Reactionary Recruiting Doesn't Work

Talent acquisition has always been an important part of effective talent management. This has become especially evident over the last 15 years, as the rapid evolution of technology and major shifts in the world economy have tested traditional processes. From the Dotcom boom to the Great Recession, a lot has changed in the world of work -- and many organizations struggle to keep up.
Reactionary Recruiting Doesn’t Work, Y’all!
Historically, talent acquisition has been limited to a transactional, reactionary function, wherein recruiting efforts are reduced to filling holes in the org chart. For example, an employee moves to a new position; HR posts the job opening, combs through resumes, and brings in applicants whose resumes meet the basic requirements. You know the drill.
While this style of recruiting may work for low-skill, low-impact roles, it’s neither efficient nor effective for growing sustainable business. For the majority of hiring organizations, this often results in poor-quality hires, longer time-to-productivity, and an inability to plan and budget for staffing needs. 
It’s become increasingly evident that reactionary recruiting is ineffective in the long term. Competition for top talent is at an all-time high, and candidates expect more of potential employers than in the past. Companies who fail to adapt suffer from high turnover and poor employer branding. 
Fact: Now, more than ever, ongoing success in talent acquisition requires careful planning, an agile process, and an understanding of current technology and emerging trends. 
But transitioning from reactionary recruiting to strategic talent acquisition is no walk in the park. Establishing a working definition is a good place to start, as is breaking talent acquisition down into functional pieces. 
Think Bigger with Talent Acquisition
Ongoing success in talent acquisition requires business leaders to work closely with HR to identify gaps in staffing needs and future opportunities, and to adjust process accordingly. To do this, it’s important to understand the role each function plays in effective talent acquisition. Here’s a brief breakdown:
  • Plan. The most effective recruiting companies evaluate existing and future staffing needs, identify growing skill gaps, monitor changes in turnover, and audit process and performance. In short, they plan for success. Not just before a period of rapid growth. Not after a spike in turnover. All the time. 
  • Source. For many, sourcing efforts are limited to posting jobs across various boards and filtering through a flood of resumes. But more recruiters are investing time and resources to engage high-quality candidates. Employee referral programs have also become a primary source for candidates, with social networks as the prime target.
  • Assess. With talent acquisition’s emphasis on quality-of-hire and time-to- productivity metrics, the process of assessing and screening candidates for skill and cultural fit has become increasingly valuable. As such, employers are relying on new tools and services to evaluate key performance indicators (KPIs) of a good hire.
  • Hire. Probably the most overlooked and under-optimized phase in the talent acquisition lifecycle, the hiring process includes deciding on the best candidate, extending and negotiating an offer, and managing all of the little things that need attention prior to an employee’s first day in a new role. The challenge is maintaining lines of communication, managing expectations, and making hard business decisions without tarnishing the company’s employer brand. 
  • Onboard. This phase has been undervalued by many organizations. Studies show, however, that effective onboarding directly impacts KPIs of talent acquisition, such as time- to-productivity and turnover. By establishing a formal process, and managing this stage closely, the employees you’ve worked hard to recruit and hire are more likely to succeed in their new role. 
Looking Ahead: Key Conversations
This is an exciting time in talent acquisition -- and not just for us nerds. New technologies are emerging daily, and leading organizations are constantly innovating to improve the effectiveness of their various processes. Keeping up with trends and evolving best practices can be time consuming, but blogging communities like SHRM’s We Know Next are a good place to start. 
Join the conversation, and tell us how you’re optimizing your talent acquisition processes. And email me if you have any specific questions:
The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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