52% of recruiters say the hardest part of their job is identifying the right candidates from a large pool.1
That’s because finding and hiring top talent for open roles isn’t a walk in the park. And not everyone has a documented talent acquisition strategy.
Plus, the competition for qualified candidates, especially in high-demand roles, is fierce.2 You need a combination of multiple hard and soft skills for different positions that most candidates might not have.
With the state of play in the job market, staff shortages have been a real headache in many countries recently.3 This shortage has left many companies struggling to fill vacant positions and retain their top talent.
We want to help you (and many other companies) find, hire, and retain ideal candidates, increase team performance, and improve productivity. That's why we've put together this talent acquisition strategy guide.
Let’s jump right in.
A talent acquisition strategy is a structured plan companies use to find, attract, recruit, and retain the most qualified candidates for open positions.
Done right, a talent acquisition strategy can be used during the recruiting process to help you attract top talent who have the right skills, attitude, and experience to achieve your business goals.
Having a solid talent acquisition strategy is about ensuring your hiring plans match your overall business objectives. This helps talent teams predict talent requirements more effectively and pinpoint the kind of employees necessary to accomplish these goals, whether it's for current openings or future hiring.
But here's the interesting part: you don't have to wait until you desperately need someone on the team. About half of all workers out there aren't thrilled with their current jobs, so they're often on the lookout for something better.4
When you start the recruitment process early, you're building a bridge to potential future hires. You make that connection, and they're more likely to jump on board with your company when the time's right.
The strategy also helps you determine where and how to allocate resources, such as time, budget, and manpower, to achieve the best results. Plus, you can plan ahead, identify and nurture internal talent to fill critical roles when vacancies arise, and improve hiring speed to prevent any gaps or disruptions.
Your talent acquisition strategy influences an employee’s overall perception of your brand across the hiring journey from the moment they apply to the time they leave. It:
High-quality hires are often a common denominator among leading companies in any industry. These talents potentially produce more and are likely to generate more revenue than talent who aren’t a good fit for the company.
When you have a plan that clearly outlines your goals and the roles you need to fill to achieve them, your talent acquisition department can easily identify and attract top-tier candidates who possess the skills and experience for these roles.
A well-designed strategy helps you fill vacant positions more quickly and effectively.
More than half of candidates become frustrated when the recruitment process takes longer than 2-3 weeks and won’t wait more than a week after their final interview for a job offer before moving on.5 Reducing the time it takes to hire helps you provide a high-quality candidate experience and ensures you don’t miss out on top talent or experience workflow challenges.
A talent acquisition strategy shifts the hiring process from reactive to proactive and can prevent recruiting bottlenecks..
It ensures human resources is well-prepared to hire top talent when needed rather than scrambling when there’s a vacancy. So, instead of waiting for employees to quit, you proactively analyze your retention and turnover rate data to get a clear picture of the company’s staff strength and the most in-demand (and hardest-to-find) skills.
Hiring candidates who are a good fit for your company reduces your turnover rates and saves your company money.
Gallup found having a best friend at work has a significant impact on an employee’s likelihood to recommend their workplace, intent to leave, and overall satisfaction.6
If a talented employee loses a work friend or someone on the team they hold dear, it typically impacts their engagement levels and overall productivity. This, in turn, costs your company money because you have to advertise, recruit, and train new employees (or overwhelm existing top talent with more work).
63.3% of US companies say retaining talented employees is actually harder than hiring them.7 This means even with hiring slowing,8 businesses find it harder to keep the employees they already have rather than find new ones.
A well-defined talent acquisition strategy sources potential employees who have the right skills and align with your company's culture and values. When top performers feel they belong and share the company's vision, they are more likely to stay.
Talent acquisition considers long-term planning for talent needs, including identifying potential successors for key positions. Knowing that there's a clear path for career advancement can encourage top talent to remain with your organization.9
Talent acquisition is a strategic, end-to-end approach that builds a solid talent pipeline and ensures a cultural fit with your organization. Its primary goal is to find candidates who have the required skills and motivations that align with the company's culture.
On the other hand, recruitment is a more immediate, task-oriented process that helps you fill vacant roles immediately. Its primary goal is to match candidates' skills and qualifications with the job description.
Integrating diversity and inclusion into your talent acquisition strategy means that you're actively working to recruit and hire people from diverse backgrounds and ensure fair and equitable treatment for all employees.
