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Solve the biggest challenges in talent acquisition

Apr 2, 2018 Kate Lopaze

Solve the biggest challenges in talent acquisition

As an HR professional, you know that one of the most challenging parts of your job is making sure you have the right talent in the right roles. It’s also one of the most important parts of staffing and talent acquisition. Let’s look at some of the biggest hurdles recruiters face and how to address them.

How do you attract the best people?

In this market, you’re likely to get tons of applications for every job opening—but does the quantity reflect the quality? If you want to ensure that you’re getting good bites, then it’s crucial to put a lot of care and effort up front into the first steps. That means crafting a specific, dynamic job description, to make sure you’re getting people with a specific pool of qualifications. The more you refine the job description, the less chance you’ll get people who don’t even come close to the position’s needs. It also means making an effort to make sure that your public-facing info is both up-to-date and appealing. That means tuning up your social media presence, as well as making sure your company website is appealing as well. Think of those college brochures that inevitably have stock photo groups of happy, smiling students walking through crisp autumn trees, or gathering on a lush, green quad to study. Those work because they create a welcoming image for potential students, one that says, “Hmm, I can see myself fitting in there.” Another way to attract top talent is to make the application process friendlier, so the applicant feels like an individual or customer—not just a faceless drone feeding documents into the automated void. A human touch goes a long way in the acquisition of top talent, and a more welcoming approach helps applicants see themselves as part of the team.

How do you get a candidate with multiple offers to choose you?

For top talent, it’s likely that they’re also seeing other recruiters or are in the process of interviewing with other companies as well. Or, even more cringeworthy from the recruiter’s standpoint, they're using your offer as leverage at their current job. Everyone wants to get the rose, Bachelor-style, but more than that, you want the recruiting investment of time and resources to result in a great new hire. There’s only so much you can do to directly sway someone who’s entertaining multiple opportunities—but you can take steps to sweeten the deal along the way. According to LinkedIn, one of the deciding factors can be the interview, with candidates choosing the one that not only went well, but also felt the most comfortable. That doesn’t necessarily mean going full tech start-up on the process (everyone sits on yoga balls while drinking artisan cappuccinos!), but rather making sure that the candidate feels welcome and valued during the process. Remember what I said before about a human touch? That applies here as well. If a candidate sits alone in a lobby for a while, then is hustled through an interview and then back out the door, it’s not the best experience—even if the interview was successful. It’s a customer service mindset. The more you can make an interview a dialogue rather than an interrogation, the more comfort and engagement you’re likely to get from the candidate. Throughout the whole process, make sure you’re communicating with the candidate. If they receive radio silence from your company, then they may think that this job is unlikely to pan out, or feel frustrated by the lack of information.

What if you'll settle for nothing less than The Perfect Candidate?

Sometimes the hiring manager has a very specific image in mind for what he or she wants for the position, and nothing else will do. Have you ever seen an issue where refusing to compromise made things better and easier? No? I haven’t, either. If you’re finding that you’re letting good candidates go because they’re not perfect, or you’re not finding that perfect unicorn candidate in the available talent pool, it may be time to have a heart-to-heart with the hiring manager and see if there’s any wiggle room on the job description or qualifications. It could be that an awesome candidate falls a bit short in one area, while having huge potential for success in the role. Communication with the hiring manager is key here. Before you take the job description and send it out into the wild, talk with the hiring manager to make sure you’re clear on their expectations and priorities, and that they’re clear on yours as well. If you’re skeptical that you can find a Swedish-speaking electrical engineer with expertise in both project management and social media, let the hiring manager know up front. If you have data that shows how few multilingual electrical engineer-project manager-Twitter gurus there are out there looking for jobs right now, use that to help manage expectations. If you match up the job needs with the realities of the talent pool, you and the hiring manager will increase your chances of finding a great—if not perfect—match.

How do you make sure you’re tapping into the right talent pools?

This is where data is a very helpful tool in refining your recruitment and attraction strategies. Recruitment marketing software can help you create metrics like the number of resumes received from a particular kind of outreach, costs invested, and the number of hires made from particular sources. With that data, you can start to target your searches to the spots that yield the highest-quality candidates. If you’re getting the best results through a particular outreach method, you can concentrate on that avenue. Also, don’t be afraid to think outside the usual channels. If you think of it as a talent search more so than a “let’s fill this open position fast” search, and reach out to potential candidates on social media or other platforms rather than work with only the people who submit applications, you can help broaden the candidate pool.

How do you get hiring managers to provide feedback in a timely way?

Hiring managers are usually reviewing resumes, doing interviews, etc., as part of their regular jobs. As a result, things can get lost in the shuffle, get delayed, or get deprioritized as day-to-day work gets in the way. This is not great if you have candidates on the line, waiting for information (or a job offer). What you can do to make this process easier on the hiring managers (and you) is find ways to automate this feedback process a bit. Create an online survey or an email template and send it to the hiring manager as soon as an interview is over. It’s a gentle reminder to get feedback in on a timely basis, and it also encourages the hiring manager to write impressions while the information is still fresh. Then they get to move on, you get to keep the process moving, and (ideally!) you’ve found a great candidate for the job. Recruiting challenges will always be there, as long as there are humans filling jobs. But there are things you can do to make your life a little easier, and help ensure that you’re attracting, identifying, and locking down the best people to join your team.

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