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Guide to designing a high impact talent acquisition strategy

For over two decades, the ‘war for talent’ is still making headlines—ever since Steve Hankin coined the term in 1997 and McKinsey wrote the book by the same name. Yet, more than 20 years later, the fight for skilled contingent workers wages as competitive as ever. Because it’s getting harder to win. 

With current low employment rates, supply is down and demand is up, driving both enterprise-level organizations and small businesses to compete for workers qualified to fill skill gaps created by emerging technologies, shifts in employment attitudes, lower project costs and educational gaps. And hiring strategies that worked years ago aren’t as effective in today’s gig economy.

Deloitte reports organizations that can effectively recruit and retain talent see 18 per cent higher revenues and 13 per cent higher profitibility over those that aren’t as adept. And when contingent workers are expected to make up 43 per cent — or almost half– of the U.S. workforce by 2020, it’s more important now than ever to have an effective strategy to engage these types of niche workers. A successful recruitment program recognizes that hiring is more than just filling positions.   Here’s how to design an effective high-impact talent acquisition strategy that finds the right fit for your contingent worker needs.

Job descriptions: Write job descriptions that attract the right candidates

Crafting compelling job descriptions is an organization’s first step in marketing their company and position to a future hire. And with job boards like Indeed listing over 20 million jobs, yours needs to stand out to have a competitive advantage. Go beyond core qualifications: A great job description will list the must haves and nice to have skills, desired industry experience and level of education, but remember that candidates need compelling reasons to leave their current workplace or choose your job over another opportunity. Aside from what you’re looking for, what can your organization offer? Describe benefits and perks that come with the position, like skills that will be learned on the job, new technologies that will be used, growth opportunities, location and flexible work or remote work options. 

Use traditional titles: Non-traditional job titles like “ninja,” “rock star,” and “bad ass” can not only confuse an ATS and significantly lessen your talent pool, they’re also potentially discriminatory. Studies show that when listed in job descriptions, these words are major deterrents for women job seekers.

Keep it concise: Indeed reports that job descriptions that are kept between 700 and 2,000 characters receive 30% more applications.

Sourcing: Use a combination of technologies, alternative sourcing tools and traditional methods

Technology has disrupted the way organizations acquire and manage talent, and it’s important for an organization’s recruitment program to keep up with Artificial Intelligence, predictive data analytics and other technology tools. Deloitte reports that successful hiring teams are 6x more likely to engage in a data-driven decision making process over lower performing teams.

A strong recruitment program will leverage non-traditional talent sources to find both active and passive job seekers. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are common sites where recruiters and hiring managers search for talent, but Facebook groups like BUNZ Employment or forums like Reddit or StackOverFlow are also untapped talent pools. The same report by Deloitte finds 60 per cent+ of successful hiring teams actively search non-traditional sources compared with 10 per cent of lower performing organizations.

Management should be dedicated to upskilling and knowledge transfer opportunities and ensure teams are properly trained on the recruiting technologies being used. Organizations with high performing  hiring teams are 4x more likely to develop their people compared to lower performing organizations.

It’s also about the candidate experience, and successful acquisition teams will need to create a personalized journey to engage top talent. And it’s critical for organizations to measure their candidate’s satisfaction rates, with survey tools like ClearlyRated that manage the NPS score at each stage of the recruitment process to continuously improve candidate experience at each touch point. Deloitte reports that 3 out of 4 successful acquisition teams focus on improving the candidate experience compared to only 17 per cent of lower performing organizations.

Qualifying: Be transparent

It’s important to understand gatekeepers and how to get around them. Full disclosure points: Identify and proactively address negative factors at the beginning stage of qualifying. This step is critical to building personal credibility and avoiding late stage deal breakers. Things like:

• If your organizations has a furlough (force time off with no pay)
• If there is any black out on vacation time over the holidays due to a roll out
• If excessive overtime is required
• If the location is hard to get to
• Is there a use of older technologies?

Screening: Conduct a thorough interview process

The effects of a bad hire will cost an organization 30% of that worker’s first year salary. However, the negative impacts of a bad hire can be avoided with a thorough vetting process.

Important considerations when screening include:
• What kind of interview are you conducting?
• How many people does the candidate need to meet and what is your time to hire?
• How many interviews can you schedule in a single day?

The answers to these questions will help hiring teams avoid time delays in getting out offers to a candidate and mitigate the risk of losing that resource to a timelier offer. 

Are you doing any type of internal testing with your hiring managers or recruiters, and if so, does it happen before or after the interview? Conducting internal research with your organization’s top performers will provide you with a benchmark for interview skills and behaviours of a successful hiring team.

Closing: Understand the motivation factors before trying to close the deal

It’s not all about money! Understand what other factors motivate that candidate. Are they interested in career growth, flexible hours, technologies being used, project length, location, remote work options or the company culture? Knowing what non- monetary factors motivate your candidate will best position your organization for negotiations and counter offers.

If money is their motivating factor, you may want to reconsider if the candidate truly is the best fit – do their values and goals really align with your organization’s? Will they fit in with the corporate culture? If a candidate is only interested in financial compensation, your organization runs the risk of that resource leaving at any time for a better rate or salary somewhere else.

Onboarding: Deliver a superior candidate experience

Many organizations confuse orientation with onboarding— and focusing too much on new hire paperwork and processes will significantly impact employee retention or contingent redeployment. As candidates who experience poor onboarding are 8x more likely to be disengaged after three months, these resources are significantly less likely to extend their contract or entertain additional offers with an organization they had a negative experience with. Organizations with structured or formalized onboarding programs can see a 60 per cent year over year improvement in revenue and a 63 per cent increase in overall customer satisfaction.

How can you provide a superior onboarding experience? Ensure your department is organized and prepared for the worker’s first day with things like IT and office resources. Give a tour of the office and introduce the new hire to each member on the team and management. You’ll also want to give a background on the company, its business strategy and set day-to-day job expectations. Identifying and understanding gaps in your current recruitment program is critical to designing a talent acquisition strategy that will effectively source, screen, onboard and redeploy contingent workers.

The Voice of Talent: Return to the Office Report

Procom recently surveyed over 1,000 knowledge workers to discover how and where they prefer to work as offices re-open across North America.  

The Voice of Talent Report offers actionable insights into what workers expect in relation to mandatory vaccinations, remote work preferences, The Great Resignation, COVID-19 safety measures and more.

Access your complimentary copy to discover how to attract talent in a post pandemic world: 


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