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Talent Acquisition Process

Talent Acquisition refers to ongoing activities that assist to identify, explore and vet potential future talent, both internal and external to your company. It is an overall business and HR strategy that aligns with the company’s long term goals and acknowledges that people (talent) play a huge role in overall company success today and in the future.

In comparison, recruitment is the methodology you use to attract and process active candidate applications and reach out to passive candidates for a specific position.

Related article: How to create an exceptional candidate experience when recruiting  

Whilst many still see the acquisition of talent as the end to end recruitment process, it has a much larger mandate. It includes proactively finding passive and active talent via a range of digital and offline channels.

It’s a competitive talent market and your company must develop an effective talent acquisition strategy including a compelling employee value proposition, to be better placed than your competitors to attract, secure and retain top talent.

This article outlines how to create a compelling talent acquisition process to attract, secure and retain talented individuals. Well selected individuals form the back bone of your company’s long term success.

Determine where you are going

Develop a road map

The people you bring on board must have skills, experience and competencies that will grow your company. That means you need to become very familiar with your company’s strategy for long term growth. With a better grasp of the strategy in place, you can more easily define the “people requirements” to execute that strategy.

Workforce Planning and Gap Analysis

Before looking to the market to source new talent, you should take stock of the skill sets, experience and competencies you already have within your company.

A clear view of the professional profiles of individuals within each of your business units (including permanent, contract and contingent workers), is essential to determining the exact mix of current company human capital.

Once you understand what your current capability looks like, you can then determine the capability gaps you need to close to meet the future strategic goals of your company.

Discussions at the boardroom table are helpful and important to make sure you align skill sets and experience with the strategic goals of the company.

Succession planning

Succession planning is another important component of an effective talent acquisition strategy. Talented individuals in your company should be identified and deliberate steps taken to mentor, train and groom those individuals to become the ‘stars of the future’ for your company.

Not only does this grow the human capability within your company, but it contributes positively to the employee experience and demonstrates your company’s commitment to growing talent from within.

Market mapping

It is all very well to understand the skills and experience you need to meet your company’s strategic objectives. But it’s another to actually turn that “wish list” into secured future employees.

In conjunction with understanding WHAT skills and experience you need for future company growth, you also need to conduct some research to assess whether individuals with those skill sets and experience individuals are:

(i) available in your local market

(ii) able to be sourced in the quantities you require

You can do this by mapping the market either directly or via a third party. Then a comprehensive strategy for recruiting (attracting, securing and retaining) these individuals must be developed and implemented.

Talent acquisition considerations

Once you have become clear on the strategic direction of your company and identified your talent road map, talent acquisition can be seen as a series of ongoing stages. These include:

  • Build awareness
  • Encourage consideration
  • Create interest
  • Drive applications
  • Facilitate selection
  • On board hires

Let’s break down the activities in each stage to better understand the key elements of an effective talent acquisition strategy.

Build awareness

This stage of your talent acquisition strategy includes recruitment marketing across a range of digital channels, social media platforms and offline (in person) activities.

An effective awareness strategy includes:

  • Calls to action on your Careers page
  • Maintaining up to date company and employee LinkedIn accounts
  • Maintaining an update to date company Facebook and Twitter page (if relevant)
  • Use of other relevant social media platforms to create a credible and current company profile
  • Presence at relevant events, conferences and meet ups to build your company brand profile and reputation

Create an effective referral program

An effective referral program is also a necessary component of an effective talent acquisition strategy. A referral program allows your employees to refer candidates to your company from their personal and professional networks.

Referrals are a very successful candidate sourcing mechanism and historically demonstrate high conversion rates (many of those referred are placed) and retention rates (those who are employed by your company tend to stay longer).

Related reading: Employee referral programs – Pivotal to your company’s success

Constant evolution of sourcing strategies

In this digital age, you cannot create “set and forget” candidate sourcing strategies and assume that these strategies will continue to drive optimal candidate referrals.

Proactive activities must be undertaken on an ongoing basis. Tweaking and adding sourcing approaches is essential to maintain competitive advantage. This might include:

  • Proactive social media searches
  • Internet mining and boolean searches
  • Careful review of algorithms and analysis of how to take advantage of them
  • Use of various job boards (keeping across new and niche boards relevant to your sector and the skill sets you seek)
  • Use of resume databases
  • Use of various networking sites (keeping abreast of new sites gaining popularity)
  • Active membership of professional associations including contribution to digital forums and presence at conferences and events

Encourage consideration

Start the conversation

When forming a relationship with potential employees, taking a longer term view is important. Start that professional conversation with prospective employees wherever you can, in person or online (digitally).

For example you could make contact with candidates in a general sense on line via platforms such as LinkedIn and then follow that up with a face to face or Skype interview.

Whilst the timing of this contact may not lead to that candidate working with your company straight away, in the longer term opportunities might arise. Given this is the case, it is important to create a strategy for staying in touch with individuals over time.

These talented individuals may indeed be the future leaders, clients or strategic partners of your company.

