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“Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he is hired to do.”
This famous quote by well-known American entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes sums up the advantages of acquiring top talent for a company. It is easy to have a hopeful prognosis about an organization’s future but foreseeing it is impossible. However, being prepared for the unforeseen can give a competitive advantage and help businesses achieve transformational growth.
Talent acquisition is among the foremost needs for a future-ready organization that does not want to fall behind in pursuit of growth. Nowadays, the hiring landscape is fraught with unexpected challenges. The rising demand for highly skilled, resilient professionals with the changing nature of skills and jobs in the digital era has made the role of talent acquisition specialists extremely critical.
Talent acquisition experts have a significant task – how do they monitor and ensure the continuity of the talent acquisition activity? Are there tools and technologies for streamlining this process? This blog details talent acquisition and the best practices for drawing up the strategic talent acquisition process.
Talent acquisition is a strategic process to find, assess, acquire and retain suitable individuals to accommodate an organization’s talent needs. It involves a structured set of implementation tasks the teams within the HR (Human Resource) department perform to secure top talent. It addresses the issue of identifying talented employees, given the organization’s resources, workforce situation, market position, and other competitive parameters.
In short, talent acquisition initiatives aim to develop and execute strategies to have a better quality of hires, develop a strong employer brand, deliver a better candidate experience, and set up a robust talent pipeline for future requirements. Furthermore, technology and data-driven tools such as talent management software can efficiently help talent acquisition professionals carry out their functions.
A successful business combines several distinct aspects, among which talent is one of the most important. People are the driving force in any company’s operations. Hence, identifying and retaining the best talent is crucial as it straightly affects the organization’s future success.
Here is why talent acquisition is more crucial than ever:
The talent acquisition team addresses the talent needs, continually seeks the best talent in the industry, and builds an effective relationship with prospective candidates. Then, when the situation calls for it, the organization can connect with a valuable network of interview-worthy individuals.
It considers the changing business needs, given that the organization is eyeing growth and expansion to fill current and future talent gaps. Talent acquisition strategy also helps forecast future talent needs and costs, including new openings for senior-level roles, which allows HR teams to stay proactive in securing top talent.
Undeniably, making great hires can translate to exceptional products or services. Talent acquisition can help set a baseline for business standards and functions.
An organization is as good as its people- the higher the quality of talent, the better the quality of a company’s offerings. Therefore, the onus is on employees to align themselves with business objectives. Their competencies, decision-making abilities, and attitude have a considerable bearing on the bottom-line growth. Without the right people in the right roles at the right time, an organization’s future may head toward oblivion.
Although these terms are often used synonymously, talent acquisition and recruitment are subtly different. The recruiting process is aimed at filling positions in an organization. While it focuses on finding the best person for a job, it is far less nuanced than the talent acquisition process.
|Addresses an organization's immediate hiring requirements.||It delves deeper into the organizational goals, present and future planning while hiring talent.|
|It is a specific, predefined process usually implemented either during a turnover or expansion.||It not only focuses on filling vacancies but also gravitates toward finding the right fit who seeks a long-term association with the company.|
|It is a crucial part of talent acquisition.||It is considered a part of the HR processes.|
|Priority areas include sourcing, screening, interviewing, selecting, and onboarding employees.||Priority areas include developing a strategic hiring plan, building an employer brand, building a talent pipeline, maintaining the applicant-employer relationship, and acquiring the right talent through effective sourcing strategies.|
|It may be perceived as a reactive approach, implying that as soon as a position opens, it must be filled without any delay.||It is a more comprehensive, ongoing talent strategy that involves long-term human resources planning to find prospective talent for roles that mandate a particular set of competencies, e.g., leaders, future executives, specialists, etc.|
Talent acquisition management usually comprises five steps, from talent needs analysis to final assessment. So, a systematic approach for managing the talent acquiring process would yield the best outcomes.
First, talent acquisition specialists scope out talent needs by communicating with their managers or leaders to understand business objectives and finalize goals for the year. They also regard multiple factors while drawing up hiring plans, such as onboarding, new team formation, attrition, varying job markets, etc. This stage also includes understanding hiring managers’ job requisitions and preparing job descriptions.
This stage involves candidate sourcing, wherein the talent acquisition team makes every effort to gain high visibility in the employment market for their job openings. They do so with the help of various means- publishing openings on their career site, multiple job boards, communities, forums, social media groups where engagement and awareness for interactive events take place, such as hackathons, referrals, etc. They might tend to use the services of external vendors/recruiters. Eventually, they have a large pool of qualified candidates to pick from while hiring.
