It’s can be difficult to find the ideal candidate for a specific position — in fact, in 2018 almost 75% of employers struggled to fill positions with the right candidates.
Regardless of the state of the economy and your talent pool, to succeed long-term, your business should be able to hire and retain the best, most talented employees.
But it can be a daunting task, which is why you need a talent acquisition strategy.
Your pursuit of top talent shouldn’t solely rely on traditional, short-term recruitment strategies like sending LinkedIn messages or attending job fairs. To ensure top talent acquisition and retention, you’ll need to devise a strategic long-term talent acquisition plan.
To succeed long-term, it’s critical you attract and retain talented employees regardless of vacant roles. Talent acquisition can help you do this, while solving for long-term organizational needs.
Here, we’ve cultivated four critical talent acquisition strategies to ensure you’re finding the best people.
1. Align with your business goals.
Consider your business goals for the next one to five years, and use those objectives to tailor your acquisition strategy to meet those needs. While recruitment tends to focus on filling vacancies within departments, talent acquisition is more about considering how your company is going to expand long-term, and then finding employees who can help take you there.
For instance, are you planning on expanding into Latin America? If so, perhaps your HR department should focus on attracting candidates with international or regional experience. Or, maybe you’re planning on creating a new product, in which case, your HR efforts should focus on attracting talented software developers and coders.
Certain roles might not even exist yet, but you’ll want to consider what type of talent you’ll need to hit your business’s long-term goals. Remember, investing in the right candidates will pay off for your company, long-term.
2. Use data and marketing to create better acquisition material.
You wouldn’t create a marketing campaign without data, so why should you recruit without it?
Talent acquisition should be treated with just as much importance as any of your marketing campaigns. Convincing people to join your company is just as necessary as incentivizing people to buy your products.
There are plenty of different opportunities to use data to strengthen your talent acquisition strategy. For instance, you might use data to figure out where your top talent came from, and use that information to focus your talent acquisition efforts on certain academic programs or professional networking sites.
Additionally, your HR team should partner with your marketing department to refine job descriptions, career pages, emails, and more.
Using data, you can figure out if certain questions are deterring candidates from filling out job applications, and eliminate those questions. Alternatively, perhaps you’ll find adding images or videos to highlight company culture incentivizes more candidates to fill out job forms. Or, maybe more candidates apply for a job with description A over description B.
By using analytics and data, you’re able to ensure your job descriptions and career pages aren’t deterring qualified people from applying.
3. Expand outreach strategies.
To find better talent, you’ll need to expand your sourcing strategies. Different skillsets require different methods of outreach. You’ll find your best marketers in a different place than your best programmers, so you’ll want to diversify your sourcing approach.
Rather than spending all your time on LinkedIn, consider other specialized job boards, academic programs, or networking events where you might find a specific group of talented professionals. For instance, to attract talented coders, Deloitte’s recruiters attended a hackathon and found prospective candidates.
It’s critical you identify where you can find the vast majority of your top talent, whether that be professional events, conferences, online forums, or social networks. Then, focus on strengthening relationships and networking with the right people — not only will you grow your pool of potential hires, but you’ll also grow brand awareness for your company, which will help you attract talent in the future, as well.
4. Focus on better employer branding.
Employer branding is critical for creating a successful talent acquisition strategy — in fact, a 2017 LinkedIn study found that 80% of talent acquisition managers believe that employer branding has a big impact on their ability to hire remarkable talent.
When talented candidates are comparing companies, they’re going to choose the one with the best values, culture, and work-life balance. By cultivating an impressive employer brand, you’ll attract better talent and find more long-term success.
To succeed with talent acquisition, you’ll need to be able to answer the question, “Why your company, over all the others?” This is why employer branding is a critical strategy for finding the best employees.
Consider how you can reframe your branding to focus on the best aspects of your company’s values and culture. It isn’t just about mentioning health benefits or compensation — you’ll also want to convey your impressive company culture, in which employees collaborate efficiently and enjoy spending time with one another. You might mention your flexible remote policy and other work-life balance perks, or your company’s emphasis on growth opportunities.
It’s important you broadcast these unique attributes through employee review sites like Glassdoor, as well as your “About Us” page on your company website. When highly qualified people are contemplating your company over your competitors, it just might be those reviews that end up convincing them.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.