafting the best talent, ensuring financial flexibility, and hiring coaches to maintain a winning team culture for long-term success.
In simple words, recruiters fill open vacancies. But the talent acquisition team works on a strategy to identify specialists and future leaders for their organizations. While the former addresses the short-term headcount needs, the latter factors in the long-term goals of a company.
Unlike simply filling vacant seats, talent acquisition is a continuous process that helps identify and vet candidates for executive-level positions and even leadership roles.
More About the Talent Acquisition Process
The process of acquiring talent involves six primary steps that may take a few days or a month to complete. These include:
Talent sourcing and lead generation
Make your talent needs widely known to the targeted communities. This includes identifying the right social networks and groups, finding industry events, and joining online forums and communities where the professionals in your industry gather. You can network with them via these platforms and build relationships for later use.
In doing so, you can generate a large pool of potential candidates and hence, a stronger acquisition pipeline for future hires. When the time comes, you can make the most of your existing relationships by spreading the word in the form of an irresistible job description.
Attracting potential candidates
Ideally, no one would want to leave your organization if it has an inclusive culture and individuals get a competitive compensation package. Since we do not live in an ideal world, you can only strive for offering no-less-than-ideal work opportunities in different ways and working to attract the right talent. This will require you to build a strong employer brand and promote its unique work culture to attract as well as retain the best talent in your industry.
Candidate relationship management is yet another crucial aspect of talent acquisition. It involves ensuring a positive candidate experience, courting the leads, and staying in touch with the ones who are not a perfect fit now but could be considered in the future.
Scheduling interviews for candidate assessment
As an employer, you can only get to know what a candidate wants you to know about him/her. While a resume can give a much-needed first impression, it is important to get to know candidates further to find out if they are the right fit for a job role. This requires you to schedule interviews – offline or online with the potential leads and gauge their understanding of 3-5 essential tasks that the position requires.
You can also build interview questions around behavior analysis, previous experience, or a problem-solving approach. Similarly, you need to assess candidates using skill tests like writing sample content or coding a program.
Many recruiters skip this step but it is essential as a part of the talent acquisition process. With reference checking, you can solidify your notion about a candidate’s fit for a given job profile. This can be done by validating the selected candidates and checking on the references they provide from their past employment.
This will help you identify and clarify certain concerns that you might have missed. If the given references agree that the candidate has the character, qualifications, and experience you are looking for, you can start making an appropriate compensation offer.
Finalizing the candidate selection process
It often happens that the talent acquisition process faces unexpected halts or delays. This can be because the C-suite and other stakeholders are busy with their core tasks and unable to prioritize lending a helping hand in acquiring the best talent. To stay prepared for such delays and streamline the process, it is important to have a system in place.
This system should have well-defined steps and tentative timelines to hire the right individuals without fail. For example, once the interview rounds are done, a candidate’s details must fall into an internal grading system, the results of which are then passed to the management team for final approval.
Final hiring and onboarding
In many organizations, the final hiring process does not necessarily fall into the lap of the talent acquisition team. Still, it is the last step to hiring the top-class talent you have filtered for your company. Keep in mind that a strong onboarding process can make or break the company’s relationship with a new employee.
For instance, if the onboarding process is too complicated, it may push the candidates to look for other opportunities in less time. On the other hand, if it is too easy and only involves submitting documents, it may question the employer’s credibility in its niche. Hence, maintaining the right balance is vital to streamlining the onboarding process.
Tips to Streamline the Talent Acquisition Process
Whether you already follow a business-specific talent acquisition process or are in the middle of defining one, knowing a few handy tips will definitely help:
Identify specific roles in your company that are hardest to fill. For example, jobs requiring niche skills, specific experience, technology, and senior leadership roles can take around three to six months to fill. Once you determine them, prioritize them as a part of your talent acquisition process. This will make it easier for you to hire just the right person for a job role or an entire team on short notice.
Create a candidate pipeline
If your company already handles thousands of talented employees, it is hard to know when any of them would want to exit. In case this happens at scale and several people resign in a row, you would find it difficult to fill their vacant positions in less time. You can be prepared for such situations with the help of a talent pipeline either in a spreadsheet or a recruiting tool. Whenever needed, you can simply call the candidates on your list to ask if they are open to switching to a new job role.
Get your existing employees on board
Avoid limiting the hiring process to your HR and talent acquisition team. Instead, get the entire workforce involved in referring potential candidates from their network with the benefit ofemployee referral programs or monetary rewards for key hires. If the employees working for your organization know about the open job positions and preferred qualifications/experience, you will likely find the best candidates faster than you may think otherwise.
Don’t rush to acquire candidates
Indeed, interviewing a candidate is important. But you cannot get to know a candidate in just one round of interviews. As a whole, you would want to see how a candidate will perform when faced with different work-related problems and how he/she will perform under strict deadlines. Knowing it all requires frequent communication with potential candidates. Hence, it makes sense to give the process the time it requires.
Talent Acquisition Strategy Examples
While talent acquisition strategies vary widely according to organizational requirements, below are a few common tactics to follow:
Build and boost your brand
A strong employer brand can help in recruiting the best talent and attract them to apply for open positions. In the current digital age, it has become paramount for businesses to have an official website, create and manage social media profiles, and promote their workplace culture to target potential career-seeking candidates. Your branding efforts will make it easier to grab the attention of top talent in your industry.
Look for niche roles
This may sound counterintuitive to looking for a broad spectrum of skills in the candidates. But the more specific you become about the skillset and past experience, the more success you will get in finding exactly who you are looking for. Niche roles can narrow the candidate pool way down, which will also make the outreach efforts more manageable.
Perform succession planning
This talent acquisition strategy is meant to groom and promote employees internally instead of looking for reliable professionals outside. You can identify the peak performers within your company and prepare them to take more responsibility at a later stage. Besides this, you can circulate a list of open roles for internal team members that they can apply to based on their experience.
Talent acquisition is arguably one of the most important drivers of long-term business growth. While each company handles its talent needs differently, it is important to have a good understanding of the basics first. It is then up to you to decide whether you want to have an in-house team to acquire talent or hire a staffing agency to make things easier for you.
Acquire the Right Talent with ConnectTel
Once you understand the basics of talent acquisition, put them into action with the help of ConnectTel’s hiring experts. ConnectTel is an Austin-based staffing agency with deep expertise hiring top tech talent. To learn more, click here.