In the race to win the war on talent, the best move may be to first stop, gather insights, and reflect…

targetToday’s competitive market is fierce to acquire, hire, and retain the unique, best talent for your firm with talent that ultimately creates critical market differentiation.  However, when have you last taken the time to define what “best talent” really means for your team?  Too frequently, organizations move to acquire and hire without first thoroughly identifying and/or validating the intangibles of a great hire.

  • In the quest to hire for speed, hiring for solid effectiveness may be overlooked or under-valued. Have you looked in the mirror with a discerning eye and willingness to embrace change… or are you operating in status quo?
  • Recruiters of most talent acquisition teams have more roles to deliver on than they can handle. Typically, outbound recruiting is left to posting on job sites and streamlining the application process so that candidates can easily apply.  It’s a quantitative process at best if working well, and in most cases it’s ineffective and a weak or poor experience for all involved while it could be highly effective if performed with a different mindset, strategy, and process.
  • In an effort to move quickly, more and more organizations are not taking the time to ensure they have created a qualitative process to hire well. The lack of bandwidth in understaffed and overburdened recruiting teams is frequently creating a reliance on job postings to create applicant inflow.  With this process, are you finding the best candidates for your company, or the most readily available?
  • When churn is occurring within certain departments or roles, it’s time to hold up a mirror. Hiring well may be more expensive in churn.  However, costs of hiring poorly extends far beyond total compensation, benefits, and any fees incurred with cost factors… including diminished employee morale, retention, customer relationships, and innovation.
  • Organizations talk about “cutting edge” approaches to recruiting talent perhaps including a robust marketing campaign, streamlined selection process, and/or brand refinement to attract candidates. However, once you have attracted a potential candidate, how prepared are you for the hiring and onboarding process?

Essential Talent Acquisition Data Gathering

The first step in an effective process, especially vital in voluntary resignation situations, is to identify why you truly have a vacancy.  In addition to an exit interview, organizations must take this opportunity to look hard at the performance of the vacating employee, the team dynamics, and the strategic alignment of that role to the business plan.  Do we have the ability to investigate these issues and are we willing to be honest about and do something meaningful to resolve what we find?

Questions needing to be asked may likely include, but not be limited to:

  • The Basic: What did the exiting employee do well? What were aspects of their performance that needed improvement?
  • The Job Description: Is it a true reflection of what is needed to move the company forward? So that every employee sees their role tied to organization performance, to what degree is the strategy clearly aligned to the role description as well as broadly communicated?  Are performance expectations for this role clearly defined and measurable?
  • Alignments: Does the role align to our strategic plan? Is our leadership aligned to the strategy and culture needed?  And, to what degree do tangential departments/functions effectively align and integrate with this one?
  • Operational Efficiency & Effectiveness: As an organization, are we streamlined and effective or are we on autopilot? What is really going on within that department and the organization as a whole?  What are your employees experiencing day to day?  What are your customers experiencing?
  • Market Competitiveness & Brand: Why your company?  Who are you? What sets you apart from other employers for this talent?
  • Do we need assessment and/or guidance from an objective, third party?

Every organization leader and hiring manager needs to ask what qualitative steps have been taken to ensure they make better hires while retaining, continually developing, clearing obstacles to performance, and connecting current, relevant interdepartmental staff.  The ability of an organization to be vulnerable and take a hard look at what actually exists, versus what is truly needed, is the key to successful hiring and building a dynamic and engaging culture.  To be more successful, how diligent and honest are you willing to be?

By: Chris Rose, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant