Daily Archives: November 19, 2006

The Talent Series VIII: Talent Acquisition Strategies

Back in June, Aberdeen Group released The Talent Acquisition Strategies Benchmark Report: Sourcing and Assessing the Best of the Best that address the criticality of investing in a talent acquisition strategy as a way to identify, attract, and engage high performers given that today’s organizations are facing a market with not enough qualified employees to fill necessary job roles, i.e. The Talent Crunch.

According to Aberdeen, talent acquisition involves the planning, sourcing, assessing, hiring and on-boarding of top talent. Sourcing candidates is a way to identify and attract qualified individuals whether they are actively looking or not and assessment involves the skills tests and behavioral assessments necessary to evaluate the ability of the candidate in a given role.

As usual, Aberdeen found that there is a sharp distinction between best performing companies who are tackling the talent crunch and average players who have done little more than adopt a talent mindset. Best performing companies distinguish themselves by leveraging technology to manage the sourcing, assessment, and hiring process and creating long-term strategic plans for talent acquisition that:

  • improve their corporate brand
  • create a pool of qualified candidates
  • improve their strategic workforce planning
  • utilize technology

As proof that a talent acquisition strategy works, Aberdeen offers us the following statistic: 59% of high performing companies have increased their overall workforce performance after implementation of a talent acquisition strategy compared to 41% of industry average and 33% of laggard companies.

The report found that Job Boards and Employment Websites are number one – with companies spending over 80% of their talent acquisition budget on job boards and company employment websites (according to the Enterprise Talent Management study), which is probably due to the fact that job boards have an increase in the quality of hire (48%), a decrease in the cost per hire (38%), and time per hire (44%).

Furthermore, the report found that 90% of Best in Class companies have aligned talent acquisition to their company’s overall strategic plan. Furthermore, best-in-class companies have a yearly hiring management plan that covers all hiring levels and includes contingent plans for unanticipated hiring needs.

The Aberdeen report offers the following recommendations for action:

  • align talent acquisition strategy with the overall corporate strategic plan
  • measure workforce performance based on quality of hire over cost per hire and time per hire
  • recognize that “one size does not fit all”: what works for talent acquisition in one company might not work for every company
  • eliminate paper and spreadsheet based processes and use technology solutions
  • focus on a long-term plan for talent acquisition
  • manage the whole workforce

These are all good recommendations, but you should also note the following:

  • job boards and employment sites are great, but with their increasing popularity you need to remember that the same candidates they deliver to you will also be delivered to dozens of your peers, so make sure you have a compelling brand to fall back on
  • your best channel will always be referrals from your own top employees, make sure to track each and every one – even if a candidate referred to you is not available now, or not the right candidate for the position you need to fill today, it does not mean that she will not be available tomorrow or the best fit for the next position that opens up
  • metrics are good, but positions filled with highly capable individuals are better – and it’s really hard to measure “quality” (on the other hand, productivity is often more easily captured if you make a product or bill a service)
  • although spreadsheets are not the best solution, don’t throw away Excel just yet – a good product will integrate with Excel and save your staff from having to learn a new interface (and save you training time and dollars)
  • one size may not fit all, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least explore ideas that have worked for other firms – sometimes only a few small tweaks are required