Table of Contents

Table of Contents

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You know that the key to your company’s success is its people. However, your question may be, “How do we find great people?” The answer: talent acquisition.

What Is Talent Acquisition?

It’s no secret that finding the right candidates can be difficult, especially if your firm’s competitors are also looking for the right candidates to fill their vacancies. This is why your organization needs a robust talent acquisition strategy. But what exactly is talent acquisition?

Talent Acquisition (TA) is an ongoing strategy aimed at finding, attracting, and recruiting top talent. A key element in any company’s growth, the TA function usually falls under the scope of human resources.

Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment

Although recruitment and talent acquisition are often used interchangeably, there are some differences between the two.

Recruitment is a subset of talent acquisition. It is the process of filling live vacancies within a company. Recruitment focuses on immediate hiring needs and employs short-term strategies, such as posting job ads. Recruitment is made up of several stages, including sourcing, assessment, selection, hiring, and onboarding.

Talent acquisition, on the other hand, is a more long-term and comprehensive approach to recruitment. A strategic process that takes business goals, needs and future plans into consideration, TA encompasses many areas related to the attraction of talent, including:

Why Talent Acquisition Is Important

Great talent acquisition enables companies to attract the most skilled candidates on the market. Here are a few ways that employing TA strategies can positively impact your organization.

Find Great People

From leadership to line staff, every person in your organization plays a vital role in its success. An effective talent strategy enables you to better identify, attract and acquire top performers. By carefully screening and assessing candidates, you can feel confident in their ability to get the job done and do it well.

Remain Competitive

The caliber of your company’s employees determines the quality of your products or services. It’s their skills and work that impact productivity, customer satisfaction, innovation and even revenue. Without the right people in the right places, your firm risks losing its competitive edge.

Plan for the Future

The end goal of talent acquisition is to fill your company with the best and the brightest people. However, a successful TA strategy also builds talent pools and candidate pipelines to ensure your organization has the ability to quickly identify and hire people to fill future openings. A careful approach to talent acquisition helps guarantee that your candidates have the skill sets and knowledge to succeed and grow in their roles.

Mitigate Risk

An effective TA strategy makes certain that those interviewing with your company are high-caliber candidates and match what is needed for a given role. In doing so, effective talent acquisition reduces turnover and means candidates have a positive experience when applying and interviewing at your company. Strategic hiring can help your organization avoid unforeseen challenges.

Save Time and Money

Replacing an employee is expensive, which is why hiring the right person for a given role is critical. Making great hires saves companies a lot of time and money. If TA efforts are properly executed, your company can save thousands of dollars in replacement and training costs over time.

The Talent Acquisition Process

Talent acquisition is a dynamic process that resets with each new vacancy; the best TA strategies are proactive rather than reactive. Here are the basic elements of a talent acquisition process.

Step 1: Needs Assessment

The first step in the talent acquisition process is to perform a needs assessment. In this stage, your TA team connects with leaders in order to understand business goals and establish hiring objectives for current and future needs. Hiring managers should also partner with the talent-acquisition team to craft job descriptions and outline the requirements of needed positions.

Step 2: Sourcing and Lead Generation

The second stage of the talent acquisition process is focused on attracting and identifying candidates.

60% of talent acquisition professionals say that finding candidates with the required skills and experience is one of the top challenges they face

Hiring Statistics

In this phase, the TA team focuses on marketing vacant roles to both passive and active applicants, building a pool of candidates to screen and choose from. TA specialists can source talent in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Publishing open roles to their company’s careers page.
  • Publishing open roles to public job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor or ZipRecruiter.
  • Advertising job openings on social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.
  • Reaching out to passive talent on LinkedIn.
  • Exploring your company’s current talent pool to identify qualified candidates.

Step 3: Screening and Assessment

Once promising candidates have been identified, the screening process begins. In this phase, your TA team meets with the most promising candidates to assess their skills, experience and other areas of interest. Once shortlisted candidates have been identified, they enter the interview and selection process. The selection process may include steps such as telephone interviews, video or in-person interviews, written tests or assignments, or various other tasks, depending on the role and company norms.

Step 4: Hiring and Onboarding

After the screening and assessment process concludes, the hiring phase opens. In this stage, an offer is made to the winning candidate(s). Upon accepting this offer, TA and Human Resources process the forms and formalities of hiring. Finally, onboarding begins. Onboarding is a process that sets new employees up for success by providing them with the tools and knowledge to start off on the right foot. While onboarding occurs after hire, TA teams often play a role in this process.

