HRA Blog

Six Resolutions for Effective Talent Acquisition in 2018

Written by Kelly McArter on .

Happy New Year! It is once again January, and with the New Year brings new resolutions for both personal and professional endeavors. If you’re like me, you have made a list with all the pursuits that you are ambitiously going to accomplish this year. However, this year, in addition to your own personal resolutions, what about making some for your organization?

We all want happy, motivated, productive employees and fewer turnovers, but, what changes within our organizations do we need to make this year to achieve these goals? While there are certainly many dynamics that can contribute to a successful organization, examining, modifying or improving the talent acquisition process will pay huge dividends over the course of the year.

While each company takes a different approach to hiring talent, and regardless if your recruitment department is a one-person operation, or a robust staff, there are some universal key elements that comprise successful talent acquisition programs. Here are some New Year’s resolutions to help you improve your talent acquisition processes and effectively hire the right people:

Resolution #1: Evaluate your recruitment process
It may seem obvious, but does your recruitment process make sense? Is it efficient? Are all the right people involved? What factors are contributing to slowing the process down? A streamlined recruitment process is more likely to lead to a more positive candidate experience (we will delve into this later), and gives everyone involved a clear understanding of what to expect and what his or her role will be in the process.

Resolution #2: Do your research on the positions
Some organizations are lucky enough to have Human Resources assist managers with recruiting for open positions. If you are in HR, chances are that you are not an expert in every field for which you are recruiting. That’s okay, as long as you do your research. According to iCIMS Hiring Insights, 80 percent of recruiters feel they have a good understanding of the jobs they are recruiting for, yet 61% of hiring managers disagree. You don’t have to have expert-level knowledge of the job, but you do need to know enough to evaluate a potential candidate’s suitability on a broad scale. If you are the HR recruiter, make sure you sit down face-to-face or get on the phone with the person who will be overseeing the hire (the hiring manager) to find out the good, the bad, and the ugly about the job. Does the job description accurately reflect the job? What are the top skills this person needs to have? Are there must-haves that are not in the job description (long hours, supervisory responsibilities, travel, etc.)? Are there any specific questions I should ask in the interview? If possible, discuss the position with the person who is currently doing it. If you are the hiring manager working with a recruiter, don’t automatically assume that he or she knows what the job is all about, and ensure that you are communicating all the pertinent information. The more the individual recruiting for the position knows about the job, the better chance he or she has of finding candidates with the right skill sets.

Resolution #3: Have a recruitment strategy
Figuring out a recruitment strategy is critical for not only finding the right candidate, but also for managing your time effectively. No matter who is involved in the recruitment effort for your organization, collaboration is key to success. In addition to ensuring that everyone has a good understanding of the position, also brainstorm potential sources, target organizations, and industry-specific venues. Discuss what each of your roles will be in the process to manage expectations. Make sure everyone understands that they need to hold up their end of the bargain in terms of giving timely feedback and making time for interviews. Nothing is worse than losing a promising candidate because someone was unresponsive or unavailable. Recruitment is a time consuming function with a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Communicate regularly with your hiring team to discuss all the activity happening on your end as it may not be readily apparent. A thoughtful strategy will pay off in finding the best candidates.

Resolution #4: Keep employees in the loop
Do you have an employee referral program? According to HireClix, 71 percent of organizations have an employee referral program, but only two percent of those organizations actually meet their referral hiring goals. This is partly due to the fact that many employees don’t even know which jobs are open. It is important to communicate open positions and remind employees about the referral program. Make sure that it easy for employees to submit referrals, and recognize them publicly if your organization hires a referral they made. If employees know the referral program is being used successfully, they will more likely refer others themselves.

Resolution #5: Make sure everyone’s interviewing skills are on point
How does your organization approach interviews? Is there a structured flow to the interviews, or do people just wing it? Getting the right information out of an interview is a skill that must be learned and practiced. Ensure that everyone in your organization who is doing interviews is trained on behavioral interviewing. Behavioral interviewing is based on the idea that past performance is the best predictor of future behavior. Asking a candidate to provide specific examples of job related situations will help the interviewer assess real observable actions, attitudes, and outcomes. If you ask a candidate a more generic question like, “Tell me about your weaknesses,” nine times out of ten they are going to tell you they tend work too much and do not take enough breaks (cue the eye roll). Instead, ask a question like, “Tell me about a time when you encountered a difficult problem at work”. Follow-up with a question like, “How did you go about solving it?” It’s harder to fudge answers to questions that are very specific, and in turn, the interviewer gets useful information.

Resolution #6: Create a top notch candidate experience
2017 was a candidate’s job market, and employers predict that 2018 will be more of the same. Are you treating your candidates like customers? If not, you should be! The “candidate experience” is the term that is now used to describe how a candidate feels during the recruitment process. Workplace Trends reports that 60 percent of candidates report having a poor hiring experience. Candidates need to feel valued throughout the entire process. If they don’t, not only will they move on to another organization, but they may also be inclined to share this experience with others on social media or on employer review sites like Glassdoor. Your organization’s reputation is at stake, and a just little extra effort on your part will go a long way. Communication and follow up are key for a pleasant candidate experience.

Any new year’s resolution involves getting out of our comfort zones and making some big changes to get the results we want. It is never easy and keep in mind you might meet some resistance along the way. However, if making smart hires and bringing in the best talent for your organization is a top priority, the commitment will be worth it. Resolve to make 2018 the year of your organization’s best talent acquisition program yet!