Talent Acquisition

Endemic talent shortages, challenging economic conditions, the rapid growth of web-based recruiting and opportunities in social media are combining to bring about significant change in the way organisations go about recruiting. From adopting techniques used by sales and marketing teams to assessing the business case for investment in web and other technologies, HR managers face a wide range of issues as they look to build an effective talent acquisition strategy.

This Briefing Paper assesses the challenges organisations face, arguing that:

  • Whether they're filling new positions to support an expansion drive or plugging vacancies in their existing workforce, most organisations will find themselves competing to acquire high-performers in 2010. Success will depend on a combination of HR philosophy, how effectively they embrace the web, and how far they can drive through operational efficiencies, particularly in cutting costs and streamlining internal recruitment processes
  • While the balance of power may shift towards recruiters in times of high unemployment, talented individuals typically still have a choice of employer, and the onus falls on HR to promote its value proposition to candidates as much as on candidates selling their skills and experience. HR managers are encouraged to seek advice from their colleagues in sales and marketing about techniques they can use to extend their reach, promote their brand and proposition, and close deals
  • The shift to web-based recruitment - classified by Webster Buchanan as either informational or transactional - is irreversible, and organisations will fall behind in the race for talent if they fail to embrace it both for marketing purposes and to improve efficiencies (for example, by eliminating paper job applications)
  • The ability to beat competitors to hire high-performing candidates will depend in part on internal efficiencies. As restrictions on IT spend are tentatively eased, organisations should weigh up the business case for automating their internal recruitment processes, either by extending their existing HR management system, using third party software, or outsourcing. Software as a Service, an IT outsourcing model, is particularly suitable for standalone business processes such as recruitment
  • Even if talent acquisition is automated as a single HR discipline, the greatest benefits come when it's addressed in the context of a broader human capital strategy, particularly in relation to performance management, employee development, succession planning and contractor management

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