Search Berg, January 9, 2024 | 10 min read

Talent Acquisition: What It Is and How to Succeed

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The success of your business isn’t just about what you sell or the services you provide—it’s also heavily influenced by the people you have on board, both employees and contractors.

This is where talent acquisition comes in.

To ensure your company reaches new heights, you need to sharpen your talent acquisition skills. But what does that really mean?

This guide is here to break it down for you. We’ll explore tactics for finding outstanding talent, those individuals who can truly elevate your company. From identifying potential superstars to ensuring they stay with you, we’ll lead you through the process of attracting, selecting, and retaining the best in the industry.

Continue reading as we uncover the secrets to building a workforce that propels your business to unparalleled success in Atlanta.

What is Talent Acquisition?

At its core, talent acquisition revolves around attracting individuals to an organization and selecting those who align well with both the organization and the specific role.

The responsibilities of talent acquisition encompass building a robust candidate pipeline, establishing a compelling employer brand, identifying, evaluating, and hiring candidates for current and future positions, engaging in strategic workforce planning, and fostering diversity within the workforce. Proficient talent acquisition contributes to reduced turnover, heightened productivity, and increased employee engagement.

An effective talent acquisition strategy should harmonize with the broader people strategy, which, in turn, aligns with the overarching organizational strategy.

As the landscape has evolved, the talent acquisition function has transformed as well. In many organizations, it now operates as a distinct team or is integrated into the HR department, playing a pivotal role in the implementation of comprehensive people strategies.

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Key Elements of Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition is a multifaceted process that involves several key elements, each playing a crucial role in building a high-performing and diverse workforce. Here are the fundamental components that constitute effective talent acquisition:

1. Workforce Planning

The foundation of effective talent acquisition lies in understanding the organization’s current and future needs. Workforce planning involves analyzing the skills and competencies required for each role, identifying skill gaps, and aligning recruitment efforts with long-term business goals. This strategic planning ensures that the organization is equipped with the right talent and anticipates future needs.

2. Employer Branding

A strong employer brand is a magnet for top talent. Organizations need to invest in building and maintaining a positive image to attract the best candidates. This includes showcasing the company culture, values, and opportunities for growth through various channels such as social media, career websites, and industry events. Consistent and authentic employer branding not only attracts talent but also contributes to employee retention by aligning expectations with the actual workplace experience.

3. Recruitment Marketing

Talent acquisition extends beyond the traditional boundaries of recruitment. Recruitment marketing involves promoting the organization as an attractive employer through targeted campaigns, content marketing, and social media. Engaging content, such as employee testimonials, can significantly enhance the organization’s appeal to potential candidates.

4. Candidate Sourcing

Identifying and reaching out to potential candidates is a critical aspect of talent acquisition. Beyond job boards and traditional recruitment methods, organizations can leverage social media platforms, professional networks, and partnerships to tap into a broader pool of talent. Proactive sourcing helps in building a talent pipeline for future needs. This forward-thinking approach addresses immediate staffing needs and creates a continuous influx of skilled individuals, providing a competitive edge in talent acquisition.

5. Streamlined Recruitment Process

A smooth and efficient recruitment process is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. It includes optimizing job postings, utilizing applicant tracking systems, and providing a positive candidate experience. Streamlining the process reduces the time to hire, ensuring that organizations don’t lose out on top talent to competitors. An expedited and candidate-centric recruitment process enhances the organization’s reputation while signaling to potential hires that the company values efficiency and professionalism throughout its journey.

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Talent Acquisition Success Strategies

Here are some key talent acquisition strategies you should implement to make sure you are getting the best people on board.

1. Align Your Talent Acquisition Strategy with Business Goals

Ensure your talent acquisition strategy aligns seamlessly with your business goals, considering the next one to five years. Tailor your approach to address the specific needs arising from your growth objectives. While recruitment focuses on filling immediate vacancies, talent acquisition is a forward-looking process, envisioning your company’s long-term expansion and finding employees who can contribute to that vision.

For example, if your business plans to expand into Latin America, your HR efforts should emphasize attracting candidates with international or regional experience. Whether entering new markets or developing innovative products, anticipate the talent required, even for roles that may not exist yet, to support your business’s long-term success. Investing in the right candidates is a strategic move that pays off in the future.

2. Utilize Data and Marketing for Enhanced Acquisition Material

Utilize data and marketing to enhance your acquisition material. Just as you wouldn’t embark on a marketing campaign without data, talent acquisition deserves an equal level of attention. Persuading individuals to join your company is as crucial as incentivizing them to purchase your products. Numerous opportunities exist to leverage data for fortifying your talent acquisition strategy. For instance, analyze data to identify the sources of your top talent and tailor acquisition efforts toward specific academic programs or professional networking sites.

Furthermore, collaborate between your HR and marketing teams to refine job descriptions, career pages, emails, and more. Through data analysis, identify and eliminate questions that may discourage candidates from completing job applications. Alternatively, consider incorporating images or videos highlighting your company culture to encourage more candidates to apply. Analytics also empower you to compare the effectiveness of different job descriptions (A vs. B), ensuring that your application processes appeal to qualified individuals.

Automate these processes with tools like Bullhorn, specifically designed to handle significant tasks in talent acquisition, including recruiting candidates, sorting through the job pool, and analyzing candidate data. Bullhorn’s software streamlines applicant tracking systems and enhances profitability for businesses of any size.

