Building a Top Notch Talent Acquisition Strategy

Talent Acquisition. Pretty easy concept, right?

Attract and hire the right people for the right positions. Easy enough to understand, but vital to do properly.

In today’s competitive job market, having the right people to carry out your company’s business strategy is crucial to your success. These people make or break your company; at the end of the day, your employees are your most valuable asset. In fact, 42 percent of Inc. 5000 executives stated that their ability to hire and retain the right talent was the key to their success. From recruiting to technology, branding and data, talent acquisition helps build the solid foundation upon which a company can find future growth and success.

Let’s back up for a moment, because there might be some confusion: isn’t talent acquisition the same thing as recruiting?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

You can basically think of recruiting as a subset of talent acquisition.
It’s the short game, the sprint.
An aggressive action that addresses a short term need, filling vacant positions quickly.

Talent acquisition, on the other hand, is so much more.

It’s the long game, the marathon.

A long term process which recognizes that the right talent plays a critical role in the company’s future. Talent acquisition identifies future business needs and seeks out the A-players that fit that specific niche, building a sustainable pool of candidates to pull from for when that need becomes available.

So what are some important things to keep in mind when developing a great talent acquisition strategy? Here are a few areas that deserve your focus:

BRANDING IS THE BEE’S KNEES

Your company brand has a HUGE effect on candidates. Gone are the days where salary and benefits were the only things that mattered. Obviously these are important, but candidates want to know what it’s actually like to work at a company. What’s kind of culture does your organization have? Do you have a distinct mission? How about your approach to the work-life balance? You need to make your company attractive, both inside and out, to help entice the right pool of people.

The easiest way to bring your company’s brand to life is through your website. If someone is seriously interested in your company, that’s the first place they’re going. Candidates are looking for a reason to apply to your job, and branding yourself as the employer of choice is crucial. According to iCims, 94% of candidates are more likely to apply to a job if the company actively manages its brand online. Keep your company’s site up to date, make it visually appealing, and promote your values and culture.

In addition to your website, social platforms are a great way to increase your brand’s reputation. 59% of job seekers use social media to research the lifestyle of organizations they are interested in. To add to this, 92% of recruiters say they’ve hired at least once through LinkedIn, and 24% say the same thing about Facebook. So it’s absolutely possible to find quality candidates on these platforms.

Social media gives you the opportunity to share a positive and fun company culture on your platform of choice, showcasing an environment that people will want to be a part of it. Go behind the scenes of your company, sharing stories about employees, or videos of a day in the life at your company. Write a blog about your values or something cool your company is doing in the community. Most importantly? Be authentic and real. And have fun with it! The more a candidate feels drawn to your company’s values, the better chance they’re the right fit for you and your team.

RECRUITING + MARKETING = <3 

Once you have a solid brand foundation, you can continue building your talent acquisition house with marketing. This is one of my favorite topics, so I promise not to get too excited and prattle on nonsensically.

Actual real life footage of me when anyone brings up marketing.


But, I digress. When it comes down to it, recruiting basically is marketing. And it’s imperative that these two work seamlessly together. Without a strong relationship, the marketing message sent to customers may not be the same that is sent to potential candidates. Here are some fun content ideas for amping up the marketing portion of your talent acquisition strategy:

Video Campaigns
(I touched briefly on videos earlier, but allow me to elaborate a bit.)
This stat blew my mind: Cisco has projected that more than 80 percent of all internet traffic will be video by 2021. To add to that, according to Forbes, 90% of customers say videos help make purchasing decisions, and 64% say that seeing a video makes them more likely to buy.
So why wouldn’t the same logic apply to your product (job openings) and your customers (candidates)?
Applicants want to see what life is like at your company, and video is the easiest way to make this happen. Consider things like employee testimonials, company culture, employee development/growth, work cases…the list goes on and on.
You don’t have to get super fancy with it either! Sometimes a quick 30 second blurb shot on your phone can be just as successful as a 30 second ad that takes three months to create. Plus, if you harness the power of social media and post your videos on various social platforms, you can retarget those people who have viewed your video, and potentially convert them into candidates.

Blogs
One of the easiest ways to create content for your recruitment marketing is blogging. Not only are you showcasing your company to your candidates, but as an added plus, you’re identifying yourself as a thought leader in the industry. Some of the biggest brands have blogs – Spotify does an outstanding job, and Etsy is regularly praised for their stellar blogging skills. And you don’t have to do it all alone! Reach out to various employees throughout your organization to act as guest bloggers, giving them the opportunity to share their stories or knowledge, solidifying your stance as the company that everyone wants to work for.

