It can be difficult to find the ideal candidate for a specific position — in fact, in 2021, 69% of companies have reported talent shortages and difficulty hiring – a 15-year high.
Regardless of the state of the economy and your talent pool, to succeed long-term, your business should be able to hire and retain the best, most talented employees.
But hiring can be a daunting task, which is why you need a talent acquisition strategy.
Talent acquisition is a long-term HR strategy aimed at fulfilling organizational needs by finding top talent and convincing them to bring their unique skills to your company.
To succeed long-term, it’s critical you attract and retain talented employees regardless of vacant roles. Talent acquisition can help you do this, while solving for long-term organizational needs.
Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment
Recruitment is used to fill a specific role with a qualified candidate, making it a short-term strategy. Talent acquisition disregards role vacancies, making it a long-term HR strategy that’s used to attract highly-qualified candidates.
Now that you understand what talent acquisition is and how it differs from recruitment, let’s dive into the most effective talent acquisition strategies.
Talent Acquisition Strategies
- Align with your business goals.
- Use data and marketing.
- Expand outreach strategies.
- Build your company identity.
- Emphasize the company’s corporate social responsibilities.
- Increase budget for the DE&I department.
- Offer updated work options.
- Design a competitive and comprehensive benefits plan.
- Promote internal diversity.
- Partner with local universities to build an applicant pool.
- Add other incentives.
Here are eleven critical talent acquisition strategies to ensure you’re finding the best people.
1. Align with your business goals.
Consider your business goals for the next one to five years, and use those objectives to tailor your acquisition strategy to meet those needs. While recruitment tends to focus on filling vacancies within departments, talent acquisition is more about considering how your company is going to expand long term and then finding employees who can help take you there.
For instance, are you planning on expanding into Latin America? If so, perhaps your HR department should focus on attracting candidates with international or regional experience. Or, maybe you’re planning on creating a new product, in which case, your HR efforts should focus on attracting talented software developers and coders.
Certain roles might not even exist yet, but you’ll want to consider what type of talent you’ll need to hit your business’s long-term goals. Remember, investing in the right candidates will pay off for your company, long-term.
2. Use data and marketing to create better acquisition material.
You wouldn’t create a marketing campaign without data, so why should you recruit without it?
Talent acquisition should be treated with just as much importance as any of your marketing campaigns. Convincing people to join your company is just as necessary as incentivizing people to buy your products.
There are plenty of different opportunities to use data to strengthen your talent acquisition strategy. For instance, you might use data to figure out where your top talent came from, and use that information to focus your talent acquisition efforts on certain academic programs or professional networking sites.
Additionally, your HR team should partner with your marketing department to refine job descriptions, career pages, emails, and more.
Using data, you can figure out if certain questions are deterring candidates from filling out job applications, and eliminate those questions. Alternatively, perhaps you’ll find adding images or videos to highlight company culture incentivizes more candidates to fill out job forms. Or, maybe more candidates apply for a job with description A over description B.
By using analytics and data, you’re able to ensure your job descriptions and career pages aren’t deterring qualified people from applying.
Bullhorn is designed to tackle some of the biggest tasks of talent acquisition: recruiting candidates, and sorting through the job pool. Their software was created to streamline applicant tracking systems and improve profitability for any size business.
3. Expand outreach strategies.
To find better talent, you’ll need to expand your sourcing strategies. Different skill sets require different methods of outreach. You’ll find your best marketers in a different place than your best programmers, so you’ll want to diversify your sourcing approach.
Rather than spending all your time on LinkedIn, consider other specialized job boards, academic programs, or networking events where you might find a specific group of talented professionals. For instance, SmartRecruiter is a CRM that is developed for recruiting candidates and coordinating calendars for potential new hires.
It’s critical you identify where you can find the vast majority of your top talent, whether that be professional events, conferences, online forums, or social networks. Then, focus on strengthening relationships and networking with the right people — not only will you grow your pool of potential hires, but you’ll also grow brand awareness for your company, which will help you attract talent in the future, as well.
4. Build your company brand.
Millions of millennials and older Generation Z candidates make up the current job force. This group of potential employees came of age with the internet and social media. In researching your business, these individuals look at social media accounts, websites, and job boards to understand your work culture.
When looking into your company, candidates will have questions. What is the workplace atmosphere? Do their employees look happy? Is there potential for growth? Leverage your current employees and capitalize on the instant broadcast capabilities of your website and social media. Post images and videos of your employees at work. Encourage employees to interact with your company on its platforms. Congratulate employees on internal promotions.
