New Practices for Effective Talent Acquisition

by Laura Ingram, AAIM Employers’ Association

Are you taking new steps to attract talent? Based on AAIM’s experience with hundreds of member companies, employers are changing their recruiting and workplace practices to attract talent in this extremely tight job market. Employee expectations to be treated as consumers, along with social media transparency, are driving employers to evolve workplace practices to attract the right people. Great organizations are showcasing their strength through social media, while making it easy for applicants to engage—a recipe for success.

One example comes from SSM Health, an “Engaged Employer” on Glassdoor, the recruiting website. SSM Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system of 35,000 employees and one of the nation’s largest integrated healthcare delivery systems. SSM is using live chat to connect with candidates, in real time, from the comfort of wherever they are. Candidates can casually chat with the hiring team online from any device. SSM is also authentically sharing who they are and serving as a resource to job seekers through their “Talent Talk with SSM” video series, helping people quickly see the value they offer.

Another example is from GL group, another high-ranking Glassdoor employer, which provides the largest and best selection of hardcover books for the library and school markets. After data showed that social media was driving candidates to their openings, they created a plan to generate excitement via social media. They started video job postings which show the hiring manager talking about the position and the work area. They have discovered that trying unique ways to attract talent gets their business noticed and helps find passive candidates.

AAIM’s executive search expert, Randy Sims, doesn’t see things easing up in the talent war. He offers these recommendations for being quick and responsive to secure the best talent:

  • Obtain commitment from hiring managers up front by securing dates to be held for interviews, and have a weekly call with each candidate.
  • Be in discussion with candidates regarding any other potential opportunities (external and with their company) and have a detailed understanding of timelines.
  • Be willing to make changes. One client recently changed its non-compete clause to get offer acceptance.
  • Expect to see the same things as in a strong housing market: more negotiation, higher offers, counter-offers, etc. Time kills deals. Be prepared to make decisions quickly to get top talent by ensuring team commitment to the process.
  • Put more emphasis on establishing candidate relationships early on. Be 100-percent transparent regarding the role, and share each step of the interview process up front to develop trust and commitment.

AAIM’s professional search expert, Jessica Gibbens, is also seeing companies do more in proactive recruiting. A few trends she’s recently noticed include leveraging the current workforce by:

  • Grooming employees to act as brand ambassadors and share their positive work experience with their network;
  • Creating a strong employee referral program that nets quality and quantity referrals; and
  • Encouraging hiring managers to take an active role by utilizing their current network and keeping an eye out for possible candidates.

Jessica has also seen employers solving skilled-trades gaps by:

  • Developing cross-training programs designed to fill skill gaps and provide growth opportunities;
  • Creating skills training or internship programs at the high school level to net graduate hires;
  • Strategically partnering with individual college/university departments and professors to gain direct access to their students.

Effective talent acquisition has become more about what is happening inside your organization than what is happening outside of it. Are you working as hard on your employment value proposition as you are on recruiting efforts? Are you telling your story? While taking a proactive approach requires more time and resources on the front end, this investment ensures that you remain competitive when candidate demand is high to win and retain top talent. iBi

Laura Ingram, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is Vice President, HR Services, at AAIM Employers’ Association.