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5 Strategic Trends in Talent Acquisition for 2012, 2013 and beyond


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Top strategic trends for talent acquisition leaders and product developers - A look at how business and consumer technology is changing how we recruit, hire and engage in the recruiting process.

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5 Strategic Trends in Talent Acquisition for 2012, 2013 and beyond

  1. 1. Spring 2012 Strategic Advisory & Research for HCM FIVE STRATEGIC TRENDS IN TALENT ACQUISITION About the Author Sarah White is the Founder of Accelir, a Strategy Advisory Firm focused on integration of technology and human resource strategies. Sarah has more than a decade in the human capital space as a practitioner, vendor executive, analyst and advisor. She works with corporate HR as well as vendor teams looking to gain a better understanding of how a solid strategy, the right technology & emerging media can improve their hiring and retention practices. Talent acquisition has seen great growth in both scope and maturity over the last decade. Once a small segment of human resources and an entry point for new HR professionals seeking to become generalists, the field has evolved into a stand-alone business function in many organizations — partnering with human resources, as well as other functions and lines of business, as an equal. The increase in attention signifies an acknowledgment that organizations must be able to hire talented people — quickly — to achieve any strategic goal. And recent research indicates that the emphasis on talent acquisition will continue to grow, with 63 percent of organizations expecting economic improvements to enable more hiring. The top three recruiting challenges cited are finding good candidates, filling positions quickly and engaging hiring managers. This paper identifies the top five trends that you can embrace in your recruitment process and culture to align with recruitment organizations considered to be best in class. Each trend was identified based on quantitative and qualitative research completed over the last few months from business leaders, candidates and talent acquisition professionals.
  2. 2. F i v e S t r a t e g i c Tr e n d s i n Ta l e n t A c q u i s i t i o n : 2 0 1 2 Trend 1: Consumerization of Technology The tools and techniques driving information technology are increasingly likely to emerge little by little in consumer-oriented products, such as smart phones and inexpensive software applications, as opposed to sweeping enterprise-oriented solutions. This trend, which industry watchers call “consumerization,” has been a bit slower to reach talent acquisition technology than other segments of the IT marketplace, but shifts toward app-based design and mobile devices are expected to pick up speed over the next three years. App Based Products While many analysts and vendors have pushed buyers toward integrated talent-management technology, the innovation and product depth has not come as quickly as it did in the next generation of vendors focused on one small sub-segment of the marketplace. As a result, many recruiters and human resource professionals hesitate to abandon their best-in-class stand-alone solutions that are producing results, instead buying a number of solutions that simply integrate or interface with their core solution. The shift in technology expectations means the core application tracking system (ATS) will emerge as a hub for multiple plug in play products. This next generation of products — such as recruiting candidaterelationship management (CRM) tools, talent networks, videointerviewing, social collaboration and various sourcing technologies — add a specific depth of functionality and interact with applicant tracking systems in ways that only background-checking and pre-hire assessment providers did in the past. Such additions are increasingly affordable, accessible (thanks to cloud technology) and capable of integrating with core systems from different vendors. Organizations often can buy them out of departmental budgets, avoiding more complicated purchase-review processes. Page 2 w w w. A c c e l i r. c o m L i c e n s e d f o r D i s t r i b u t i o n t o Ta l e m e t r y ©2012 Accelir
  3. 3. F i v e S t r a t e g i c Tr e n d s i n Ta l e n t A c q u i s i t i o n : 2 0 1 2 Mobile Technology Conversations about mobile technology in talent acquisition have come a long way. Just two years ago, the focus was on basics like SMS and texting. Today the space also encompasses a constantly growing array of options for feature phones, smart phones and tablets. The rapid growth of the tablet market, such as iPad and Kindle Fire, is changing how we view the mobile workforce and with some analysts anticipating tablets outselling traditional laptops by the end of the decade - mobile a vital part of any talent acquisition strategy. Already, some of the start-up hr technology providers are building products for mobile devices first, and then developing the SaaS look and feel for desktop and laptop users. We expect to see technology products emerging in the talent acquisition space with functionality that is equally as robust as in the standard software. Collaboration, accessibility and actionable design are key for recruiters, candidates and hiring managers. Trend 2: Adoption of Marketing Techniques Over the last 18 months we have watched market leaders in sourcing and recruitment shift toward strategies traditionally deployed only in a consumer-marketing environment. There is a fresh awareness of and emphasis on employment branding and the potential of utilizing everyone and everything to promote an organization. Corporate marketing tools are being used to approach the recruitment team’s main consumers — job candidates, future candidates and anyone who may refer candidates. The renewed focus on employment branding is causing organizations of all sizes to take a closer look at how their organizations are represented as employers. Effectively communicating an employment brand among various sources has proven to be a challenge for even the most advanced organizations, but it is a skill worth mastering. Its importance to among job seekers considering your organization is only going to increase as more companies do it. Page 3 w w w. A c c e l i r. c o m L i c e n s e d f o r D i s t r i b u t i o n t o Ta l e m e t r y ©2012 Accelir