Email Campaigns
Because emails have been around for so long, they may seem like a “less sexier” form of marketing, especially if you have the stance that email is dead. Well, I can promise you this: it’s not. Email marketing is alive and well, and can be a premiere tool for boosting your candidate flow. The key to a successful email is making the content interesting to candidates. So how does one do that? Make your information valuable and relevant, in a personalized and timely manner. (Fun fact: emails with personalized subject lines generate 50% higher open rates.) It really doesn’t have to be over complicated or take a lot of effort. Additionally, you can A/B test to see what subject lines or verbiage works best, and utilize the reported data from your campaigns to analyze the effectiveness of your tactics.

VIEW YOUR CANDIDATES AS AN INVESTMENT

Don’t make your candidates jump through hoops.


Ah, the candidate experience. Sure, it’s a bit of a buzzword in the recruiting word, but the concept is completely valid.

The interaction candidates have with you, your recruiters, and your application process is ultimately what influences how they feel about your company. That being said, it’s important to recognize a few points that will be incredibly important to them:

Mobile Friendly Career Site
Here’s a fun fact: close to 90% of job seekers use a mobile device when looking for a new opportunity. Heck, in its 2016 RecruiterNation study, Jobvite found that 52% of mobile job seekers are searching for jobs in bed (meanwhile, an additional 15% are searching for jobs in the restroom 💩). Of those seekers, 65% will leave a company’s career site if it isn’t mobile friendly. Lots of numbers there, I know. So here’s the short version: if your career site isn’t mobile friendly, the probability that quality candidates are even finding your job opportunities is low.

Easy Application Process
One of the most frustrating things for a candidate is a job application that makes them jump through hoops, so it’s imperative to make sure your application process is easy. In a couple different studies, it was found that 30% of candidates won’t spend more than 15 minutes filling out an application, and 89% of applicants will abandon a job application with 45 or more questions. Simplify the application as much as you can. Sure, it’s necessary to collect important data and ask a few screener questions, but keep the rest for the interview process itself.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Candidates have one basic expectation from employers: feedback. They desperately want to hear from you! Nothing is more frustrating than wondering where you stand in regards to a position you applied for, or what next steps you need to take. In the 2017 Talent Board Candidate Experience Research Report, of the 52,000+ candidates who responded, forty seven percent of them were still waiting to hear back from employers more than two months after they applied. Nearly half of these candidates are just waiting around for more than two months, twiddling their thumbs, hoping to hear a response? That’s appalling. Even if it isn’t the news they were hoping to hear, at least give your candidates a respectful closure. To add to that, be open to giving – and receiving! – feedback from your candidates. Not only do they appreciate information about their application/interview, but this will also give you the opportunity to see how you can improve the experience for the next candidate.

DIVE INTO DATA

Data analysis: no android required.


The dynamic duo of data and analytics can bring your talent acquisition to a rockstar level. Although the idea of diving into complex data sets may seem a bit overwhelming, the outcome is absolutely worth the effort. This data can give you insights on whether or not a candidate is the unicorn your organization is looking for. It’s the difference between making decisions based on a gut feeling, versus making them based on fact.

Sure, the use of data to drive decisions isn’t by any means a newfangled idea; what is new is the ability to quickly analyze these mountains of data to predict hiring outcomes and make smarter recruiting decisions.

According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Global Recruiting Trends, these are the top five uses for data in talent acquisition:

  1. Increase Retention
  2. Evaluate Skills Gaps
  3. Build Better Offers
  4. Understand Candidate Wants
  5. Do Workforce Planning

Add in things like predicting speed of hire, improving the candidate experience and embedding diversity into your recruitment process, and it’s clear that a data-driven recruiting process is the way to go.

ACQUIRE THAT TALENT!

Onward to success!


In a world full of job postings, where 51% of employed adults and 60% of millennials are seeking new opportunities, people are no longer desperate to work with just anyone: you have to stand out from the crowd. With these tools, you can successfully create a stellar talent acquisition strategy to help attract and retain the people who will truly thrive with your company.

You’ll be able to show candidates that:

  • they’re valued
  • they’ll be able to develop new skills and grow
  • they truly belong with your company and will love working there

By regularly implementing these tools, you’ll build a competitive advantage which grows over time and solidifies your position as the employer of choice.

Now, go forth and put them into practice!

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