The Recruiting Fuel That Powers Your Talent Acquisition Engine

You’ve seen many columns on ERE devoted to increasing the level of engagement of the players in the recruiting process to ensure an enriching experience and successful outcome for everyone involved. Many such articles are focused on the hiring manager and candidate experiences, such as providing strategies, tactics, and tips for recruiters to drive to the ultimate success.

Yes, hiring managers, candidates, and recruiters are essential parts of the recruiting engine that powers talent acquisition, but I use my space on ERE today to spotlight a group of partners (probably not top of mind for most) who can and do play just as critical a role in a well-oiled recruiting machine.

Even though we many not spend much time talking about them, it’s important to ensure you are just as engaged with them on a regular basis as you are with your hiring teams. They are your friends in the Law, Relocation, Security, Medical, and Affirmative Action/EEO departments.

Here are some highlights that may help make clear the correlation between what these partners do and a successful and compliant recruiting process that ensures fairness, equity, and the elements of attraction.

Law Department

Often, when HR people think of the law department, it invokes recollections of conversations that outline what we in HR and recruiting can and can’t do. Always attuned to the ever-present risk of litigation from candidates who may not graciously accept the outcome of a hiring decision, the law department may be seen by some as the “No!” people (think David Spade in the Capital One commercials) more than a partner who looks for ways to help us be creative. I’ve worked with both the “police” type and the “partner” type, as I’m sure many of you have.

A partner-type team of law professionals and attorneys who understand the complexities of a recruiting business can help you navigate candidate and hiring-manager challenges. Need to rescind an offer? Need objective advice on what to make of a poor reference check and how much to factor it into the decision to make an offer? Thinking about implementing a targeted sourcing strategy that may inadvertently exclude certain populations? Talk to your employment counsel. He/she can help make sure you take the right path that balances the need for fairness, equity, and legal compliance with the subjective and “creative” aspects of the recruiting process.

Although you might think many conversations between recruiters and attorneys are focused on how to mitigate or reduce legal risks in select hiring decisions, you can also proactively focus on providing an engaging and legally sound recruiting experience for all.

Something as deceptively simple as the development of an employment application comes to mind. Last year, I worked closely with my employment attorney to re-vamp and streamline our employment application. Our goal was to provide a compliant, consistent, and simple-to-complete online application that could be used by our many operating companies across the United States.

This was no easy feat in that all of the Johnson & Johnson operating companies are individual legal entities and operate in multiple states governed by a multitude of sometimes-conflicting regulations from state to state.

With the sound counsel of Donna and her team of legal professionals, we were able to come up with an employment application that was compliant with all U.S. state and federal regulations and therefore could be used by all Johnson & Johnson business units in the United States (yes, even in California!).

The result: a consistent application that ensures we capture the right information in the right way consistently for all candidates, making it much easier for our recruiting teams to use and assess the information provided.

Relocation Department

Often, the recruiting process involves relocation, which as we all know, sometimes turns out to be a deal-breaker. How do we ensure that the relocation policies and procedures of the company balance our need to be competitive, while maximizing financial resources needed to sustain the relocation program? This is where your relocation partners come in.

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Develop a strong working partnership with relocation and you may even find yourself invited to provide input and feedback on what relocation policies should entail to be competitive. Regularly share candidate feedback on the relocation packages and policies with your relocation team; they will value your input on ways to make the processes easier and quicker without compromising the quality of service relocating candidates receive.

Security Department

I remember when I first met the head of corporate security. Having heard he was an FBI alumnus with an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal justice, my initial approach to our relationship was to lay low and stay off his radar. After working with him just a short time, any fears I had about him being a hard-nosed law-enforcement type like Sam Gerard of The Fugitive were quickly put to rest.

Security can help you in many ways, from determining whether a conviction discovered in a candidate background check is serious enough to rescind an offer, to helping ensure you are asking the right kind of questions on an employment application, to how you approach credit checks for select positions. Develop that strong partnership, which will be instrumental in helping you make the right call when you get those “you’re-not-going-to-believe-this-one!” type of candidate situations.

Medical Department

Fortunately, the recruiting process is not a life-or-death matter that requires urgent medical attention (although some hiring managers would have you believe it). Nonetheless, the medical department plays a key role in the recruiting process, from helping interpret responses to interview questions focused on one’s ability to perform the essential functions of a position to individual candidate situations that may require a more comprehensive assessment prior to making a hire.

Ideally, your medical department is actively engaged in the hiring process, from conducting a pre-placement health screening with every candidate to assessing special needs of both candidates and departments with respect to health situations.

Rely on the expertise of these experienced medical professionals to provide the appropriate guidance when the worlds of hiring and medicine become intertwined through candidates.

Affirmative Action/EEO Department

Any recruiting organization would not be complete without a line of sight to diversity and affirmative action. I’m sure your affirmative action team plays a key role in ensuring you are driving a consistent, fair, and equitable hiring process that meets all OFCCP requirements while keeping a broad line of sight to an inclusive recruitment effort. Last year, we worked closely with the AA/EEO team to refine our internal procedures so we could ensure we were well-positioned to meet the new definition of an applicant.

Other examples of working closely with this team involve using candidate availability data by region and position classification types as you seek to cast a wide net in your quest to hire the best and most diverse talent. The AA/EEO team surely has a role to play in helping you meet these objectives.

I’m sure you can think of many other partners who enable you to deliver a recruiting experience that allows you to attract the best and the brightest to your organization.

Think of it this way: the recruiting engine that powers talent acquisition requires a lot of high-performance fuel, like recruiters, hiring managers, candidates, and the partners noted above. Make sure you know not only what powers your recruiting engine, but how to get the most out of it with what you’ve got.

Lisa Calicchio, SPHR, is Director of Recruiting -- Pharmaceuticals Team, for Johnson & Johnson Recruiting, the internal talent acquisition organization of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. In this role, Lisa manages the development and delivery of talent acquisition strategies and execution for Johnson & Johnson?s U.S. pharmaceuticals and biotechnology operating companies. In addition to managing this segment of the business and a significant client base, Lisa focuses on enhancing JJR's consulting capabilities through specialty teams for business analytics, training, and recruitment marketing. Her background includes extensive experience as an HR generalist and recruiting, though she started her professional career "on the line" and held several line positions across key functional areas before moving from sales and marketing into HR.

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