Fall 2014 ERE Conference Think Tank Session Recap
Good conferences always offer great opportunities to stay on top of challenges, best practices, and future trends. The best conferences also offer new take-away ideas to implement within our own organizations. The recent ERE conference held in Chicago in late September delivered the goods on both fronts. As the moderator of an almost-two-hour-long Think Tank session on “Challenges and Future Trends in Talent Acquisition,” I was blown away (the conference was held in the Windy City, after all!) by the sheer number of issues — and solutions — that were discussed.
This post is too limited to include all of the great ideas that this group of very experienced HR and talent acquisition professionals discussed. So we picked the best of the best for the following list of “Top 10 Overall Best Practices” currently being applied to address the No. 1 challenge determined by the session participants: “finding and engaging qualified candidates.”
Again — a big thanks to all the in-house recruiting & HR professionals in attendance at this session who focused specifically on the key challenges and opportunities that will present themselves in 2014 and going into 2015.
Overall Top 10 Best Recruitment Practices (in no particular order)
- Focus on passive candidate identification and relationship building — before you need to hire them! This proactive effort, through LinkedIn, Indeed, niche sites, and cold calling (in combination with other active candidate sourcing tactics) is a must for organizations seeking to build a ready pipeline of candidates for now and into the future.
- Tap into, and use, the hiring manager social network more proactively. This means engaging hiring managers to promote jobs and the company as an employer of choice by using their personal social media channels and tools to influence their networks. There were a number of social aggregator tools discussed, like Sendible.com and Wisestep.com, that can automate, simplify, and facilitate this outreach effort.
- Bring sales strategy into recruiting. Apply a structured discipline to recruiting by emulating professional sales functions. By identifying targets, collecting information on contacts, prospects, and “closes,” this practice allows recruiting leaders to see who is getting results and benchmark the activities of others to improve their results. The goal is to infuse the recruitment function with a sales mentality, which involves: (1) adopting and following a standard sales process; (2) supporting the effort with a regular advertising and branding campaigns; and (3) tracking activity and results using database tools, metrics, and reporting.
- Add a dedicated sourcer and research person to the team. Recruitment leaders are recognizing that the skills and tools required of the role are becoming more and more specialized and time intensive. The biggest mistake made is to view the sourcer role as an entry level role with a career path into HR or recruiting. Done right, successful organizations staff their sourcing roles (and compensate them accordingly) with experienced, sourcing/research experts who are career recruiting professionals.
- Have marketing assist in rewriting job descriptions to better sell the opportunity. This practice is a response to both a tightening job market as well as recognition of the need to better “sell” opportunities. HR and talent acquisition functions are tapping into in-house skills offered by their corporate marketing groups to accomplish this as well as to better align with corporate branding initiatives and messaging. A side benefit of this partnership is the ability to use much larger marketing and PR budgets and more comprehensive social strategies to promote employment opportunities or build employment brand awareness among a target talent pool.
- Ask hiring managers do participate in online virtual events to attract and engage passive talent. By having the line management team become more active in recruitment events such as webinars and/or other media such as Google Hangouts, recruiters are better able to engage passive candidates who may be eager to be a part of the cool work being done in that manager’s department.
- Track and analyze data to provide talent insights to the business. While HR and recruitment functions have long tracked many types of metrics, the availability of external data (such as supply/demand maps of specialized labor pools in a particular geography) makes it easier and more cost-effective to educate the business on hiring feasibility thereby enabling hiring managers to open up job specs or consider other source options. Tools like WantedAnalytics.com and CareerBuilder’s Talent Supply Demand Tools are providing insightful value in this space.
- Set up specialized recruitment teams. Many are now dividing their recruitment team into groups of functional experts, technology recruiters, college-hiring recruiters, and executive recruiters. This is a strategy applied mainly by larger companies seeking to reduce reliance on third party vendor fees for more senior level or specialized/technical hires. College recruiting for organizations with an aging workforce is becoming more important and is supported more than in the past by the “C” suite.
- Use social engagement tools to engage more with target candidates. Social networking tools for recruitment use are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and many organizations are now learning how to use these tools with incredible precision to engage the best candidates using content other than just pushing jobs out to the social network. Tools like QueSocial and TalentREEF are emerging to fill this market opportunity.
- Have good market intelligence to change hiring manager behavior. A corollary to No. 7 above, more HR/recruitment functions are harnessing market intelligence, including salary surveys, employer rating sites (like Glassdoor and Vault) and others to better target and recruit talent by positioning their own employee value proposition in the market to appeal to what the target talent pool is looking for in an employer.