The moment candidates start pouring in via various sourcing mediums, it becomes evident for the talent acquisition experts to screen them on numerous parameters like skills, experience, aptitude etc. Online talent assessment software helps conduct this complete process efficiently. This advanced platform can automate and streamline multiple stages of the selection process like written assessments, video interviews, technical interviews, coding reviews, and more based on the job roles for which companies are hiring.
Moreover, the interview panel can utilize structured interviews extensively as they are highly objective and standardized. Talent acquisition teams can let the panel in on the evaluation criteria and interview kits beforehand. The interview panelists then review the interviewee’s performance and share their feedback.
The well-thought-out feedback provided by the panelist helps the talent acquisition team accelerate the final hiring decision and give out offers. The team begins the onboarding formalities after the candidates accept the offer. They want to ascertain whether the new employees have made acquaintance with the superiors and teams and how soon they started engaging with the organization for a promising beginning. This step also helps minimize new hires reneging on the offer. The acquisition team also includes any good talent that they came across who somehow did not become a part of the talent pool for future considerations should the need arise.
The last step of the process is the evaluation. This step aims to understand whether the candidate’s expectations in terms of the job and organization have been fulfilled. This allows understanding of the underlying expectations of candidates. If there is an expectation misalignment, candidates’ needs should be addressed in a structured manner by identifying probable causes. For example, it could be that managers might be unaware of what recruiters have promised to the candidates or miscommunication/misinterpretation could create different notions in the new employee’s mind.
When approaching a talent acquisition strategy, an organization should prioritize what it aims to achieve and what tools it intends to use. However, the process’s effectiveness is dependent on different recruitment scenarios, which are covered below.
Bulk hiring is an entirely different scenario from recruiting for a single position. The former necessitates managing a hiring ramp-up without increasing costs while maintaining the hiring quality. A strategy for bulk-hiring will include sourcing talent and using talent assessment software that automates the pre-employment screening process to assess talent holistically via data-driven tools.
Finding highly qualified and capable candidates for senior roles is arduous, as they cannot be subjected to the initial teething phase that junior employees undergo. From the first day, senior-level employees are meant to be at the helm, to steer the organization towards success. Therefore, you need to craft a meticulous strategy for senior professionals, with a completely different approach for sourcing and engagement. It would be best to partner with a leading online talent assessment provider to meet critical talent acquisition requirements.
Research suggests that employee referral is one of the most accepted talent acquisition methods, irrespective of a staggering increase in the number of social recruiting platforms and job boards. This is because internally acquired candidates are already aligned with their organization as per their personality and culture fit, which significantly alleviates the burden for talent acquisition managers. Some of the best ways to approach the internal talent acquisition strategy are seeking endorsement across the organization, gamifying referral programs, and providing referral incentives.
With digital transformation becoming a pressing priority for every organization, tech hiring now needs a well-structured talent acquisition strategy, requiring high reliance on technical skills assessments rather than gut-based hiring approaches. Top tech talent also wants to be associated with an employer brand that provides them with a greater sense of awareness. With the best tech talent, even the non-tech companies can stay competitive. Moreover, there are robust solutions aptly designed for technical hiring. Likewise, you could also formulate acquisition strategies for various scenarios, such as temporary roles, contractual employees, etc.
Technological interventions can enable HR teams to streamline their sourcing and recruiting processes. People are optimistic about a return to normal with the pandemic restrictions eased down. While when and how normalcy will be restored is a different debating point, it is safe to assume that the new normal has a significant bearing on hiring and other human resource undertakings.
Listed below are some reasons that discuss the benefits of bringing technology into strategic talent acquisition.
Technology is an enabler in the process of seeking out the right candidate on a local and global level. You can communicate with thousands of qualified candidates globally with just a command. Many applicant tracking systems or learning management systems can work in unison with advanced recruitment platforms to help you conduct customized online assessments secured with best-in-class proctoring integration.
On average, the corporate job receives over 200 resumes. From those stacks of resumes, it may well be possible that only some candidates possess the competencies and experience required for the job. So, how would you achieve your desired hiring goals? Tackling a hefty stack of resumes is strenuous and time-consuming. This is where feature-rich recruitment software comes in handy in parsing bulk resumes and assessing candidates’ skills. Unsurprisingly, top tech titans have been incorporating automated assessment into their recruiting process and reaping its benefits.