Provide content that illustrates your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Talented individuals are in high demand. With this being the case, it is really important to provide relevant and convincing content online (ie. via your website, on your company LinkedIn page etc) so that passive and active candidates can get a sense for what it is like to work for your company.

This could include videos of current employees, shout outs about social justice causes your company supports or congratulating a team or client on a job well done.

All of these elements contribute to the perception active and passive candidates have of your company as a future employer.

Be where active and candidates passive candidates are

You can no longer place an advertisement online and cross your fingers that the best candidates will apply.

Develop personas of the types of candidates you need to attract to your company and find out where they “hang out” (both physically and digitally). You need to devise strategies as part of your overall talent acquisition strategy to “hang out” there too.

Proactively build your employer brand

It is no longer enough to run active recruitment campaigns and nothing in between. You should create content on your website and relevant digital platforms to encourage candidates to contact your company, whether or not you have vacant roles advertised.

General calls to action to apply (non role specific) are essential to build and maintain a relevant talent pipeline into the future. It is essential to devise campaigns for a range of audiences including active job seekers, semi passive job seekers and passive job seekers.

Create interest

Create compelling EVP collateral

How do you currently express your Employee Value Proposition? What do your Role Descriptions look like? The content that you provide to interested candidates, both physical and digital, should entice candidates to learn more about your company and the roles available within it.

Careers page

Make sure your Careers Page has a general call to action for candidates who are interested in working for your company. Whilst there may not be a role available right now, start the dialogue with candidates who express a general interest in learning more about your company.

Drive applications

According to Glassdoor, 89% of job seekers say their mobile device is an important tool for job searching and 45% use it to search for jobs at least once a day.

It needs to be easy and seamless to apply for a role with your company via desktop AND mobile devices. Take on the persona of an applicant and try to apply for your own company’s role to see what the user experience is like.

According to CareerBuilder, 60 percent of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity.

Make sure that your application process can be undertaken in a short space of time. Ask for key details from each candidate but not so much that you risk losing them as an applicant.

According to research conducted by PageUp, only 29% of Australia’s, 30% of Hong Kong’s largest companies, and 32% of the largest universities in the US have fully mobile-optimized career sites.

Related article: Does your company have a mobile only recruitment strategy

Facilitate selection

This is when your recruitment methodology kicks into action. Your company methodology should be consistent, without bias, professional and personalised to the applicants considering working with your company.

Define your methodology and execute it consistently

The best way to maintain high standards in your recruitment methodology is to develop a robust and repeatable recruitment process. That is, list every single step in your recruitment process. Ensure that each of your company stakeholders undertaking each step does so consistently every time they meet with or interact with potential employees.

A repeatable process ensures candidates experience the same level of respect, service and communication each time they interact with your brand. Over time, this builds your positive brand profile in the marketplace.

Related article: Disrupt your own recruitment process and talent acquisition approach

Create a memorable candidate experience

It is tempting to create a recruitment process that works for your company and the resources currently available within it. But you MUST consider the experience your recruitment process creates for candidates who are prospective employees, client or strategic partners of your company in the future.

Put yourself in the shoes of candidates liaising with your company. Are you creating a professional impression? Are your company stakeholders personable, responsive and candidate focused? If not, you are at risk of losing candidates to other companies who DO focus on creating an exceptional candidate experience.

There are many ways to create an exceptional candidate experience. And creating the time to do so is ESSENTIAL to be seen as an employer of choice and an attractive employment option for talented candidates.

On board hires

On board with purpose 

Well that sounds easy I hear you say. But hands up if you have experienced a sub optimal on boarding experience at some stage across your career?

54% of companies with onboarding programs reported higher employee engagement (Source: Society For Human Resources Management).

A professional, structured and informative on boarding program is essential for:

  • Bringing new employees up to speed with relevant company information as efficiently as possible which start contributing to your company sooner
  • Continuing to build a positive brand reputation with new employees which leads to greater employee engagement in the longer term
  • Instilling company values and ethos in new employees so employees can more quickly contribute to the teams they work within and the clients they support
  • Introducing key players in your business to new employees in a professional and streamlined manner. These stakeholders are invaluable for collaboration and problem solving as your new employee settles in

Related reading: The role of on boarding in creating an exceptional new starter experience

Innovative recruiting campaigns

Plain text advertisements on job boards and a general call to action on the Careers page of your company website are unlikely to be enough to attract talented individuals. In recent times, there has been a significant uplift in more innovative advertising methods including informative and engaging video content.

Consider developing video content that showcases key leadership stakeholders in your company as well as your facilities and the very employees who make your company successful.

Video content on Careers pages, within job advertisements and on other digital platforms, such as LinkedIn company pages is becoming more prevalent. This content is proven to be more engaging than traditional, static advertising content.

Conclusion – Talent acquisition process success

Developing an effective talent acquisition strategy takes time and effort. But that hard work pays off. Understanding what your future company needs in terms of human capital should be a no brainer for any people function within a company.

And getting a much greater sense of confidence around how you are going to grow talent (internal growth and development efforts) and attract new talent drives executive confidence in the human resources function of any company.

By taking an enterprise view of your people growth strategy you will see your company grow from strength to strength.

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