This approach creates a workforce that reflects the broader community, promotes innovation, and contributes to the growth and success of your organization. After all, diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time.10
To set each employee up for success from the get-go, they invited each new hire to create an F4S Canva account and take the 40-question assessment as a part of their onboarding process. This helps the new hires understand themselves and for their mentor to connect and communicate with them better.
Canva also uses F4S as new teams are formed for one-on-one preparation, growth, and development conversations, internal coaching programs, and Canva University. As a result, Canva was named #1 Best Workplace for Innovators by Fast Company in 2023,11 and it attracts more than 300,000 job applications per year.12
To improve your candidate experience efforts and incorporate D&I into your talent acquisition strategy:
Every company has its own unique approach to talent acquisition, but in general, a successful process often involves these 9 hiring phases:
Effective planning helps you understand the skills and talent your company needs to achieve its goals. Without proper planning, you may end up hiring people who don't contribute effectively to bring you closer to hitting those goals.
To create an effective plan that sets your company up for success from the get-go, find out what your business needs.
Set up meetings with key stakeholders, such as your senior leadership team, department heads, and hiring managers, as they often have a clearer line of sight of your company’s goals, the needs of individual departments, and hiring trends.
During these meetings, review your organization's mission, vision, and goals. Then divide them into short-term and long-term goals, and determine your current workforce needs. That means asking questions about staffing levels, skills gaps, and upcoming projects or initiatives requiring additional personnel.
For example, say you are a tech startup whose goal is to make more people aware of your product and its benefits. You’ll need to hire key roles such as strategists and marketing specialists who know how to create and execute a marketing strategy that generates leads and customers for your business.
You should also consider which work arrangements are best for the position and company (remote, onsite, or hybrid) and how they impact your goals. Different positions will require different work arrangements, depending on company culture and goals.
Sourcing high-quality hires involves creating and maintaining a healthy talent pipeline. Even if you don't have an immediate opening, a pipeline ensures a pre-qualified candidate pool is ready when vacancies in key roles become available, reducing time-to-fill.
Not all top talent actively search for job opportunities. As a result, sourcing lets you identify and engage passive candidates who may not be actively applying but could be a good fit for the role. However, generating the right leads can be challenging.
Here are 3 suggestions to make the process easier:
1. Cast a wide net to increase your chances of attracting top talent
Use multiple channels to source candidates and during recruitment marketing:
2. Build a strong employer brand
A strong employer brand helps you stand out in a competitive job market, making candidates eager to work for your company. This encourages employees to become brand ambassadors who are more likely to recommend you to those in their networks.
To do this, enable employees to advocate for your employer brand. Encourage them to share their experiences working for your company on professional networks like LinkedIn or your company website.
Also, enhance your company's career page on your website.
Share detailed information about your organizational culture, values, and available career opportunities. For example, you can use videos, blog posts, and employee profiles to bring your brand to life. If your company has received awards or recognitions for being a great place to work, display these achievements on your site, as it makes you more credible to top talent.
You should also ensure your employer branding is consistent across all touchpoints where candidates encounter your organization, from your website and social media profiles to job postings and recruitment materials.
3. Encourage and incentivize employee referrals
Actively promote a culture where employees are encouraged to refer candidates they know. 88% of talent teams rated employee referrals above all other sources for the highest-quality of candidates.13 That’s because employees are more likely to refer individuals who are a fit for the job and company culture.
But you should consider incentivizing them to encourage them to do this. This could include anything from referral bonuses, recognition, or other rewards.
For example, you can offer a referral bonus of $1,000 to any employee who refers a candidate who is subsequently hired and successfully completes the probation period. This encourages employees to actively refer potential candidates from their networks.
You should also encourage employees to refer candidates from diverse backgrounds to promote diversity and inclusion within your organization.
Attracting talent involves crafting a compelling value proposition and job descriptions that pique the interest of potential candidates.
In today's competitive job market, getting the best candidates is not just about having job openings. You have to give them a solid reason to choose your brand over others. When these candidates are genuinely interested in joining your organization, it reduces the time and effort spent on unqualified applicants. Plus, even if they aren't immediately hired, their positive impression of your brand can lead to future referrals and a robust prospect pool.
To attract the right people have talent teams:
Screening ensures that candidates possess the necessary hard and soft skills, experience, and qualifications required for the job. This reduces the likelihood of talent specialists hiring candidates who are not a good fit for the role.
It also contributes to a positive candidate experience. Clear communication and respectful interactions leave candidates with a good impression of your organization during the recruiting cycle.
