When falling in love, some lucky souls have serendipity on their side. A chance meeting leads to something more and their adventure together begins. But for most of us, a matchmaker is required; a friend, an app, an agency – an individual who knows your best qualities and is able to pair you with someone equally suitable. Now wouldn’t it be great to have a sort of professional matchmaker for businesses? Well, technically, there is.
Talent acquisition is the process of identifying the skills your organization needs and filling those roles with the most suitable candidates. More than standard recruitment, there’s a wealth of assessing, strategizing, and implementing involved. And companies can take different approaches, either incorporating talent acquisition roles in HR or outsourcing to external specialists.
Why is talent acquisition so important to your business?
Talent acquisition benefits a company by essentially assembling a Swiss Army knife of varied tools. Need a pair of scissors? Got you covered. What about a toothpick? All over it. It transforms an entity with a strong single premise, into a powerful multitool.
We can cite improvements such as saving time and money, boosting efficiency, and reducing risk. And while these all hold true, the core benefits are more layered and nuanced than that.
By sourcing the right fit, talent acquisition consultants drive business value, keeping your organization competitive. This is achieved by ascertaining the skills necessary to launch your company to new heights. They’re also able to analyze your workforce as a whole, and thereby create cohesion across disparate roles. Not only in terms of the requisite skills and abilities, but a cultural fit too.
Another primary focus is helping diversify your workplace. By reading the runes and looking ahead at upcoming industrial shifts and skill gaps, they help businesses prepare for the future.
What does a talent acquisitionist do in your HR department?
Having an internal talent acquisitionist ensures more control over a candidate’s experience. Much like any in-house team, you can build a greater rapport, receive faster more direct feedback, and you have their undivided attention, as they won’t be balancing contracts for multiple different organizations.
As an employee themselves, this individual or team (depending on your company size and requirements) will also have indispensable knowledge and an inherent interest in your business and its continued success. Thus harboring a unique understanding of the intricacies and growing needs that must be fulfilled by the hiring and onboarding process.
Internal talent acquisitionists can collect and analyze a breadth of data that gives full visibility of a company’s needs, as well as identifying how best to refine strategy.
Talent acquisition vs talent recruitment – what’s the difference?
You may say to yourself, I already have a recruitment division within HR. Is there a pressing need for exploring talent acquisition jobs?
Rather than completing a single task, talent acquisition is an all-encompassing process that covers not only the application stage but attracting talent, followed by interviewing and successfully onboarding the best new hires.
The key differentiator between recruitment and acquisition is time. More than the time it takes to hire a successful candidate, we’re talking about the difference between short-term and long-term objectives. Not to undervalue it, but talent recruitment simply takes an immediate problem and produces an adequate solution.
Say your company is in the software as a service (SaaS) business. You have a new project in full swing but require additional resources to get you to a deadline. There’s the option of freelancers but as this new piece of software will be widely sold and deployed, you require a specialist to take ownership of a particular aspect. The recruitment process begins, a match is found, and the hole is plugged. Problem solved. Yet while that outcome may feel satisfactory, a less reactionary approach would have been able to foresee this vacancy in advance.
That’s because talent acquisition consultants cast their eye ahead to produce an ongoing strategy to identify areas within your company, which will benefit over a prolonged period. So, instead of highlighting one role that needs to be filled, they are able to project a roadmap for future expansion, which emphasizes entire departments that need to be bolstered or formed altogether.
The talent acquisition process explained
The talent acquisition process is an ongoing, updating one. At its core is the continuing cycle of assessing future and current workforce needs. This then leads to six distinct steps.
Getting out there
Through networking and relationship building with the most promising industry professionals, you’re able to establish trust and familiarity, as well as signal your ever-changing needs. You may dismiss this step as frivolous or time consuming, but it can be the best way to sow the seeds for sourcing and lead generation.
Fanning your feathers
In order to attract the best talent, you are going to need to be the best option for them. This means building a strong, attractive brand and culture that will feel irresistible to prospective candidates.
Asking the right questions
Interviews are more than a hurdle, they’re a chance to get to know the personality behind the resume. This is your opportunity to ascertain if the applicant can perform as needed (with a skills test) and if they will bring a decent personality fit to your already established team.
A second opinion
No matter how positively an interview goes, it’s always worth completing the reference stage. To solidify what your gut is already telling you, but also to evaluate corporate details, such as performance, absence history and how to offer support to get the best out of the candidate.
Spoilt for choice
With the above steps completed, the time has come to select the right candidate. This has to be done with a degree of dispassion and lack of bias, while still meeting that cultural fit.
Welcome to the team
The hiring and onboarding stage is part of that aforementioned long-term investment. It reduces the possibility of employee dissatisfaction by offering a quick and simple entry into your company and helps maintain staff retention.
Tips for effective talent acquisition
Every new addition to an organization should matter. To extend your hand and invite an individual to join your endeavor isn’t done lightly. With that in mind, there should be a sense of company-wide alignment; the embodiment of a collective effort. This can take the form of employee referral programs, a solid greetings process and setting up buddy systems, to guarantee the best hire is sourced and retained.
You should also be using technology and processes to build a pipeline. This acts as a means to monitor your progress and works in harmony with talent acquisition activities like outreach, networking events, and that crucial relationship building.
It’s vital to make every step of your talent acquisition process count.
Each stage is crucial confirmation that the individual in front of you is going to be a lasting and impactful part of your business. And, possibly most importantly, don’t settle. Unlike the recruitment process alone, you’re not simply looking for a stop gap. You are investing in an integral permanent element that will help shape the future of your organization.
What are the best tools and technology to use for talent acquisition?
As with any aspect of HR, there is a host of talent acquisition tools and tech to make the enrollment process a smooth and valuable one.
LinkedIn, for example, offer a platform called LinkedIn Recruiter, serving as a quick and effective way to connect with the most exciting talent. It allows you to get in touch with individuals who possess the exact skills and expertise you’re after, as well as providing a helpful overview of their previous roles and experience. On top of that, their InMail feature, allows you to cast a wide net by contacting several viable options. All of whom can be monitored and tracked with Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software and pipeline builders.
In addition to ATS options generating robust analytics and cultivating a positive candidate experience, there are also AI recruiting tools that can easily source, evaluate and schedule candidates. And, as we’ve all experienced in recent years, video interview software has made the scheduling stage significantly more agreeable and productive.
In fact, if you can think of it, there’s a tool to assist you. Covering background checks, job analysis, legal compliance, affirmative action conformity, new hire orientation and communications, to name but a few.
And this is merely scratching the surface, as improved talent acquisition integration continually reveals more ways to operate better and more effectively.
For an in-depth look at the future of talent acquisition, sign up for our upcoming webinar about 2023’s talent trends.