Why Talent Acquisition has to be Proactive (and how to do it)

3841708583_7e243ea228_o Desk CoffeeBy Zach_Beauvais Reduced

I read with curiosity the report by LinkedIn on Global Recruitment Trends. It covered in the report that the top 5 priorities of talent acquisition leaders are:

1. Recruiting/sourcing highly-skilled talent

2. Pipeline talent

3. Improving quality of hire

4. Improving sourcing techniques

5. Employer brand

The above ranking was based on the Southeast Asia responses (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore), and when compared with the global responses, the same priorities are in the top 5 but in a slightly different sequence. So it is clear that these are top priorities for talent acquisition (whatever the order of priority).

What is interesting is that while these areas are key concerns—and we believe concerns that have been around for a while—there has been no major shifts in how talent acquisition is conducted. The same approach has been deployed: position opens, source for applicants, shortlist, interview, select and offer.

However, this approached is flawed, simply because it takes a reactive approach to talent acquisition. In almost every business, being reactive is a sure way to fail; instead of preventing problems, fixing problems will ultimately be more costly and time consuming.

So how can companies take a different approach to talent acquisition? How can we address these top priorities that all talent acquisition teams face? Can we be more proactive about talent acquisitions? Yes, we can. But how? Build your Talent Community.

Although this sounds suspiciously similar to having a pipeline of talents, Talent Communities are far more than that.

Ask any talent acquisition folk and they will tell that they have a database of candidates. They would have been built from methods like LinkedIn, career website, applicant tracking system, and maybe even referrals. All these approaches are impersonal.

Whatever the size of this database, further probing will tell you that this database is of little value. Here is why:

1. The information is likely to be outdated
However well a résumé is written, it is only a snapshot the candidate. It shows only where they are in their career at that point of time. How much it has changed since it was submitted?

2. Little is known about the candidate
Since the candidates in the database are likely to be acquired through an impersonal source (e.g.: previous applications to jobs, career websites, etc.), the typical information available is likely to be a Résumé / profile of the candidate. There are no additional information available like impressions from personal observations or reference data.

3.The candidate’s profile has not been validated
With no further reference about the candidate, the quality of the candidate is not validated. Almost all the time, the qualifying and assessment of the candidate begins when the active search begins and when the candidate is contacted.

What happens with this situation is that most talent acquisition folk with end up not actively using their talent database and resort to established methods: searching through LinkedIn, placing advertisements and working with a 3rd party recruiter. So, in essence, the collecting of that database was a futile exercise, probably used to meet some KPIs or churning a report and had no practical application. A waste of resources.

So how we actually build a Talent Community? For starters, the name that is chosen is important. Instead of a talent pipeline that we move along through the process, we build communities. These Talent Community have a few key features:

Engage Potential Candidates: A successful community is one that can create strong associations. Perhaps the term “employee branding” is something that is familiar. However, it is not how it used to be done. No “interesting’ one-way communication through a beautiful created advertisement or website. Those do not work.

Instead, deploy your social media channels to create positive associations with your organisation. Share employee success stories, business victories and provide information about your organisation works plus what makes you successful. Create channels for two-way communication where questions can be asked and maintain interactions that will enable you to gather more information about the candidates in your community.

The idea is to feed them with information to generate and maintain positive interest in your organisation, while gaining more insights about the candidates. This is a true employer branding process that is valuable your talent acquisition process.

Create a personal and dynamic experience: The candidates in the community actually feel like communication is personal; this can include frequent email updates on information such as job openings and their candidacy status. They might also get requests for updates on their information and contact details, skill sets and interest areas.

This community should be constantly evolving and growing. While you might not have met these candidates in person, with the right activities you can gain insights about the candidates and have a clearer picture of who they are and how they might fit into your organisation.

Set up screening and assessment tools: Put in place the means to establish key information such as interests, aptitude, plus job and skill level. You can even deploy Video Interviews that can establish candidate’s competencies without even calling for a phone interview or meeting for an in-person interview.

These tools should give you the abilities to rate and assess the candidates and also give you a better sense of who might be a good fit and where they could be placed in your organisation.

By conducting these activities, you ensure that the candidates in the community is evaluated at some level, making this community a valuable “database” that can be tapped into when it is needed.

All these 3 areas, thankfully, can be made easy with the use technology. They should enable you to have the interactions that you will need for employer branding, provide you with the communication channels and conduct the necessary screening and assessments. Importantly, it must have the means to store candidate profiles, rate them, and assist in the management of the entire process.

There are already technologies out there that can enable you with this Talent Communities. The largest challenges is NOT whether candidates will accept it. The hurdle is for those involved in the talent acquisition to embrace that there is a better way forward and adopt it.


Image courtesy of Zach_Beauvais, Flickr

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