Technology has made the hiring process a breeze for evaluators and job seekers. While interview scheduling software addresses the logistical hassles by automating the scheduling and rescheduling process, the video interview tool offers a broader array of options for hassle-free interviewing. As a result, video interviews are becoming more popular with businesses of all sizes because they bring many benefits to the fore.
They are helpful during the initial screening stages, save meaningful time and resources, and improve the efficiency of the process. In addition, it enables interviewers to schedule and conduct interviews and provide instant reports anytime, anywhere. The latter is all possible due to the emergence of online interview platforms to conduct virtual interviews for technical and non-technical roles.
How reliable do you think intuition-based decisions are? It is even illogical to vouch for the accuracy of gut-based hiring; instead, one should only base their decisions on data-driven insights. Corporates want to leverage data-based and analysis-driven inputs to make informed people decisions. The good news is they can employ the new age talent assessment tools to ensure a potential candidate’s cultural and job role fitment.
It has often been the case that many candidates do not receive any communication even after many months of applying for a job. Such instances do not bode well for the organization’s reputation as they negatively impact applicants’ morale. Therefore, technological tools are gaining steady ground among employers, allowing them to communicate openly in real-time with candidates, set clear expectations, and share instant feedback. Ensuring engaging, fruitful interactions through recruitment software has fostered excellent communication between hiring managers and applicants. Therefore, it allows recruiters to quickly share updates or results with candidates in the hiring process.
The pandemic, two years on, has a significant bearing on the job market. The impact of this disruption posed many challenges such as workforce retention, technology adaptability, talent shortage, etc. For employers, securing and retaining great talent continues to be a significant challenge. However, the best part about disruption is transformation. Such cataclysmic events are the progenitor of innovation. Talent acquisition processes haven’t been left untouched by the grip of the pandemic; the ways of finding, selecting, and onboarding new employees have also got caught up in the waves.
COVID-19’s impact on talent acquisition practices called for a collective rethinking of finding new ways to identify, hire and retain new employees. Everything went virtual, from screening interviews and final interviews to onboarding, and made way for utilizing virtual platforms in innovative ways. The pursuit of talent was conducted in a remote environment. No one would have thought that virtual recruiting strategies would soon take precedence.
Migrating recruitment modalities online may have seemed uncomfortable initially, but talent acquisition professionals soon become accustomed to the change. Nowadays, a blend of virtual and in-person hiring processes is a highly sought-after approach to speed up time-to-hire. Like earlier, talent acquisition experts adhere to initial phone screenings but consider taking the face-to-face interview online through video interviewing software. For organizations looking to scale up their hiring, reliable technology is now at their disposal.
The post-pandemic world of work has witnessed a staggering percentage of employees looking for more flexible work policies as one of their expectations. Remote working and flexible working hours have become a part of today’s new normal. At the same time, employees realize the need to adapt to recent technological advancements with agility. Most importantly, companies are focusing on work-from-home policies to attract and retain the best talent. It is among the current trends in talent acquisition that could enable recruiters to find talent well outside of their normal geographic boundaries.
Using AI in recruitment and selection has been a trend for a while now. By integrating AI in the selection process, onboarding and employee management could improve significantly. AI can streamline the process and result of candidate sourcing because it can process data at larger volumes, expand the reach, and speed up the process of building talent pools. For example, it makes the task of crawling millions of profiles online incredibly quick.
Similarly, recruiters can secure the best talent even while dealing with hundreds or thousands of applicants per job. Talent acquisition teams can save countless hours and focus on nothing but the best by implementing AI in the screening process. It also enhances candidate engagement by automatically sending them emails, assessments, text messages, etc. Most importantly, AI has also empowered employers to run focused ads for great results, such as programmatic advertising, which can help display suitable ads to potential applicants. These ads are targeted using the target candidate audience’s LinkedIn data, demographics, cookies, etc.
AI tools also find their use during a remote recruiting process, wherein these tools can help assess a candidate’s personality, competency or skills. AI-driven recruiting solutions also help in diversity hiring by minimizing bias factors. For example, AI can filter out age, gender, race, and other implicit biases when considering profiles, making the screening process objective and unbiased. AI-based recruiting chatbots also provide an efficient way to gather applicant data which can be shared instantly with HR professionals.
Talent acquisition experts who place a premium on internal mobility will have a better top talent retention rate. Organizations that urge their employees to apply for openings internally make it a point to create well-defined, clear paths for their workers to engage and retain them. C-suites have come to the realization that the competitive hiring landscape has made it a bit more challenging to hire the best talent; hence they must focus on internal mobility.
