Your workers are the backbone of your operation. Having the best talent in place can mean the difference between a company that thrives or flounders. Your talent acquisition strategy is vital to maintaining a workforce that stable and productive. It requires more effort than simply posting an open position to a job board. A good talent acquisition process requires several steps to find the right people.
What Is Talent Acquisition?
Talent acquisition is the entire process of hiring a new employee. It is a team effort between HR, the hiring manager and essential staff. The process includes sourcing candidates, listing job postings, scheduling interviews, hiring and onboarding. Talent acquisition works best when it aligns with your company branding, diversifies your workforce, closes any skills gaps and fulfills your need for future placements.
Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment
It can be confusing to see talent acquisition as more than simply hiring a new employee. Compared to recruitment, talent acquisition is far more complex. Whereas recruitment is used to quickly hire to fill open positions, talent acquisition is a strategy to fill positions that will help lead your company in the long term. Think of it this way, when it comes to talent acquisition vs. recruitment, talent acquisition is hiring executives, managers and specialists, and recruitment fills your short-term headcount needs. For example, seasonal workers may be recruited and a new CFO will be acquired.
Should Your Company Be Recruiting or Acquiring?
As to whether or not your company should recruit or acquire talent, that depends on your industry, the type of position that needs to be filled and your company goals.
- Specialized industries require workers with a certain skill set. Tech companies, healthcare and finance all need employees with a level of expertise specific to their industry. The healthcare industry alone is expected to grow by at least 18% by 2026 and is still facing shortages. Finding candidates for positions in these fields means using targeted recruiting tactics to narrow the talent pool. Using talent acquisition strategies allows companies to source candidates through niche job boards and lure them away from the competition by showcasing their company culture and offering unique benefits.
- Increase headcounts with recruitment. When your workload demands a large number of new employees, recruitment may be your best bet. Construction companies typically hire a bulk number of workers when the season ramps up. As some of these workers won’t be needed during the downtime, it doesn’t make sense to exhaust talent acquisition efforts on short-term hires. There are better solutions, like the BirdDogHR ATS, that provide recruiters with the tools to hire quickly. In contrast, a company that’s looking to fill a position with an employee who desires to grow with the company will want to take the time to hire top talent.
- Growing a company demands a strategy. Once you develop a talent acquisition strategy, sourcing and hiring quality candidates are more efficient (more on that below). If your company has aggressive growth goals, using a strategy to hire the best candidates is a must. You’ll not only fill your open positions, but you’ll hire workers your company can invest in.
The Talent Acquisition Process
- Source candidates. Generate leads with a good inbound and outbound marketing strategy. Inbound strategies allow you to passively recruit candidates. Often some of the best candidates are already employed but willing to look elsewhere if the right opportunity presents itself. Even though these candidates aren’t actively searching job boards they are actively scanning social media. Post a steady flow of interesting content like video, blogs and webinars to gain followers who will naturally want to investigate any new job opportunities you post. Other inbound strategies include allowing candidates to submit resumes at any time and implementing an employee referral program. Your outbound strategy should piggyback off your inbound by using some of the same social channels to display your job posting. Cast your outbound net further with paid ads, job boards and email campaigns.
- Recruiting and attracting top candidates. Saturating the marketplace with your job posting is great but it won’t do much for your process if you’re left sifting through stacks of unusable resumes. Be strategic and use filters to draw the best candidates to the position. An Applicant Tracking System sets parameters or filters during the application process so only the most qualified candidates get through. The filters are customizable and may include things like education level, years of experience, geographic location and other information. The system can also add custom screening and scoring questions to place candidates in priority order.
- Interviewing and selecting candidates. The interview process is where potential candidates will really start to get a feel for how your company operates. If you have to constantly reschedule, your candidates won’t feel like they are a priority. Be welcoming, prepare questions ahead of time and listen to the candidate’s responses, asking follow-up questions when needed. Your interview process is also ideal for introducing your company’s culture. Today’s employees are likely to be more productive and stay longer if they enjoy a company’s culture. Invite potential coworkers to join and discuss what the day-to-day is like working for your company. Any candidate you select should not only meet the position qualifications but be a culture fit with your company.
- Hiring and onboarding. Once you’ve converted the applicant to a hire, keep the candidate engaged. Immediately follow up with your top choices after the interview to let them know you think they’d be a great fit and what your company has to offer. Present an offer letter that detail the position and salary along with the next steps for onboarding. Your onboarding program should reinforce the great candidate experience you’ve developed thus far. It should include information about your company culture, safety procedures and policies. A high-value onboarding program should begin before day one, be personalized, include performance goals and be measurable.
- Continuous development. Performance management that includes regular performance reviews and development opportunities will keep new employees engaged far past their initial training. Meeting with your new employee often allows you to guide them and answer any questions. Set performance goals early so your new hire has clear expectations of what is required of them. Performance goals should be challenging but also rewarding, enthusiastic and even daring.
Effective Talent Acquisition Tips and Best Practices
Your talent acquisition strategy can be enhanced with some tips to make the process more efficient and productive.
- Close the skills gap. Essential employees fill vital roles within your organization and if they leave you could be left scrambling to replace them. Succession planning helps identify talent gaps, filling any large holes left when an employee retires or leaves, minimizing the effects on company culture and function. Succession planning software gives you the ability to review employee performance and readiness with scorecards, comparative ratings and talent matrices so you know exactly where your company’s strengths and weaknesses lie and can recruit accordingly.
- Boost your pipeline. Using ATS software will automate your recruiting tasks and boost your pipeline by storing candidate information in one, centralized location. It stores candidate name, contact information, education, skills and any uploaded resumes. The information is easily accessed anytime you need to fill a position and it keeps passive candidates viable.
- Ensure compliance. If you’re a government contractor, your talent acquisition process needs to show you’ve been compliant with state and federal guidelines. Along with boosting your pipeline, your ATS should be able to:
- Track all applicants and report on the ones considered.
- Keep records of all employee-related decisions in case of an audit.
- Utilize built-in voluntary self-identification questionnaires for mandated Affirmative Action Programs.
- Update automatically so it is always 100% up to date, including pushing behind-the-scenes updates.
- Automatically send offer letters. Once you find the perfect candidate, don’t let a manual offer letter process slow you down and possibly cool your chances to grab your new hire. Use an ATS that can automate the process by filling in set fields like start date, salary, job title, job responsibilities, onboarding and first-day instructions. An automated process should also allow you to send letters internally for approval and give the candidates the ability to review details and request changes.
- Focus on employer branding. Every piece of content you create during your talent acquisition process should include your employer branding. According to HR Technologist, the better your employer branding strategy, the more attractive brand image is to your top candidates. An ATS can automatically attach your branding to your job listings and keep it consistent throughout the entire recruitment process.
If your talent management system doesn’t offer the tools and solutions to make your talent acquisition strategy work, we’ve got one that does. BirdDogHR’s Talent Management System has software solutions like and ATS, Onboarding, Performance Management and Succession Planning, that all work together to give your company the best chance at hiring top talent. Contact us today to see how we can make it work for you.