TalentTalent AcquisitionFour ways to optimize talent acquisition strategies in 2021

Four ways to optimize talent acquisition strategies in 2021

From utilizing technology to focusing on retention, HRD Thought Leader Heidi Lynne Kurter outlines the crucial steps to building talent acquisition strategies fit for the challenges of tomorrow.

30-second summary:

  • The labour market has seen a recent rise due to workers that have been fired and furloughed
  • Businesses are looking for workers that are the right cultural fit and will add value over a span of time
  • Sourcing and interview techniques need to be improved to find the best candidates that will stay the course
  • Technological solutions can be the key to improving talent acquisition strategies.

There’s a surge of candidates on the market due to recent layoffs and furloughs from the long-existing pandemic. The current challenge many companies are facing is sifting through the influx of talent on the market to find those that are the right fit for them. The landscape of recruiting has changed drastically over the years and it requires companies to adapt if they want to remain on top of quality talent. However, optimizing talent acquisition strategies is just one piece of the puzzle. 

Today’s talent wastes no time internet stalking companies to see what their culture is like. They do this by checking online reviews, looking at specific LinkedIn profiles, Googling the company and seeing what their social media sites show about the employee experience.

Smart recruiting is more than just recruiting. It’s having the employee journey in place so the employee can smoothly transition into and through the company.

Here are four ways companies can recruit smarter in 2021.

Hire for attitude, train for skill

All it takes is one bad hire to destroy a company’s culture and reputation. A candidate can have the best-looking resume but embody behaviors that are toxic. Consequently, toxic behaviors are contagious and cause more damage than good.

This is why companies have decided to shift their interviewing strategy to ask questions around a candidate’s attitude and let technology test their technical skillset.

Ultimately, the goal is to hire individuals who positively add to the existing culture. Using a platform like Personality Index is a great way to identify a candidate’s personality and see how they can fill the gaps and enhance the existing team.

Increased focus on retention

Traditionally, HR operated on the mentality of hiring quickly to fill empty seats. However, it’s been proven that this is the least effective method. Smart talent acquisition strategies focus on hiring candidates and keeping them for the long term. Therefore, it’s time for HR to dust off their outdated interviewing guides and revamp their interview questions to meet the new way of recruiting. 

Focusing on retention means being transparent about the company culture early on so the candidate knows what they’re getting into. Otherwise, new hires will join the company and realize the culture isn’t what they expected and leave.

Nearly 40% of new hires leave their jobs within the first six months and 20% of new hire turnover occurs within the first 45 days. This is because of poor onboarding and a lack of transparency about the culture they were entering into. As a result, new hires begin to regret accepting the offer over another and their energy is put into looking for a new job rather than excelling at the current one. 

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The new generation of talent wants to know how the company they join will invest in their growth and development. HR shouldn’t be shy about sharing the career journey for the position in which they’re interviewing.

Lastly, if HR wants to recruit smarter, they need to revamp their interview questions to better understand what motivates the candidate, what they’re time management and self-organization skills are like (especially if working remotely), what they expect from their workplace culture and if they’re a cultural fit attitude-wise. When HR knows the answers to these early on, they can create an environment that keeps new hires happy and engaged from the start. 

Have an effective sourcing strategy

Having an effective sourcing strategy means upgrading antiquated applicant tracking systems, outdated interview processes and traditional recruiting mentalities. Corporate speak messages and the “post and pray” mentality are outdated and ineffective. 

Having an effective sourcing strategy means getting creative and finding where talent hangs out. For example, not all tech talent hangs out or even uses LinkedIn. If companies are posting jobs or sourcing primarily through LinkedIn, they’re missing out on quality talent. It’s worth noting that LinkedIn shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to sourcing talent.

In fact, LinkedIn has been one of the most successful platforms for me when I recruit because it allows HR to set up filters and automate the process of recruiting bringing talent directly to them. Having an effective and automated sourcing strategy is the definition of smart recruiting. The result is, HR can focus on enhancing the people’s experience while technology does the legwork for them.

It’s not only important to take the time to see where talent hangs out and what their platforms of choice are, but also to craft a captivating message that makes them eager to learn more. In addition, HR shouldn’t overlook candidates who have potential. By building relationships with passive job seekers and rising talent, HR can gain their trust early on and win them over when the right position opens up.

HR can review how they discovered their current talent or simply ask them where they’d recommend finding new talent. Believe it or not, communication solves a lot of a company’s problems. HR might be surprised to learn that the talent they’re searching for is hanging out in Facebook groups or an industry-specific platform.

Invest in a quality applicant tracking system (ATS)

Having a quality ATS is the foundation of smart talent acquisition strategies. Rex Freiberger, CEO of Gadget Review, said “if you don’t have some kind of database to manage your candidates you’ll never have the insights you need to hire exceptional talent.” The biggest mistake most companies make is they continue to build a pipeline of talent for the same positions instead of tapping into past talent.

Not only does this waste the company’s time, but it also wastes their resources and money. Being efficient means having quality tools. Investing in a quality ATS allows companies to organize and visualize their database of past and current candidates so they don’t miss out on talent that made it to the last round but ultimately didn’t get chosen or talent that would be better suited for a newly opened position.

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