Step 5: Talent Optimization

Once a candidate is hired, the talent acquisition team should contact other candidates who did not make the final cut and let them know they weren’t selected. After courteously breaking the news, TA should encourage individuals to apply to other vacancies and add these individuals to the company’s talent pool. This can help create a robust pipeline for filling future openings.

Talent acquisition is internal as well as external. When hiring for roles, it’s important to look inward and assess the talent your organization already has. In doing so, you can prepare employees for internal growth into new roles or leadership positions. In the talent optimization phase, TA should partner with managers and HR to evaluate succession-planning initiatives and bring out the best in employees.

Improving Your Talent Acquisition Efforts

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 8.4 million jobs will be created in the United States by 2028. With so many companies looking to hire top talent, improving your talent acquisition efforts will be key to your company’s success. Here are some items you can focus on to enhance your organization’s TA efforts.

Process Development

If your talent acquisition efforts are going to succeed, you need to have processes in place for all phases of the TA cycle. Try mapping out your company’s hiring process from start to finish, and examine each step in detail. Then identify areas where processes can be improved, adjusted or simplified. Some areas to assess include:

Employer Branding

If you want to attract top talent, your company’s employer brand needs to be inviting and provide a clear picture of what it’s like to work at your organization. To craft a winning employer brand, talent acquisition should partner with marketing, HR and other business leaders to develop a winning employer image. For maximum impact, be clear about what your company stands for and craft an authentic brand centered around your organization’s mission, core values and goals. Be consistent in your branding and ensure your firm has a positive social media presence.

Candidate Experience Management

The candidate experience is how a person feels when going through a company’s hiring process. Whether good or bad, it can largely influence their decision to accept a job offer. Great experiences make a candidate feel good about your company, while bad ones can cause them to lose respect for your company and its products or services. Here are some best practices to help ensure you provide your candidates with a positive experience.

  • Write clear and concise job descriptions.
  • Make it easy for people to apply to your jobs.
  • Communicate with candidates throughout the hiring process, and clarify their expectations.
  • Strive for transparency.
  • Give candidates information about what to expect in your company’s hiring process.
  • Provide feedback where possible.

Talent Advisory

While a company’s talent acquisition efforts are headed by its TA team, hiring managers play a major part in the process. Therefore, it’s critical that hiring managers are properly equipped with the tools to succeed. Here are some ways your TA team can ensure your company’s hiring managers are effectively supporting the talent acquisition process.

  • Partner with hiring managers throughout the job-design process.
  • Provide training on interview etiquette and techniques.
  • Educate hiring managers on TA processes.
  • Provide hiring managers with questionnaires and other tools to help them interview more effectively.
  • Encourage hiring managers to use tools such as Applicant Tracking Systems or interview guides.
  • Request interview feedback from hiring managers.

Metrics and Analysis

The tracking and analysis of talent-related metrics is an often-forgotten aspect of evaluating the success of your TA efforts. For best results, your organization should monitor and regularly assess various aspects of its talent-acquisition process. Some metrics to report include:

  • Time to hire
  • Time in process step (how long a candidate is in any given stage of the hiring process)
  • Source of hire
  • Offer acceptance rate
  • Candidate satisfaction rate
  • Interview-to-hire ratio
  • Cost of employee replacement
  • Cost per hire

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Find more qualified candidates, streamline your internal hiring processes, and improve your candidate experience with Eddy Hire.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Talent Acquisition

No. Talent acquisition either refers to the ongoing strategy to find, attract and recruit top talent, or the actual member(s) of a talent acquisition team. The term “hiring manager” refers to the manager who makes the final hiring decision for a given vacancy and manages the new employee once they are hired.

The term talent acquisition strategy refers to the strategies and plans a company employs to attract talent.

Valerie Vadala, head of talent acquisition at Shutterstock, recommends making sure you have a good ATS (applicant tracking system). She also advises companies to create positive candidate experiences by having “an efficient and streamlined interview process with consistent messaging about the role and the company throughout the process.”

Preston is a senior talent partner with experience building and leading recruiting functions for healthcare, education, and tech companies. Presently, he is the head of talent acquisition at Parallel Learning.

Preston holds several certifications. In addition to sourcing and recruiting, Preston specializes in talent strategy, candidate experience, hiring process design, recruitment marketing, and onboarding.

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