Note the focus on employees. A company that focuses on the well-being of its staff is a place where people will strive to work. Building your company identity to reflect a positive, expanding environment can be an effective tool in your talent acquisition strategy.
5. Emphasize the company’s corporate social responsibilities.
Companies have taken a step back from policies that only benefit them. Your company needs to focus on pursuing its goals while benefiting others. Your company’s corporate social responsibilities (CSR) are a considerable tool for attracting top candidates aligned with your organization’s values and beliefs.
Corporate social responsibilities lead to the betterment of your brand image, workplace culture, and general society. For example, while Ben & Jerry’s is known for its collection of ice cream flavors, the brand also stands out for its long-standing commitment to social responsibilities. Since 1985, Ben & Jerry’s has donated 7.5% of its pretax earnings to social causes like Greenpeace and Vietnam Veterans of America. Since then, the company has supported voting rights, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and more. With a menu item dedicated to its values on the landing page of its website, the ice cream company emphasizes the importance of its CSR.
On the career landing page for your company, your CSR should be immediately noticeable through images and videos throughout the page. If your company focuses on diversity and inclusivity, demonstrate that. If your company stands behind sustainability, illustrate that through your content. Employees rarely want to work for a company that contradicts their values and beliefs. Use your corporate social responsibilities to attract like-minded candidates who will be passionate about working for your business.
6. Increase budget for the DE&I department.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical for creating a successful talent acquisition strategy — in fact, Dan Schawbel a best-selling author and managing partner of a New York City-based HR research and advisory firm says “This year, 70 percent of job seekers said they want to work for a company that demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The face of the workforce has changed drastically in the last fifty years. In 2022, there are more women and minorities applying for jobs, and as stated by Schawbel, the majority of job seekers want to see this reflected in a company.
DE&I training is imperative and demonstrates that your company is willing to stay current and relevant with changing times. To see an ROI on your investment in training, prioritize retention. During the job application process, continue to eliminate biases in resume reviewing. Ways to remove biases include removing names and photos when sourcing candidates, making applications and resumes anonymous before review, and creating a diverse hiring team.
7. Offer updated work options.
The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the American work model. Talent acquisition specialists adapt their work models to conduct online onboarding versus meeting candidates face-to-face. As the workforce evolves with more technological advances, workers will strive for more work/life balance.
A professional at Goldman Sachs posted a question on the finance message board of Blind, an anonymous professional network. They asked, “Would you rather make $30k more switching to a new job that requires you to work in the office, or would you rather keep your current salary but WFH anywhere after covid?” The network found that 64% of professionals prefer to permanently work from home over a $30K compensation increase. Other professional groups who favored permanent work from home over a compensation increase include Airbnb (71%), Lyft (81%), Twitter (89%), and Zillow Group (100%).
Employees want to work from home. Remote work models lead to higher productivity. On average, workers are 13% more productive when working from home. As technology continues to advance, your company needs to adjust and consider incorporating remote or hybrid work models while also cutting costs in outdated recruitment techniques to funnel the money into talent acquisition software.
8. Design a competitive and comprehensive benefits plan.
When it comes to compensation packages, employees may be willing to accept a lower salary if balanced by comprehensive health benefits e.g. medical, vision, and dental. Employees want good health benefits, and that includes mental health.
Life inside the workplace is not all that matters in talent acquisition. Consider what happens in an employee’s life outside the business. Does your business model allow for a healthy work/life balance? Are your employees able to receive sufficient healthcare? What kind of retirement or investment opportunities do you offer? Potential candidates will ask these questions about your company. It is necessary to provide the answers with a comprehensive benefits plan.
9. Promote internal diversity.
Many industries are dominated by men leading to women feeling underrepresented within the company’s culture. While the number of women in the workforce has increased significantly over the last few decades, men still hold most positions of power. There is also a racial disparity in corporate America. When HR departments create internal coalitions to rally morale, it increases diversity and inclusion efforts from inside the workforce. To build a diverse and inclusive culture, your company needs to give a voice to people from a wide range of backgrounds.
Diversity should be a company-wide model; however, it begins at the top. Educate yourself on various cultural traditions and backgrounds. Create a workplace where different perspectives are valued and voiced. Employees tend to follow the example of their boss or manager, and setting this example can span internal diversity across your company.
10. Partner with local universities to build an applicant pool.
To build a pipeline of potential candidates, companies partner with educational institutions. It helps establish a relationship between students and future employers.
Take IBM, for example. The technology corporation has partnered with The University of Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and Florida State University to provide access to its systems for teaching and research. IBM has also planned joint-research collaborations with Duke University and Harvard University.
