If you’re spending most of your time and energy on recruiting, you could be missing the bigger picture. In times of uncertainty, it’s even more relevant to have a hand on the steering wheel of your entire talent acquisition strategy.
While the two are related, they’re not the same thing. As Hubspot explains, “While recruitment tends to focus on filling vacancies within departments, talent acquisition is more about considering how your company is going to expand long-term and then finding employees who can help take you there.”
So how do you get started building a talent acquisition strategy?
1. Align recruitment with long-term business goals
Your CEO has a business plan for the company, and your department heads have one for their areas of responsibility. Are you integrating these plans into your talent acquisition strategy?
Say your CEO is planning to add an AI element to your product within the next five years. Based on this information, you can begin identifying relevant skill sets and sourcing for relevant talent.
2. Build a strong employer brand
Building a reputation as a good employer is also a crucial long-term investment.
There are many tactics to adopt, and we recommend you dive into this topic in depth. But to start with, you’ll want to embrace three simple principles: understand your ideal candidates, put yourself out there, and be honest.
The first can seem daunting until you realize that the best place to start is within. Survey your top employees to find out what they value most about your workplace.
By all means, consider global trends and what your competitors are offering, but recognize that the people who are thriving with you now do well in your environment for a specific reason. Find out what that is.
Once you know, use multiple channels to reach your audience. Consider tapping those same top performers to speak about their experience on social media or the company blog. Feature behind-the-scenes content about what makes your company a great place to work.
Finally, be honest. If your Glassdoor reviews aren’t painting the picture you want, don’t try to fix the reviews. Instead, tackle the problem head-on so that your sunny branding is in line with employees’ actual experiences.
3. Nurture relationships
When you’re thinking long term, you have the luxury of cultivating relationships with potential employees over time.
This doesn’t mean that you should focus your energy exclusively on passive candidates. Harvard Business Review notes that while up to 86% of recruiters put a lot of energy into convincing people to move, only 11% of job openings are ultimately filled by these targeted candidates.
They do point out, that while top-level, highly skilled jobs were frequently filled with internal candidates in the past, only 28% of recruiters today report pulling regularly from this pool.
That means that your external hiring should, to some extent, attempt to mimic the years of mutual getting-to-know-you time that a company would have with internal candidates rising through the ranks.
A great way to do this is to increase your presence at conferences, professional associations, and in online forums.
Be sure to target groups that focus on people of diverse backgrounds and those that attract specialties that you might need in the future. By becoming a trusted source of industry information, over time you’ll get to know key players and, in turn, build your reputation with them.
4. Use data and marketing to create better acquisition material
When it comes time to start filling job openings, put your marketer’s cap on. Chances are when your company runs advertising campaigns, there’s a team of people who analyze every metric of performance. Hubspot points out that these same tools can be used for recruitment.
To start with, track your most successful candidates—those who make it furthest through the process—and find the source where they encountered your job listing. This can help you narrow your efforts onto the places with the best outcomes.
You should also A/B test different job descriptions for the same role to see which ones bring in the best quality candidates. Consider using a tool like Textio, which uses AI to help add crucial keywords and phrases that have been shown to improve results.
Textio also removes unseen biases that might be turning off the candidates you want to reach. Hiring for a diverse workforce often means rooting out these biases, and technology can help you do that.
Finally, use Google Analytics or a similar tool to monitor your application funnel. Your application abandonment rate—and where exactly people drop off—can tell you a lot about the efficacy of your process.
5. Run with the circumstances
By implementing these long-term talent acquisition strategies, you position yourself to better adjust to changing realities.
The current pandemic, for example, was unforeseen and puts a serious damper on hiring. Many companies have halted filling jobs altogether while they wait for their budget to become more predictable. Others are still hiring, but have had to shift to remote recruitment and onboarding.
For those that had already been working on a long-term strategy, these developments were easier to adapt to.
If you’ve been building relationships with candidates over time, for example, you have more trust built up to lay the groundwork for an opening that may take longer to become available.
Also, if you’ve created a reputation that exists in professional circles both online and off, you don’t have to press pause on building that goodwill just because you can’t bring someone into the office right now.
Now’s a great time to get started
If you’re just considering these things for the first time, there’s no time like the present to get started.
Which of your talent acquisition strategies has paid off best in times of sudden change?