  4. 4. F i v e S t r a t e g i c Tr e n d s i n Ta l e n t A c q u i s i t i o n : 2 0 1 2 Consumer Marketing Tools Practitioner Note: A consumer marketing approach can seem intimidating at first. Partner with your marketing team for basics. Simple and direct is often most successful in recruitment marketing. Just as organizations have been using them in corporate marketing for brand awareness, lead generation and sales — consumer-marketing tools will soon find a place in recruiters’ toolboxes. Some of the web focused solutions, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), pay-per-click advertising, social media, email marketing, micro sites and free onlinead placement are already being utilized by best in class recruiting organizations as they work to fill high-volume and niche positions. Traditionally, many corporate human resource departments relied on recruitment marketing agencies or internal marketing teams to facilitate their efforts at an expense that often made the return on investment unattainable for many organizations. Recruitment Marketing Platforms Though still in their adolescence, these ATS/TMS vendor-neutral solutions have improved significantly in the past 18 months. Now offering organizations much more depth in user experience, marketing reach, business analytics and cost efficiency. These solutions focus on exposing your opening to people that would likely never have seen it on your corporate website or traditional job board. Similar to the job distribution technology found in many applicant tracking systems, this generation of recruitment marketing platforms will enable standard job board posts, but it will also give marketing intelligence, smart social networking distribution and deep access to websites you didn’t even know your candidates visited. The most advanced solutions also allow you to develop customized career sites and measurable, unique landing pages to give each candidate group a unique, customized experience. The end results of using a recruitment-marketing platform are sourcing analytics that can’t be beat and a single system that works across all channels to funnel candidates and recruits back to one centralized location (your ATS, recruiting CRM, etc) and allowing organizations to market and manage prospects in a talent network. Page 4 w w w. A c c e l i r. c o m L i c e n s e d f o r D i s t r i b u t i o n t o Ta l e m e t r y ©2012 Accelir
  5. 5. F i v e S t r a t e g i c Tr e n d s i n Ta l e n t A c q u i s i t i o n : 2 0 1 2 Trend 3: Proactive Sourcing Practitioner Note: Sourcing is evolving into a core competency that all recruiters need to understand and be able to execute. U.S. unemployment rates are at some of the highest levels in history, but somehow sourcing quality candidates who have the necessary skills, education and training and who fit in with the corporate culture seems as though it has never been harder. While recruiters have expressed concern about sourcing candidates at all levels, the Talent Technology survey identified executive (senior management, not C-level) and skilled positions (manufacturing, trade, etc) as the most difficult; participants cited entry-level and administrative roles as easiest. Though it has long been a task for specialists, sourcing is an area where recruiters are spending more time than ever. The same survey found that the average recruiter was spending 15 hours a week (37 percent of his or her time) on sourcing. This substantial amount of time is contributing to the third trend in talent acquisition: simplified yet strategic sourcing. The days of the post-andwait strategy have ended. Recruiters are now using the Web, online databases and their internal CRM or applicant tracking systems more strategically to identify candidates faster and more intelligently than ever before. Deep Web/Integrated Search Relatively few integrated search products currently exist in the HR technology ecosystem, but more are on the horizon. The products already released allow a recruiter or sourcer to log into one system and search all deep Web sites, password-protected sites (social network, job boards, etc) and internal databases (ATS, CRM, HRIS, etc) from one centralized tool. Users can track results, saving search strings and working more efficiently. Some products will even allow for recruiters not trained in Boolean search to write requirements in natural language - limiting the training and learning curve required for standard deep web searching. Even with advancements in user experience, it takes time for practitioners to learn to manage and source multiple access points properly. Advanced techniques, such as working with complex Boolean Page 5 w w w. A c c e l i r. c o m L i c e n s e d f o r D i s t r i b u t i o n t o Ta l e m e t r y ©2012 Accelir
