India: Effective Methods of Acquiring the Right Talent Pool

There is a lot of disruption in the Talent Acquisition space in the past few years. This is mainly because of the fact that there are several changes that have taken place in our business ecosystem across the world and most of those changes have implications for this HR area – technological innovation, digital explosion, social media growth, demographic richness, talent mobility and so on. We are now operating in a very different environment than the one that prevailed even as recent as a decade ago. Also, with the recruitment firms in India predicting a 50% surge in hiring in this quarter (April to June 2017), it is time to assess the methods that organizations are focusing on to make this possible.

Given these kind of global events, the foundational aspects such as the method in which talent is acquired have undergone structural changes. How organizations acquired talent in the past is not the same as how they will need to acquire talent in the current market. The approach itself has had to be revised because the earlier approach or methods have already become redundant to some extent and are no longer effective for the current talent marketplace. India seems to be adapting to this kind of change- As per a recent 2017 Korn Ferry report, it is ahead of other countries global when it comes to using technology for recruitment.

Here are some effective methods to ensure that your organization is acquiring the right talent pool.

1.  Talent sourcing is as driven by potential employees, as it is by the employers -

The most effective method of acquiring the right talent in today’s context is to revisit the talent sourcing strategy your organization has and assess it. The sourcing process is no longer led and driven by employers who can pick and choose talent as per their requirements only. It is the employees’ market too now, and whether they want to be part of an organization’s talent pool is a decision that they are now in a position to make. As per an Aon Hewitt People Matters on Hiring trends in India, about 48% of the organizations reported that the biggest challenge to attracting talent comes when competing organizations engage well with passive talent. So redefine the sourcing approach for it to be bi-directional wherein there are aspects of feedback from potential employees as well, rather than a unidirectional one as has been the case with traditional talent acquisition processes.

2.  Effective use of the social media networks is a business imperative –

There is a lot of buzz around Social Recruiting in the past few years. The trend definitely and unequivocally tells us that this is the way to go when it comes to talent acquisition. Organizations have therefore spent time, effort and resources in putting together strategies that are aligned to the effective use of social media networks, when it comes to acquiring the right talent. These strategies are so comprehensive that not only do they have a process defined on how to go about it, but many of them will have clear metrics to measure success through each social media network or channel that is being used. The metrics are not centered around numbers only, but also the credibility of the media since it helps companies to understand which of these networks is truly relevant for finding the talent that fits into their culture. This method has actually reduced the dependencies on external recruitment agencies since if the in-house acquisition team is trained effectively to screen profiles from the information on these platforms, it is better and more cost effective to have them do the same. In India the trend to use hire through the social media is usually restricted to recruitment of passive talent rather than active job seekers.  

3.   Investment in employer branding is an effective strategy for acquisition -

The talent of today is well-read and spends considerable time in researching the organizations that interview them. The talent acquisition strategy, should, therefore, have a clear action plan when it comes to positioning itself as an Employer of Choice or become a chosen Employment brand. This cannot be restricted to a few media campaigns in isolation, because it needs to be built up over a period of time. Prospective employees have started assessing organizations to understand if the culture and values as they appear to be, are a fitment to their own value systems.

4.  Involvement of top executives in the talent acquisition is important -

Talent acquisition is no longer the sole responsibility of the HR or Recruitment teams or even the business managers. In order to hire the right talent mix for the organization, top executives have to have visibility and involvement in the process at certain stages. They might enter the talent identification phase after initial interviews and technical rounds are completed. But their perspective and evaluation of core talent is absolutely essential since companies are competing for the same set of high potential and high impact individuals.

5.  Finding new and non-traditional pools of talent is essential -  

In order to find the right talent mix, the sourcing team needs to find new and non-traditional pools of potential hires. This also means looking for talent in segments which might have a specific kind of requirement for work-arrangements or a different career view. These could be freelancers, contractual employees and others who prefer flexible work arrangements. Their skills might be a perfect fitment to the organization’s requirements. At that stage, it is important to be able to hire them based on their specifications rather than force-fit them into full-time roles or into a standardized recruitment policy.  

6.  Employee referrals are an effective way to recruit the right talent -

This is a very underrated tool when it comes to recruitment. Employee referrals can be a big source of finding the right talent. The existing employees already have an idea of how the organization operates, its culture, its policies and the kind of people that will be a fitment. Not only that, the employees who refer others for roles within their organization are those who believe in the organization itself. Their referral means that they think the company is a good place for those in their networks to join. That itself is a big indicator of the fact that the organization can find the right talent through its own internal networks. In the case of India, employee referrals has actually become more significant a tool in the past few years, as a source of hiring the right talent, as compared to countries like Australia, China and other countries in South East Asia.

One example of the use of an effective approach is that of General Motors. They were looking to hire technical talent for their facility in Detroit Internal staff was used to explain their roles, the opportunities and the quality of living in the city. GM used this information to spread the word and build the brand through its social media channels. Over a period of time, they were able to build their talent pool and acquire the kind of skills they needed.

Another example is that of an organization called IGN Entertainment Inc. In order to find the kind of skilled programmers that they needed, they created a program called Code Foo. This was used to teach programming skills to those who were inexperienced in gaming. Through a range of situation based challenges they assessed the thought process of their applicants. This is an innovative way of sourcing the right type talent that the organization needs.

The above are a few effective methods of acquiring the right talent pool. There can be many more that organizations can design and implement based on the business they are in, the kind of talent profile they are hiring for and the current market availability of that talent. The most important aspect to remember is that the HR or Talent Sourcing team should be well-trained and abreast of the new and creative ways in which they can find the right employees. They need to be aware of industry best practices and trends that are prevalent, so that they can put that knowledge to use when it comes to sourcing talent for their organizations. That will also enable them to keep the leadership team involved with the updated processes. 


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