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Harnessing innovative ideas to source top talent

If you are like most companies, you have developed a recruitment and talent acquisition (TA) strategy that you are reasonably comfortable with. Or perhaps you are very comfortable with your approach. Either way, constant improvement and refinement of your strategy is the only way to stay ahead of your competition.

Let’s face it. It can be difficult to build momentum to constantly implement new ideas to improve your recruitment and talent acquisition function.

Managing Innovation Ideas in your Recruitment and Talent Acquisition function

Whilst great ideas probably get thrown around fairly frequently amongst your talent and HR team, it can feel as though you are talking about ideas for change, but never implementing them.

Here is a simple template you can use to implement change in your recruitment and TA function, idea by idea. Small changes over time are very effective in improving your recruitment and TA approach, and often are more “implementable” than large change initiatives with multiple components.

Identifying innovation opportunities

Recruitment and talent acquisition change ideas can come from anyone in your company and indeed from the very candidates who experience your recruitment process. Change might be identified by:

  • Candidates when they are asked for feedback at the end of a recruitment campaign
  • New starters who have experienced your recruitment process
  • Recruitment and talent acquisition team members
  • Employees who have referred candidates through your Employee Referral Program
  • Client and strategic partners

Ideas from all stakeholders should be considered valid and worthy of further consideration. Often ideas that come from stakeholders outside the recruitment and talent acquisition team are innovative and entirely new concepts, uninhibited by traditional recruitment thinking. Out of the box thinking is most certainly a driver for major innovation and improvement in your recruitment and TA approach.

Recording innovative ideas for change

So, given innovative ideas come to people at all times of the day and night, how do you keep track of them?

It’s important to capture all ideas centrally somewhere. That way the ideas can be further discussed and scrutinised by your recruitment and talent acquisition team.

In the absence of a software package or system, a simple spreadsheet will do initially. Here is a sample format you could follow:

Date Idea/Innovation From Whom Business Impact Priority Comments Action with

Here is a quick explanation of each column:


This one is pretty self explanatory. It records when the idea was suggested.


Provide a brief outline of the idea or innovation itself being as specific as possible.

From Whom

It is important to capture where the idea came from. Over time this allows you to see where most of the innovative ideas are being generated and also allows you to acknowledge that person if the idea gets implemented.  

Business Impact

It is important to note down what the business impact is of any idea for change in your recruitment or talent acquisition process. Great ideas must lead to improved business outcomes. Or in the recruitment and TA context, an improved candidate experience.


Listing a priority from say 1-3 allows you to “rank” ideas. Priority 1 means that the idea will have a significant business or candidate experience impact. Priority 3 means it is a good idea but it has a more limited benefit. It is impossible to act on all ideas for change. By prioritising them, you can more easily decide in which order to action ideas.


Use this section to note next steps to be taken to further explore or implement the idea.

Action with

It is important that you assign next steps to a particular person in your company. This will ensure that there is no confusion about who is taking next steps and reporting back to the group. It doesn’t necessarily mean that person is solely accountable for implementing the change. Just that they are accountable for whatever the nominated next steps are (which you can list in the Comments column).

Measure the impact

It is important to measure the changes that you make and the impact that change actually has on your recruitment and talent acquisition function. Perhaps the change improves candidate feedback cycles by X days. Maybe the change provides a notable improvement in the candidate experience (as evidenced by candidate feedback since the implemented change).

Sometimes it can take a few months to see the benefit of any changes made. So be patient. But don’t miss the opportunity to measure changed outcomes. This will motivate you as you implement more changes over time.

And remember, not all changes will revolutionise your company’s ability to attract, secure and retain the best talent. But many will make an incremental improvement in your company performance which over time can improve the candidate experience and the quality of hires your company makes.

Innovate or lose your competitive advantage

No recruitment or TA approach is perfect. And what works today may not work tomorrow. Take the time to regularly seek feedback from your candidate base to hear first hand what works in your process and more importantly, what doesn’t.

Consider using an anonymous survey for all candidates who interview or have a touch point or two with your company during any recruitment campaign or talent acquisition initiative. And regularly ask your own employees about their prior recruitment experiences too. All of this data is enormously helpful when devising new and innovative ways to attract talent to your company more effectively than your competitors.  

By creating a systematic process of capturing new innovations for your recruitment and TA function, you are more likely to take action and nurture an innovation mindset within your company – when people see ideas are actioned, they are more likely to contribute their own unique and valuable ideas to evaluate.

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