4 Steps to build your talent acquisition strategy

May 4, 2018
6 mins

From managing administrative and operational functions of an organization to becoming a strategic partner, Human Resources has undergone massive diversification in its scope and role. While a lot has changed with the way HR department functions, talent acquisition strategy still remains one of its primary responsibilities. But a lot has changed in the way HR handles this responsibility owing to the drastic changes in the business environment and the job market. Talent acquisition has become such an integral part of an organization’s overall business strategy, that a company’s success rests heavily on it.

Talent acquisition strategy vs. recruitment

Recruitment is a short-term effort limited to hiring candidates to fill a vacancy that exists in an organization. However, predicting an organization’s need to hire, even before such a situation arises, is essentially what talent acquisition strategy aims to do. Such proactive hiring requires careful long-term planning in collaboration with the management to understand the organization’s long-term requirements. Doing so aids not just recruitment but helps in predicting and effectively planning the company’s growth chart over a similar period as well.

Why is it vital to the success of your business?

With an effective talent acquisition strategy in place, the organization can transition smoothly over its growth curves, with the confidence that as and when the need arises, a reliable pipeline of talent awaits. Such strategic hiring empowers recruiters with both time and resources, which are both invaluable to recruiting. Recruiters can take their time to carefully plan out how best to leverage the right recruitment tools to attract candidates, peruse through the promising resumes and then go on to interview the ones who are most eligible. In the absence of such a planned approach to recruiting, companies often find themselves needing to hire at short notice with limited resources, often resulting in poor hires. A carefully thought-out long-term recruitment strategy will enable and empower the organization to hire superior talent and retain it over a longer period.

How to build a talent acquisition strategy

Talent acquisition strategies are not generic and there is no rulebook that dictates how best to strategize. There are, however, certain best practices which can be adopted and customized to suit an organization’s requirements. Here we list some of these best practices that HR departments follow.

Assess and analyze the business

Using data: First and foremost, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of your business, its long-term growth prospects, average monthly or yearly hiring load, past turnover trends, etc. to better understand periods of high or low demand. With tons of data available at their fingertips, recruiters are leveraging big data analytics to better assess and analyze issues associated with high turnover rates and the possible solutions to these issues. With a better understanding of the issues and their solutions, recruiters are able to make more effective hiring decisions that are backed by data. Armed with data and using some of the top recruiting metrics available, recruiters can analyze new recruiting performances and track how new hires are performing in their roles.  

Collaboration: Recruiting cannot happen in a vacuum. It is important to collaborate with other departments to leverage their skills in better tailoring your talent acquisition strategies. For instance, the marketing department can help you with the print and digital recruiting materials that can be used to attract potential candidates. The accounting department can contribute by helping you understand how to pull out actionable insights from the massive data that you have gleaned. Another vital source of information and insight are your current employees in roles similar to the ones you are looking to hire for. They are a treasure trove of information and can provide insights into the work culture of the company, what drew them to the company, what would attract them about a new role, and where would they go to find it. Collaborating in this manner with the various departments of your business can not only help you understand certain aspects, hitherto unknown, of your business but also provide you with fresh perspectives and insights to your strategizing.

Aided by technology: Automation in recruiting (Tools like HackerEarth) is yet another invaluable tool that saves HR a lot of time and resources. Be it screening candidates or assessing soft skills, it takes out human bias out of the equation and makes the process more efficient and effective. According to the 2017 Harvey Nash Human Resources Survey, about 15% of HR leaders believe AI and automation are already impacting their workforce plans, while another 40% believe it would be a vital factor in the next five years. To be ahead of the curve when it comes to AI and automation, it is important to take an inventory of your recruitment tools — applicant tracking system (ATS), recruitment candidate relationship management system (CRM), onboarding system, career site — and check whether these are indeed providing the quality of insights that you expect them to deliver. (Also read: A complete guide to Talent Assessment Software)

Work on your employer branding

Employees diligently check out a potential workplace on social media sites and read employee reviews on sites such as Glassdoor to get the real scoop on companies before applying for a job. In an attempt to dominate today’s competitive job market, companies are working rigorously on their employer brand, revamping their already swanky offices to incorporate state-of-the-art workstations and fancy cafeterias, and complete with an executive chef whipping up meals fit for royalty! At a more intrinsic level, this change is reflected in the company’s policies, be it the flexi or remote work-hours, a casual Friday, or even paid sabbaticals that go a long way in keeping the employee motivated at work. Apart from these, HRs need to strategize in collaboration with the marketing manager how best to align the employer brand with the corporate brand on social media, job boards as well as print and digital media. Any piece of literature that bears the company’s logo is subject to scrutiny. Hence, it is very important to put a lot of thought into everything that is being communicated on behalf of the company. (Also read: Tech talent doesn’t knock on the doors anymore)

Recruit and engage

Once the employer brand aligns with the corporate brand and this is reflected in the myriad social media campaigns and job posts, it is time to allocate resources to screen and assess job applications that would have started pouring in. After a careful screening procedure that leverages appropriate recruitment tools, the recruiter needs to arrive at a hiring decision, keeping in mind not only the technical skill-set but also the cultural fit of the candidate. Nothing appeals more to an employee than an offer that is tailor-made for him, keeping his needs and desires in mind, basically an offer he can’t refuse. As a recruiter, it is important to engage a valuable candidate from the get-go. A common mistake most recruiters make is in assuming that talent acquisition ends with hiring an employee. Engaging an employee for the long-term is no piece of cake, but he/she can be an invaluable asset to the company, so all efforts have to be made to convert them into engaged employees. (Also read: Social HR – new rules of talent acquisition)

Reevaluate effectiveness of strategies

To remain successful, companies have to conduct regular audits, leveraging data and technology to see the effectiveness of the strategies that have been put into action. This helps companies to realign their strategies to better suit the evolving business model and the market as well. While there are several metrics used by various companies to evaluate their strategies, the most significant ones are cost, time, quality, and quantity. Based on these four metrics, companies can analyze and assess the effectiveness of their processes.

Cost as a metric: A detailed analysis to determine cost inefficiencies in your process is crucial to measure the success of your strategies. Cost is an effective metric to measure quality since financial resources are limited and, if one cannot function within a budget, it is prudent to reevaluate it.

Time as a metric: Time is a little more complicated metric to measure the success or failure of a strategy. For instance, some processes reap rewards in the short term, while others do so over a longer period of time. A detailed, case-by-case study is essential to determine the effect time has on the effectiveness of strategies.

Quality as a metric: Quality, like time, is a fickle entity. Each organization would have a different interpretation of what it means. While one organization would value obedience, another may value innovation and yet another may define it by leadership and cultural fit. Whatever your organization’s definition of quality is, it is important to measure the success of your strategies against the quality of hire.

Quantity as a metric: Hiring more employees than necessary is bound to take a toll on company resources. However, hiring inadequately will severely affect the desired outcome and can have a damaging effect on the morale of employees. Quantity is, therefore, a great way to measure the effectiveness of strategies.

A good talent acquisition strategy is always in flux

Crafting a talent acquisition strategy is imperative to the success of your business and to ensure that recruitment as a process is conducted not merely on the need basis but as part of the strategy. However, as you could probably discern from the points above, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a strategy for talent acquisition. Instead, a good strategy is one that is designed to tailor to your business and is flexible enough to evolve as the business and markets change.

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About the Author

Arpit Mishra
Avid book reading advocate. Hardcore travel nerd. Technology freak. Follow me on LinkedIn to get more Insights on Tech Recruitment.

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