Instead of waiting for interested candidates to come across the company, IBM has started cultivating relationships with potential applicants. This strategy attracts candidates after graduation and boosts company retention.
11. Add other incentives.
Large to mid-size corporations use eye-catching bonuses and employee benefits to compete in a global market to attract top talent within the industry, but financial incentives aren’t the only things that matter.
When talented candidates are comparing companies, they’re going to consider values, culture, and work-life balance, too. By cultivating an impressive employer brand, you’ll attract better talent and find more long-term success.
To succeed with talent acquisition, consider how you can reframe your branding to focus on the best aspects of your company’s values and culture. You might mention your flexible remote policy and other work-life balance perks, or your company’s emphasis on growth opportunities.
It’s important to broadcast these unique attributes through employee review sites like Glassdoor, as well as your “About Us” page on your company website. When highly qualified people are contemplating your company over your competitors, it just might be those reviews that end up convincing them.
A Talent Acquisition Strategy to Find Top Talent
Your pursuit of top talent shouldn’t solely rely on traditional, short-term recruitment strategies like sending LinkedIn messages or attending job fairs. To ensure top talent acquisition and retention, you’ll need to devise a strategic long-term talent acquisition plan.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
5 Elements of Content That Will Build Brand Recall
Gone are the days of traditional sales and marketing strategies. In today’s media landscape, driving sales and engagement through content has proven to be a highly successful and cost-effective strategy
Hence, most modern businesses have a content marketing arm that achieves the following by simply creating and distributing content:
- Address customers’ paint points and gain their trust
- Improve product accessibility via SEO
- Increase opportunities for conversion
- Generate leads
- Build brand awareness and recall
Unfortunately, competition to reach the right audience has increasingly intensified. And that’s just the beginning of it.
The end goal is to consistently make sales, attain a loyal customer base, and build brand recall. So, how exactly do you achieve that? What kind of content will eventually enable your audience to easily recognize your products and services?
We uncover the five major elements of content that will build brand recall.
Before gunning for brand recall, ensure that your audience can easily find information about your products and services. It’s virtually impossible to be recognized if you aren’t even visible or searchable.
Thus, this is where strategies such as onsite/offsite search engine optimization (SEO), simplifying user experience, improving scalability, expanding channels, and developing customer feedback platforms come into play.
That said, SEO strategies are usually the content marketers’ main focus. Investing in content SEO not only improves your brand’s visibility, but it also drives more conversions to your website. You do so by identifying your customers’ top search terms, optimizing your website’s content, and addressing high volume search queries.
You must identify and understand your target audience before creating any piece of content – whether onsite or offsite. This is when it’s time to utilize data you have on your customers, which can be accessible via tools such as Google Analytics or AHREFs. These tools should give you insights on common search queries, keywords, website traffic, conversion, engagement, and such.
Customer feedback and surveys are also essential in understanding what your customers need. Your content should be able to address their pain points while providing them with information and services on what they’re looking for.
Once your audience find themselves relating to your content, it won’t be long until they purchase your product.
Reaching your audience is one thing, but customer engagement is a whole different beast. It’s easy to lose your customers’ attention in a crowded and noisy online economy.
As mentioned, understanding your customers’ needs and pain points is vital to your content strategy. Your content must be something they find useful enough for them to engage with. In short, there must be something in it for them.
There are many ways to skin this cat. You could engage your audience via content onsite with a great customer experience channel before and after they purchase. Another opportunity for engagement is developing social media content that encourages them to participate in your marketing campaign.
In conclusion, your content must be customer-centric before anything else.
#4: Value & Relevance
So, you’ve identified your target audience and learned to understand them, but how exactly do you convince them to choose your product over others? How do you stand out amongst your competitors?
It’s equally important to understand your own products and services. You must identify your main value proposition, and how this is relevant to your customers. Having a stellar product is a waste if your target market doesn’t know its full value.
Thus, content marketers should communicate a product’s relevance and unique selling point. It’s their job to inform the target audience on how they can benefit from the product.
There’s no bigger obstacle to brand recall than inconsistency. This applies to all types of content – articles, infographics, video ads, images, and social media posts.
For customers to remember you, your message, design, and overall branding should always be uniform and consistent. A disconnect between these elements is confusing and thus makes it difficult for your audience to recognize your brand.
Therefore, a marketing team must streamline uniform messages, value propositions, templates, and editorial and design guidelines before reaching out to the desired audience. In the world of marketing, familiarity breeds brand recall.
5 Elements of Content That Will Build Brand Recall
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