The market for the best talent has never been more competitive. So just how can you stay ahead of the competition to find the best people? By Richard Liddington, Director of Talent Acquisition EMEA, LinkedIn.
When it comes to tracking down top talent, doing things the way you’ve always done them is no longer good enough. Everyone out there is trying to get hold of the best people. The talent market has never been more competitive than it is today. It’s essential to change the way you think about recruitment if you’re going to stand out as one of the best work destinations in this crowded field.
That means being more proactive. Most of the companies you are competing with for talent are reactive – 48 per cent say they only start their search when the need is urgent. Not only are they constantly having to begin the hiring process from scratch each time, but because of the added pressure their hires are more likely to be wrong than right. Only 11 per cent of companies have a structured approach to talent acquisition. By thinking ahead, planning and being proactive, hiring costs will be lower and they are more likely to get the right person first time.
So how do you go about building a structured talent pipeline for your organisation? Here are three strategies to help you create a more proactive approach to talent acquisition.
When the demand for talent means those ‘traditional’ candidates are scarce, it makes senses to start by widening the depth and width of the pool. You need to look far beyond those impressive university graduates, or candidates with outstanding work histories and dazzling resumes. What about ex-service personnel? Parents looking to return to work? Even those with criminal records? Not only do you bring a wider and more diverse range of practical experience into your pipeline, but these are people who are far more likely to be retained for longer.
Universities are not the only places to look for talent. Build links with community organisations, consider creating accelerated learning programmes, and work with community colleges. There are plenty of non-profit organisations eager to build links with businesses which can again offer you access to a wide range of potential talent overlooked by the ‘traditional’ recruitment routes. Referrals are also an excellent way to expand your talent pool, especially if you make it clear to employees that non-traditional candidates are the kind of people you want to hear about.
It used to be that the school came before the skill. Not any more. By basing your talent search around the most prestigious universities, and assuming they will provide the top talent you’re looking for, you cut yourself adrift and automatically filter out a huge pool of potential talent. Not only that, but research by EY suggests that academic success is not a reliable indicator of job performance. So once again, you need to go beyond the ‘traditional’ routes.
The skills needed for a role evolve over time. What matters today may not be so critical tomorrow. You should sit down and work with hiring managers and recruiters to identify the skills needed today and tomorrow.
There are also many more tech driven assessment tools on the market today. These help you to assess a whole range of soft skills such as determination, curiosity and commitment which more traditional assessment methods find it hard to evaluate. They are also less open to bias which could work against candidates from a non-traditional background.
Finally, just 16 per cent of recruiters and hiring managers use work-based assessment and assignments to assess hard skills. Yet these methods are often far better aids to showcase a candidate’s ability to do the job. They get a chance to really taste what the job entails, while also letting their skills speak for themselves.
If you struggle to find the ‘perfect’ external candidate, is it perhaps time to looking within your organisation instead? After all, 94 per cent of employees say they’d stay longer with a firm which invested in their development. No wonder then that 57 per cent of hiring professionals look to upskilling to meet their talent needs.
By partnering with external educational and training bodies or online learning programmes, you can quickly develop courses which meet your upskilling needs.
You also need to make it wider than just an HR initiative. Such programmes struggle if they don’t involve both senior management and heads of other business units. But win them over and you’re far less likely to struggle.
Let your employees use their new skills right away, for example, through taking on a new project which engages those skills immediately. Equally, apprenticeships or transitional programmes can also help ease employees more smoothly into their new upskill roles and give them the support they need to thrive.
With so much competition for the very best people, it’s time to change the way your view talent and build pipelines which utilise new technology to help you do just that. By looking again at how you source, assess and hire you can build richer, more diverse and, most importantly, more successful teams. That’s got to be better for your business.
To find out more, download our guide to ‘The 33 Most Recruited Jobs’, and find out how companies such as AT&T are changing the way they build and diversify their talent pools.