  6. 6. F i v e S t r a t e g i c Tr e n d s i n Ta l e n t A c q u i s i t i o n : 2 0 1 2 strings, take skill and practice to master. If an organization’s needs are complicated, the job of translating those needs into a sophisticated search of multiple sources can be overwhelming, leaving valuable resources untouched. Linkedin is a great example of something that can fall to the way side when recruiters are overwhelmed. In the Talent Technology Corporation’s survey while a majority of recruiters surveyed have a presence on Linkedin, roughly 40 percent fail to use the site for. Not actively sourcing, going out and proactively searching for candidates that haven’t applied to the company, leave untold numbers of potential candidates on the table. Potentially increasing both time and cost to hire. Talent Networks Strategic sourcing has long been associated with building talent pipelines or pools to maintain a network of prospects for positions that may open because of a strategic hire or high turnover. Of late, the conversation has shifted toward talent communities, also known as talent networks. These networks allow potential job candidates to opt in or be added by a strategic recruiting team to specialized groups that match their skill sets or career goals versus the responsibility being on a recruiter or sourcer to opt them in. While you can create talent networks manually, most organizations are turning to Talent Relationship Management or Recruiting Candidate Relationship Management (Recruiting CRM) tools. Such tools make it easier to track, manage and search these networks properly. The concept isn’t new, but the industry specific technology designed to execute it is far newer than most traditional ATS solutions. These tools roll up traditional candidate relationship management functionality, email marketing, talent pools and advanced searching techniques into one process designed with the recruiting process in mind. Sitting in front of a traditional ATS, you can look strategically at your current employees, alumni, current and former applicants, referrals, Page 6 w w w. A c c e l i r. c o m L i c e n s e d f o r D i s t r i b u t i o n t o Ta l e m e t r y ©2012 Accelir
  7. 7. F i v e S t r a t e g i c Tr e n d s i n Ta l e n t A c q u i s i t i o n : 2 0 1 2 future recruits and other people who aren’t ready to apply, but want to be notified if an opportunity arises that matches their skills. You can organize these prospects in folders, or networks, that spotlight what they have in common. When an opening arises, groupings are ready to contact directly or target with a marketing campaign that invites network members to update their résumés, apply again or even conduct a video interview. Large, global organizations like AT&T talk frequently about the success they have had in filling openings at all levels after implementing a talent community, but the strategy isn’t just for big companies. Small to mid market organizations are finding the value in maintaining networks of prospects to tap when openings arise, often saving money by filling a position with a quality candidate sooner, not letting a key seat sit open. Trend 4: Candidate Experience Over the last 18 months we have seen more interest than ever before — from organizations of all sizes — in making sure job candidates have a positive experience. Organizations recognize the reality that attracting candidates through marketing or networking is where some of the hard work of talent acquisition begins, not where it ends. Providing a positive experience, active engagement and “wooing” candidates is becoming a standard - particularly as we look forward to increases in hiring. Only 12 percent of recruiters who participated in the Talent Technology survey thought it would be easy to rehire for positions that had been downsized over the past 18 months. Pre-Applicant Phase Before applying for a role, candidates seek a solid understanding of your organization and what it is like to work there. Recognizing that static career sites offering only basic information does not satisfy prospects curiosity, many companies are building and directing candidates to dynamic micro sites that target distinct sub segments of the market (recent graduates, veterans, executives, etc.). These micro sites often include videos, articles or event blog posts by current employees doing the types of roles they may be interested in exploring. In addition, detailed descriptions of the company’s culture, how the hiring process works and a clear understanding of benefits — Page 7 w w w. A c c e l i r. c o m L i c e n s e d f o r D i s t r i b u t i o n t o Ta l e m e t r y ©2012 Accelir
  8. 8. F i v e S t r a t e g i c Tr e n d s i n Ta l e n t A c q u i s i t i o n : 2 0 1 2 especially the ones that are unique to the organization makes a difference to passive candidates. Prospects at this stage are paying attention not only to the information they actively seek, but also to the general information that an organization chooses not to divulge. Candidate Capture Practitioner Note: Passive candidates will often over have a social profile, like Linkedin vs a Traditional resume. Use a solution that will allow them to use that to apply or enter your talent network. For many organizations in the late 1990s and 2000s, the goal during candidate capture was to gather as much information as possible upfront — regardless of how long it took. This strategy resulted in online applications that took candidates 45 minutes or more to complete. The candidates willing to go through that process were generally active job seekers. Lost were passive candidates and referrals who were already employed in similar roles — because, while perhaps interested, they weren’t interested enough to jump through so many hoops before finding out enough about the position and company to take the risk. Today’s trend is to request the information you need in a way that is easy to provide. For an applicant, that