Four best practices to keep in mind while screening applicants are:
Think of the ripple effects one wrong hire has in your organization: it wastes precious time, costs, and energy that goes into training and onboarding, destroys your team morale, and potentially drives away top talent.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings.14 The problem is the talent acquisition process is riddled with bias—you’re human, after all.
Thankfully, with the help of F4S, you can remove erroneous assumptions by relying on evidence-based insights into each candidate’s motivations and predict how their work styles will align with or complement your team and its culture and goals.
Based on 20+ years of motivational research, F4S delivers quantifiable insights to:
It also helps you identify the key attitude and motivational traits your ideal candidate should have, so you can use the words in your job description and selection criteria.
As part of the application process and job description, talent teams can share this link with candidates and have them take their F4S assessment. This consists of 40 questions and takes 15-30 minutes to complete. The evidence-based assessment showcases their motivations across 48 different categories and reveals their work preferences.
Once you confirm each candidate assessment is complete, set them up in a group and start screening. View and compare the candidates by “Motivational Groups” as shown here:
Use the Ranking Report to sort candidates based on how closely their results align with those of the top performers in their industry.
If you’re managing a large number of candidates, set up an F4S team. This way, you can take advantage of the features of being an F4S Super User, like sending out a dedicated assessment link, automatically approving connection requests, and accessing candidate data straight away without needing to connect (and follow them up) with them on the platform.
For example, if you're hiring a software developer, use defined criteria like "must have a minimum of 3 years of experience" to make it easier for talent acquisition professionals to filter candidate profiles.
You should also clearly communicate the screening process to candidates, including the criteria and steps involved. And provide training to hiring managers and interviewers involved in the screening process to ensure consistency and avoid unconscious bias during corporate hiring initiatives.
Identify "must-have" qualifications versus "nice-to-have" qualifications to ensure your talent team doesn’t overlook essential skills during candidate searches.
For example, use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to smooth pipeline management and automatically filter out candidates who do not meet the basic qualifications. JazzHR, Greenhouse, Lever, and BambooHR are examples of popular AI talent acquisition software.
Talent teams can pair your HR tech stack with F4S to find and hire the right talent from the candidate pool. The collaboration and team performance platform assesses your candidate’s work styles and helps you see if they have the soft skills that aligns with your goals.
Interviews and assessments let you conduct a more in-depth evaluation of job applicants beyond their resumes and applications. For example, behavioral interviews uncover how candidates have handled past situations and challenges, providing insight into their likely behavior in future roles or work scenarios.
To host successful interviews, identify the best-fit candidate and improve the quality of hire:
Review the candidate's resume and application thoroughly before the interview to understand their background and qualifications. Then prepare a list of interview questions that align with the job requirements and their experience.
If your candidate took the F4S assessment while applying for the job, you can use Ask Marlee AI (coming soon) to find out the best questions to ask them, based on their roles, department functions, and your company culture.
Use a structured interview format with standardized questions for all candidates. This helps in comparing responses objectively and reduces bias.
Instead of asking questions on hard technical skills alone, include questions on attitude and communication (X Factor motivations), as they directly contribute to productivity.
These questions test the candidate’s compatibility and how accurate their F4S assessment results are. For example, if you find out a candidate has a low breadth motivation, you could ask, "You're low in Breadth motivation. Can you tell me how you'd approach crafting a strategy?”
Incorporate behavioral questions that ask candidates to describe past experiences and how they handled specific situations. For example, "Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict within your team."
Use video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams, if you run a remote or hybrid team (or if the potential on-site hire is out of town)
If your team uses Zoom for interview calls, you can elevate your interviews with the F4S Zoom integration.
The integration helps you understand your candidate’s communication style, so you can get the most from each interview by adjusting your approach. It also shows you how they prefer to make decisions during the call. This eliminates communication barriers and gives you a better understanding of the candidate.
Consider multiple interview sessions or panel interviews to gather different perspectives on the candidate. Whichever you choose, actively listen to candidates' responses, asking follow-up questions to gain deeper insights.
Assess cultural fit by asking candidates about their work values, preferred work environments, and how they align with the organization's culture. Ask candidates about their motivations for applying to your organization and the role. This can help determine their genuine interest and determine fit.
You can also use F4S to assess culture fit by adding your short-listed candidates to an existing group of your current team members.
To do this, log into F4S.com and select the Team they will be joining. Go to the “Overview” Then Scroll to Team Culture and Affinities to see where your candidates will likely bond with the team over shared motivations, where there might be friction, and how you can optimize both areas for success.
Then scroll to Power of Differences to identify complementary strengths, unique team talent, diverse perspectives to be harnessed, and areas for potential team friction.
