What is talent acquisition
Talent acquisition is the ability to attract the best people in your industry to your company – and, importantly, have them sign up to work on exciting opportunities on your team.
In the HR industry, talent acquisition is simply known as the ability to recruit the best people for the best jobs.
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In process terms, talent acquisition involves attracting, sourcing, interviewing, recruiting and onboarding top-quality people who have the best attitude and skills for the job.
Being a top-draw recruiter for talent acquisition
Talent acquisition is a skill. And only recruiters with this skill are preferred to lead the talent acquisition function.
Primarily, a recruiter leading this function has to be a complete people person. They have to be networkers with great relationship skills. They must be able to connect with candidates across industry sectors and at all levels of organizational hierarchies. They must have a clear understanding of their own organization’s vision and must be able to sell this core idea to a candidate. Since this role is all about convincing other people, a recruiter must possess the aggression of a hardcore salesperson – to make a powerful pitch and influence a potential candidate to sign up for the role. Also, empathy is important in these recruitment drives. A recruiter with great empathy for a talented candidate is more likely to accomplish the task of having the individual join their team.
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Why you must not confuse talent acquisition with plain vanilla recruitment
Talent acquisition is a strategic function. Whereas recruitment is simply about meeting headcount numbers; it is short-term and very transactional. Talent acquisition is a qualitative process. It plays an important role in helping an organization not just meet its business plan targets, it ensures that the vision of the organization is achieved. Talent acquisition also fills key positions across the ranks: From hiring high-potential young people in key roles to bringing on board experienced people in executive and leadership roles
The talent acquisition process is qualitative
Defining and marketing the role
Make sure that the role goes beyond just being a job description. Present the role in an exciting manner. A potential candidate must be drawn to the role and to your company. Also, go beyond advertising your talent needs on job portals. Talk about your requirements when you attend or address seminars, when you network with other professionals in the industry, and through social media. Tell people who you are looking for and tell them why the right candidates must look at the role your company is offering.
Attracting real talent
Folks that are truly talented are always looking for the right environment that will nurture them, and will allow them to grow and express themselves. So, talking about your company’s culture is important. Telling a potential candidate why and how your culture is empowering is what will excite them beyond the role and the salary package. Sometimes, a candidate may not always be the right fit. Or a candidate may not be willing to join you just now. Remember to be in constant touch with these people. Great talent will eventually move to great workplaces. So, no talent acquisition effort is ever a waste of time.
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Interviewing, assessing and making an offer
Well-intentioned, skilled and professional candidates like the conversations to be sharp and meaningful. Impress them by laying out clearly what the role entails, what is expected out of them, what their KPIs are, and what they will get in return for great quality work. Make them talk about themselves and the work they have done in the past. Get them excited to share work stories: “I am keen to understand if you have done similar stuff. Tell me more about the work you have done.”
Unfailingly, for technical roles, and skill-specific roles, put candidates through the rigor of testing tools, personality and cognitive evaluations and peer reviews.
Always run reference checks. Period. If you are in doubt, run a check. If you are very gung-ho and sold on a candidate, run a check.
Finally, make the offer in a memorable fashion – as if you are welcoming a high-profile, premium, customer into your premises. Make the candidate feel special. And never delay a decision to make an offer or to reject a candidate. If you are saying no to the candidate, say so promptly, transparently – no matter how busy other people on the decision-making panel are.
A new employee always needs hand-holding in their early stages of engagement in an organization. So, although talent acquisition teams are not mandated to lead the onboarding process, it may be a good idea for you to check in on a new employee. Do multiple check-ins during the first week, first month and first quarter. Talented people feel reassured that they have made the right move when they feel they are valued and cared for.
Getting better with talent acquisition
This is one area which is niche, alright, but it offers a lot of scope for constant innovation.
Work closely with the business leaders in your organization to forecast talent-requirement priorities. Remember that this is not a tick-in-the-box HR role. This is a strategic function. Keep watching out for talented people in industry forums, on social media, and through your professional network. Even if you don’t immediately need a certain person with a specific skill set, but find that person’s talent and profile impressive, add that name to your bank of talented profiles. Invest time in constantly reviewing and updating this bank. You never know when someone you have known, and cultivated, will fit a role that you are trying to fill.
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Also know that there is no right way or wrong way to acquire quality talent. And there is no template available. You have to build a process that works for you as a business leader or as a recruiter. Talented people are everywhere. They are sometimes visible on social media – particularly on LinkedIn. Or you may find them sitting next to you on a plane. Or you may find them checking you in at a hotel. Or you may find them at your child’s school.
There is no dearth of quality talent in the world. What’s important is how do you find them and how do you convince them to work with you, in your organization, on your team?
That’s a question for which you must figure your own answer. And build your own process around that answer.