Essential development interventions such as reskilling and upskilling are also becoming a pressing priority to tackle attrition issues and keep things more manageable for talent acquisition teams concerning their talent sourcing goals. While talent sourcing through job boards, social channels, etc., and recruiting through such mediums form the core of talent acquisition management, the ample benefits of prioritizing internal mobility are also unignorable.
A distributed work environment has shone an uncompromising light on the need to keep employees engaged. Although the return to work has initiated a hybrid manner, a collective realization among organizational leaders has mandated the need to keep in-office and at-home workers engaged.
Businesses with employee-centric policies and a concerted plan for employee engagement will have the edge over the competition in this fiercely aggressive market. Strong company culture is about understanding and acting on the needs of each employee, even if they work in silos. If they can establish a meaningful connection with their superiors, equals, and subordinates and be appreciated for their contribution, they will stay longer where they work.
The aftereffects of the pandemic have been incised on every human in one way or another. Frequent deliberations on employee wellness and mental health have taken precedence over other topics, and talent acquisition leaders are also not untouched by these prevailing concerns. These concerns have become foremost for talent acquisition personnel and human resources professionals in the wake of the pandemic. In addition to their ambitious hiring objectives, talent acquisition and recruitment professionals must recalibrate their processes in instances like virtual interviewing cycles and collaborating with other team members. Therefore, a substantial focus on workforce well-being and employees’ flexibility is critical.
Personalized, data-driven nurturing will provide the way to deliver a great candidate experience. One crucial aspect of talent acquisition management and data-led hiring is candidate nurturing. Imagine the ordeal of sending an extensive list of emails to prospects manually. This draggy, resource-intensive approach to interacting with prospective candidates and tracking them through the hiring funnel is arduous. On the contrary, automated nurturing can simplify the complexity and eliminate the need for manual methods of communication.
It will also help in giving a personal touch to candidate outreach initiatives. Well-thought-out nurture programs are being tested and fine-tuned systematically to ensure that each consecutive nurture campaign is more refined than the earlier one. Most talent acquisition leaders look forward to having enhanced functionalities in their ATS (Applicant Tracking System), such as candidate relationship management (CRM) functionality with built-in nurturing capability for meaningful relationship-building with talent.
A realization has dawned upon the talent acquisition teams that a data-driven approach and adequate technology to implement that approach is crucial in the current times. The use of real-time analytics in metrics like pipeline management, acceptance rate, cost of hires, quality of hires, candidate feedback data, etc., can help automate workflows to decrease the manual work and give impetus to the strategic talent acquisition efforts. Data can empower talent teams to strategically source, nurture job seekers, and hire the right talent objectively and efficiently.
Once you have read this informative piece on talent acquisition, it becomes clear that manual processes will not suffice. Fortunately, there are readily available, innovative solutions that help demystify the entire talent acquisition process with technology-based interventions and a flexible SaaS (Software as a Service) model.
The first two years of COVID-19 witnessed a surge in remote hiring solutions, and this trend is only meant to grow as more businesses are fixating on hybrid or remote work models. While it seems unfeasible to unravel what awaits us in the future, we can still get our HR teams geared up with the best tools and technologies to address any unforeseen hiring challenges. With the best recruitment technologies, you can simplify your talent acquisition process and expect meaningful outcomes.
The traditional recruitment practices are on the verge of obsoletion. As a result, the industry is shifting from a responsive, reactive sourcing approach to a forward-looking talent engagement approach. Hence, companies must prioritize nurturing their databases and establishing communication with potential hires.
Talent acquisition management is a strategic process to identify and recruit individuals who will bring immense value to the organization and be committed to organizational growth. It is a critical role that focuses not only on addressing talent shortages and skills gaps but also contributes to a better, stronger image for a given organization.
Listed below are essential components of an effective talent acquisition strategy: i) Strategic workforce planning, ii) Building brand awareness, iii) Sourcing and hiring, iv) Use of latest tools (talent assessment tools, talent acquisition software, etc.), v) Well-structured onboarding process, vi) Using data-driven analytics and insights
Originally published April 16 2022, Updated April 16 2022
Abhilash works with the Content Marketing team of Mercer|Mettl. He has been contributing his bit to the world of online business for some years now. Abhilash is experienced in content marketing, along with SEO. He’s fond of writing useful posts, helping people, traveling, and savoring delicacies.