Background screening and reference checks verify the accuracy of the information candidates share during the application and interview process. This includes confirming qualifications, employment history, and other crucial details.
It helps talent specialists identify potential risks associated with hiring a candidate.
For example, criminal background checks reveal any history of criminal activities that may pose a risk to the workplace. Failing to conduct necessary checks can also lead to legal and compliance issues for your organization.
To do this well:
This step involves finalizing the job offer and negotiating terms when an active candidate accepts your offer.
Successful negotiation ensures the successful candidate is enthusiastic about the role, compensation, and benefits, which reduces the risk of them declining the offer or leaving soon to join the competition.
While negotiating offers to candidates, you and the potential hire should clarify expectations, including compensation, job responsibilities, daily activities, work arrangements, and other terms.
For example, say you’re a hiring manager at a tech company, and you have just extended a job offer to a candidate named Alex for a software engineering position.
During the negotiation process, you and Alex discuss compensation.
You clarify the base salary, bonuses, and any additional perks or benefits, such as stock options or signing bonuses. You also outline the key tasks, daily activities, projects, and goals he will be responsible for in the role to prevent any ambiguity about the scope of the job. And you talk about other terms, such as relocation assistance, professional development of employees, and flexible work arrangements.
This improves the customer experience and ensures Alex is informed and comfortable with the terms and has a positive start to his journey with your company. It also reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings and misalignment later on.
Also, use the data from their F4S assessment to understand how to best position the offer. This way, you can create a compelling offer that aligns with their motivations and preferences.
A well-structured employee onboarding process contributes to higher retention rates and is key to a robust talent acquisition strategy. Employees who feel welcomed, informed, and supported during their early days are more likely to stay with the organization.
To ensure employees are productive and engaged from day one, here are some tips to keep in mind:
F4S enhances the onboarding experience to help your new hire feel like a valued team member, which results in increased happiness, engagement, and performance.
Using F4S, you can support your new team member to understand their individual attitudes, motivations, strengths, and blindspots in the context of their key goals, milestones, and the expectations of the role by taking them through their F4S results.
The ultimate goal of talent acquisition is not just to fill positions but to secure talent that will contribute to the organization's long-term success.
A stable workforce reduces disruptions in workflow and ensures continuity in projects and initiatives. And retaining talent is more cost-effective than continually recruiting and training new employees. High turnover is costly in terms of recruitment expenses, productivity loss, and training investments.
Keeping employees engaged and retaining them requires a proactive and strategic approach that focuses on their well-being, growth, and job satisfaction.
Here are several effective ways to achieve this:
Remember that even with the best retention strategies in place, some turnover is natural and can even be healthy for organizational growth. The goal is not to eliminate all exits but to create a continuous process of learning and improving so employees stay and contribute to your organization's success for the long term.
Use F4S to uncover what motivates or frustrates your candidates, see how their skills and attitudes complement existing team members, make better hiring decisions and improve the recruiting experience.
Talent acquisition is the process of finding, attracting, and hiring skilled individuals to fill specific roles within an organization and meet labor requirements. It involves identifying the right candidates, evaluating their qualifications, and ultimately bringing them on board to meet the company's staffing needs.
An effective talent acquisition strategy ensures you have the right people with the right skills in the right positions to achieve business goals and improve future hiring and employee retention.
A talent acquisition specialist, often referred to as a recruiter or talent acquisition manager, is a professional responsible for finding, attracting, and hiring high-quality candidates to fill job current vacancies within an organization as well as long-term planning for future roles.
Their primary focus is to identify the right talent to meet the company's staffing needs while ensuring a robust talent acquisition process and a great customer experience for candidates.
Talent intelligence means smartly using data to guide your decisions. This means gathering, analyzing, and making sense of your workforce's data, including your current employees, possible candidates, and industry trends. By doing this, you can make better HR choices that align with your company's bigger business objectives, essentially ensuring your talent strategy works hand-in-hand with your overall goals.
Yes, onboarding is a crucial part of the talent acquisition process and employee retention.
Talent acquisition encompasses the entire hiring journey of identifying, attracting, and employing new staff to fill specific roles within an organization. Onboarding represents the final stage of the recruiting experience, where the focus shifts from hiring to integrating the new staff into the company effectively.
A talent acquisition team is typically composed of various people who play a pivotal role in the recruitment process, including:
Of course, not all companies have these roles. Smaller brands typically have a leaner team, while larger companies sometimes have dedicated professionals for each role.
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