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Graphic showing the importance of a talent acquisition strategy

How to create a talent acquisition strategy

Laine Jubinville

By: , Talent Acquisition, Human Resources

Does your organization have a talent acquisition strategy?

Whether your organization consists of a few dozen, a few hundred or a few thousand employees, when it’s time to add to your team, having a well-orchestrated, candidate-friendly and on-brand talent acquisition strategy is essential.

What is talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition is the process of discovering and acquiring skilled talent for organizational needs. Building strong, cohesive teams is high on the priority list for nearly every organization regardless of size, product offering or industry. Recruiting and hiring is one of the most important parts of any organization’s success. It goes without saying that attracting and retaining top talent will benefit an organization; however, that’s certainly easier said than done. Highly skilled, experienced candidates can sometimes be hard to find. Finding the best and brightest candidates takes time and a thorough strategy in today’s market.

Graphic showing why a talent acquisition strategy works

Often the talent acquisition plan is overlooked as the need to hire is immediate. Take time to breathe before jumping into panic mode; attracting talent should be approached with care and attention. When done correctly, this will set an organization apart from the competition and result in both attracting and retaining talent.

How do you attract people to your organization? First, you need a strategy that’s creative, flexible and offers a great candidate experience. Relationships are the fundamental piece and back bone of any effective talent acquisition strategy.

Take advantage of social media – it plays a big part in recruitment today. Your approach should reach, target and engage candidates on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Blog posts are another great avenue to connect with candidates. Our fabulous Marketing and Communications team at National Leasing does a wonderful job sharing and connecting with our audiences to create buzz and lay the ground work for conversations. Prospective candidates will reach out directly to learn more about the culture as a result of a blog post.

Similar to a marketing campaign, in the end go where your target audience is hanging out. Candidates are now using their smartphones to begin a job search, so there’s no doubt social media plays a significant role. Incorporating some form of a social strategy once ready to move forward will be key.

Additionally, a mobile- and user-friendly career page and applicant tracking system where candidates can upload their resumes and apply for available positions with the touch of a button is a must. Organizations now need to evolve with digital initiatives to engage an increasingly digital audience.

Graphic showing the importance of digital channels in the recruitment process

How your organization can start its talent acquisition strategy

Understand your needs and complete a thorough job analysis

Define the scope of the role, including duties, requirements, responsibilities and attributes.

Evaluate your existing resources

How do they measure up to your future needs? Look at your existing team dynamics – how do they work together, are there any gaps or opportunities to strengthen teams?

Identify your target

How will the new hire align with the vision and values of your organization? What skills, knowledge and abilities are must-haves? Note: Assessing the applicants’ emotional intelligence during the interview process will offer a strong indication of how well an applicant will fit within your organization. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Hire for character; train for skills.” Passion, attitude and energy are a really big deal!

Create a job posting that showcases your brand and story

Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. Job postings are key to enticing top candidates. A well-crafted job posting should clearly state the duties and responsibilities of the position, information about the organization and, most importantly, it should tell a story and pique interest.

Implement a robust employee referral program

Who better to tap into than your greatest asset – your employees? Employee referrals continue to be one of the best sources of great candidates. Your employees know the company culture and know who would fit and who wouldn’t. After all, if you have top talent on your team, it’s likely they’re connected with other great talent.

Look for diversity to drive your culture

Ensure that you're hiring diverse talent from different backgrounds and personality types, and with different strengths and skills to showcase.

Networking

Networking is an extremely valuable tool; take advantage of your industry contacts, association memberships and partnerships with schools or universities.

Think outside of the box

Recruiting talent is difficult and sometimes it requires a different approach. The best candidates don’t always respond to traditional tactics; therefore, taking a proactive approach to connect with them is often necessary. This may require some creativity on your part and likely will involve some research on where candidates are hunting for jobs.

Be transparent about the entire process

Who is responsible for overseeing recruitment within your organization? Who will sit on the interview team? How long will the interviews last? How many rounds of interviews are expected? Make sure candidates know where they are in the process at all times, and set realistic expectations upfront. Let candidates know as soon as they’re out of the running, and always be transparent about next steps.

Never lose sight of the candidate experience

Create a wow candidate experience. Whether the candidate is the successful applicant or not, leave them with the impression that your organization is worth considering again in the future. Failing to follow up with candidates is a costly mistake, and in the long term will damage a company’s reputation.

Chart with the 10 tips surrounding a middle circle that says “Talent acquisition”

Putting it all together

Be Proactive! Building and nurturing your talent pipeline is something that should constantly be on your radar, since the need to hire is often reactive due to a sudden transition or promotion. Keeping the talent pipeline on the front burner will create less work with future recruiting projects, as you will already have a pool of interested and qualified candidates to consider. Additionally, it’s just the beginning of building a lasting relationship with your future talent pool.

Whether you’re taking on a recruitment project in-house or you’re thinking of outsourcing, make certain whoever is managing the search fully understands your business and brand, along with what’s happening inside and outside your organization.

Recruitment and talent acquisition is not a one-size-fits-all process. Promote your brand and company culture. Cultivate a company culture that attracts top talent. Be creative and innovative when crafting and launching your plan. Remaining flexible and maintaining communication is key to a successful hire. A strategic talent acquisition strategy will provide you with access to a pool of competitive talent. You’re not hiring to fill a job, you’re hiring to build a team and grow your organization.

Once you’ve secured top talent, the experience doesn’t end with a hire. A robust onboarding program along with a solid talent management strategy is critical in order to build a world-class workforce.

This article originally appeared in the spring 2017 Building Owners and Manager Association of Manitoba INSIDER magazine. Visit the association’s website for more information to help you become a more expert and accomplished business professional.

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