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3. Expand Outreach Strategies

To discover superior talent, diversify your sourcing strategies based on the unique skill sets required. Recognize that various professionals inhabit different online and offline spaces, necessitating a diversified approach to outreach. While platforms like LinkedIn are valuable, explore specialized job boards, academic programs, or industry-specific networking events tailored to your target talent pool.

Tools like SmartRecruiter, designed for candidate relationship management, aid in organizing recruitment efforts and coordinating schedules. Identify key hubs where your top talent congregates, such as professional events, conferences, online forums, or social networks. Strengthen relationships and network strategically to grow your pool of potential hires while simultaneously boosting brand awareness for sustained talent attraction in the future.

4. Craft an Engaging Employer Brand

Evaluate the strength of your employer brand and consider how your company distinguishes itself from competitors. Reflect on how well your brand aligns with the organization’s mission, values, and goals.

Prospective candidates extensively research your company through avenues like your careers page, social media accounts, Great Place To Work® Certified™ profile, and platforms similar to Glassdoor. Leveraging these platforms to articulate your values, mission, and culture is a vital aspect of recruitment, providing candidates with a comprehensive understanding of your organization. Even the composition of your job descriptions contributes to conveying your employer brand.

Take YNAB, for instance, which opts for longer job descriptions detailing the candidate’s potential tasks, a typical workday, and the markers of success. This approach ensures that candidates can discern early on whether the company’s culture aligns with their preferences. Developing a distinct and transparent employer brand is a pivotal yet often overlooked recruitment strategy akin to presenting a compelling story to prospective candidates.

5. Enhance the Candidate’s Experience

Conduct a thorough examination of the candidate’s experience, meticulously reviewing the application process from initiation to completion. Scrutinize every point of contact, including emails, automated messages, and the language used in job descriptions. Assess the recruitment journey from the candidate’s perspective, recognizing that every interaction, be it an email or job description, conveys a message about the company and the role.

For instance, Hilti, a construction company, mandates a comprehensive day-long training session for anyone involved in recruitment. This training covers various aspects, such as effective interview techniques, evaluating candidates based on the company’s core values, unbiased hiring practices, and the entire onboarding process. The objective is to maintain consistent interview standards and deliver a uniformly positive experience for every candidate, thereby upholding the company’s commitment to a seamless recruitment process.

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6. Highlight the Company’s Corporate Social Responsibilities

Shift away from policies solely benefitting the company and focus on goals that positively impact others. Corporate social responsibilities (CSR) serve as a powerful tool for attracting top candidates aligned with your organization’s values. Engaging in CSR initiatives enhances brand image, fosters a positive workplace culture, and contributes to societal well-being.

For instance, Ben & Jerry’s, renowned for its ice cream, has stood out for its commitment to social responsibilities since 1985, donating a percentage of earnings to causes like Greenpeace and supporting voting rights, racial justice, etc. Showcase your CSR prominently on the career landing page, utilizing images and videos to convey your company’s commitment to diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, or other values. Aligning your CSR with candidates’ beliefs attracts individuals passionate about contributing to your business.

7. Increase the DE&I Department Budget

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are integral to a successful talent acquisition strategy. According to Dan Schawbel, a best-selling author and managing partner of an HR research and advisory firm, “70% of jobseekers want to work for a company that demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion.” The workforce landscape has evolved, with more women and minorities seeking employment.

Prioritize DE&I training to showcase your company’s commitment to staying current. To maximize the return on investment, focus on retention. Eliminate biases in the job application process by implementing strategies such as anonymous resume reviews, removing names and photos during candidate sourcing, and establishing a diverse hiring team. This proactive approach not only aligns with contemporary values but also positions your company as an inclusive and forward-thinking employer.

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8. Prioritize Skills Over Degrees in Hiring

A growing trend among employers involves shifting away from relying solely on academic degrees to assess a candidate’s skills. Instead, the focus is on skills-based recruiting, with companies like Accenture revamping their talent framework to eliminate college degree requirements for specific roles. Bitwise Industries also contributes to diverse hiring by eliminating unnecessary degree prerequisites and investing in the training of promising talent overlooked by many other tech firms.

Recognizing that college degrees do not always accurately predict job performance or success, this approach emphasizes assessing skills and experience. By doing so, employers can more effectively match candidates with the specific requirements of a job, resulting in improved job fit and overall performance.

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9. Enhance Talent Acquisition through Great Place To Work Certification

Great Place To Work Certification significantly impacts a company’s recruitment and talent strategy, primarily by showcasing the organization as one that values a thriving culture—a sentiment echoed by its employees. Beyond mere recognition, being Great Place To Work Certified positions your company as an employer of choice, standing out in a competitive landscape.

This certification acts as a catalyst for your recruitment efforts by increasing visibility and attracting a broader pool of applicants. It serves as an independent verification of your organization’s healthy and engaged culture, providing assurance of a positive employee experience. Ultimately, the certification elevates your company’s appeal, driving organic traffic and reinforcing its reputation as an exemplary workplace.

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For tailored talent solutions in Atlanta, look no further than Tech Talent and Strategy. Whether you require trained professionals ready to contribute immediately or seek world-class training for your existing staff to bridge skill gaps, TTS has the expertise and resources to meet your specific needs. Contact TTS today to unlock the full potential of your workforce and propel your organization toward sustained success.