might mean a résumé or profile upload and answers to a few questions. For a talent network/community member, it would likely mean basic information that will let you continue to market and engage that person for future openings. For an employed workers, or passive candidate, it’s far more common for them to have only a Linkedin profile, as opposed to a traditional résumé now. Best practices suggest designing application process requiring 10 minutes or less - the new CRM or talent networking systems are developed for basic candidate capture in less than three minutes. Post Application After applications are in, the talent acquisition process involves three types of people: those who aren’t qualified, those who are qualified but don’t make it through the process, and those whom you hire. Each type needs to be addressed and any technology you use should make that simple and painless. For candidates who aren’t qualified, they often are equally has happy just to know they are no longer being considered, it is the “black hole” effect that tends to have the most negative response. In the 2011 Candidate Experience Awards Survey of more than 8,500 candidates, the top complaint was employer’s failure to communicate their status. Page 8 w w w. A c c e l i r. c o m L i c e n s e d f o r D i s t r i b u t i o n t o Ta l e m e t r y ©2012 Accelir
  9. 9. F i v e S t r a t e g i c Tr e n d s i n Ta l e n t A c q u i s i t i o n : 2 0 1 2 While important for those that are not qualified for the role, it is vital for those who have had an interview. The effects of good marketing can easily be reversed for employers who handle this phase poorly and provide a negative candidate experience. Trend 5: Proving Return on Investment (ROI) HR professionals in general and specifically those in talent acquisition are becoming strategic partners with business leaders in many organizations. Quantifiable metrics and outcomes are expected to determine how corporate budgets — of both money and time — should be spent. Every part of the sourcing or recruiting process should be measurable so that organizations can evaluate returns on investment (ROI). Different talent acquisition methods have different potential outcomes. For example, part of the ROI of a particular marketing or socialnetworking process might be improved brand awareness, whereas the outcome of a job board posting might simply be the number of applicants or hires. Recruitment marketing platforms, as well as some of the more strategic applicant tracking systems, can routinely gather certain information and come equipped with an array of analytics and reports that users can run in tracking that information. Perhaps the most important business metrics is the ROI of a particular talent acquisition source. Combined with next-generation source tracking you can quickly and easily see how each source is performing at each stage. Compared to traditional source of candidate, self select drop down option, the next generation source tracking using custom code during posting distribution so the ATS or other system can ‘read’ exactly where the candidate came from when they clicked over to apply. This information can help you to determine which efforts provide the greatest benefit for various work groups or lines of business and how time and money should be spent going forward. Page 9 w w w. A c c e l i r. c o m L i c e n s e d f o r D i s t r i b u t i o n t o Ta l e m e t r y ©2012 Accelir
  10. 10. F i v e S t r a t e g i c Tr e n d s i n Ta l e n t A c q u i s i t i o n : 2 0 1 2 Conclusion Strategic talent acquisition has evolved from simply filling an open position, to partnering with multiple disciplines across an organization. Today’s strategic talent acquisition role encompasses branding, marketing, networking, sourcing and business analytics as well as the traditional interview and selection responsibilities. While companies cannot expect to develop expertise in all of these disciplines overnight, recruitment platforms of tomorrow are already rolling out to help companies accelerate their processes and plans more efficiently. By studying the business trends discussed in this paper, organizations of all sizes can gain insights that will help them to streamline and enhance their current processes, choose the tools best suited to their needs, and build the best possible talent acquisition teams. For talent acquisition and human resource leaders, building awareness of the industry and business trends that are driving decisions in best-ofclass organizations can help to guide both short-term and long-term efforts and investments. Report Underwritten By Talemetry. The Talemetry Talent Generation suite is designed to help organizations find, attract, and engage the best talent available, faster and cheaper than ever before. Talemetry allows organizations to source candidates to build talent networks, conduct efficient and effective recruitment marketing, and strengthen candidate engagement, all from a single platform. For more information about Talemetry, visits or follow us on twitter @talenttechcorp Report By Accelir. Accelir is an Independent Analyst and Strategic Advisory firm for human capital with a focus around Talent Acquisition - From Sourcing to Succession. We conduct industry research, strategic advisory and consulting services to corporate recruiting teams to promote a stronger understanding and execution of strategic talent planning. Our members include corporate human resource teams as well as vendors both looking to accelerate their current strategies around product, process and market education. Learn more about us at P a g e 10 w w w. A c c e l i r. c o m L i c e n s e d f o r D i s t r i b u t i o n t o Ta l e m e t r y ©2012 Accelir