A coherent Talent Acquisition strategy is more important now than ever before as Talent functions are faced with rapidly evolving circumstances.
Your talent acquisition strategy can help individual recruiters as well as the function as a whole so keep a north star in mind and help them prioritize their work and think creatively about new and innovative tactics to meet company objectives.
We previously discussed a number of strategies for 2023 including focusing on data-driven recruitment, refining your employer brand, having clarity about working policies, and embedding diversity as a priority . These are still relevant but it is worth delving deeper to consider how they can be applied by companies in the different circumstances they’re facing this year.
In the current market, there are largely three types of approaches when it comes to recruitment and talent acquisition stances:
- Active hiring
- Incremental / Managed hiring
- Hiring freeze / Layoffs
The circumstances of your business will determine how you pursue different talent acquisition strategies and what are the best tactics for the recruitment function in the short term.
1. Active Hiring
While a lot of companies are pulling back from hiring as a result of having to cut costs, there are many who are still actively recruiting and looking to aggressively grow. For these companies, their strategy overall is focused on finding and hiring the best talent, but how they best achieve this and leverage the strategies we mentioned in our previous article is worth noting.
For scaling companies, they should be focusing their use of data on targeting best-fit candidates and optimising their hiring processes to recruit these candidates more effectively. Companies can look to data to understand new opportunities in this market and uncover candidates who may now be increasingly available given layoffs and other market events. Equally, these scaling companies should be looking at their funnel and interview metrics to understand how they can optimise for candidate experience and speed. They have an advantage in this market but candidates will be looking for professionalism and clarity in interviews so recruiters should look at the data to prevent strong candidates from slipping through the cracks.
- Employer branding:
As a growing company in a challenging market there is a huge opportunity to pull candidates towards you. Talent functions should focus on the ambitions of the company and why they are in a position to grow as well as highlighting how individuals can grow with the company. The fact that your company is hiring should be celebrated and investments should be made in order to attract new talent hitting the market.
- Work policy clarity:
While the market may be leaning in companies’ favor it will still be important for these companies to have clear policies around their work structures. Candidates are largely still aiming for hybrid work policies, strong benefits and increased flexibility. Alongside this, candidates are increasingly discerning about the makeup of their compensation with a growing preference for less stock focus in compensation packages. Recruitment functions should work with colleagues in HR, comp and benefits and beyond to align on work structures and consider whether any changes are needed to remain attractive to candidates.
To meet hiring goals, growing companies should look to expand their talent pools and target for diversity as part of their recruitment process and in those that they hire. This can be assisted by looking at the data around the market and their own internal hiring practices. Recruiters can leverage new tooling focused on driving diversity and consider uncovering additional talent sources.
2. Incremental growth/ Managed hiring
Many companies have pulled back on hiring and headcount plans for 2023. They may still be looking to grow in key functions or locations but this growth is incremental rather than aggressive. In addition, they are likely managing attrition and looking to backfill the majority of roles when employees leave. The strategy for these companies should be twofold – targeted at delivering on those necessary hires and building the infrastructure and processes for when more active hiring returns.
For companies in an incremental mode, it’s an opportunity to build a data-driven recruiting function while reacting to the company’s immediate hiring needs. They can look to data to understand attrition risk and create succession plans and recruiting strategies for the targeted roles they are tasked to fill. Overall, they can leverage data to understand their company’s hiring patterns, gain insights into talent markets and start having their finger on the pulse so they can report internally.
- Employer branding:
Employer branding and messaging will be key for these companies in managing attrition and maintaining the ability to attract candidates. Recruitment functions should spend time considering what they can offer current employees and prospects and what is their selling point when not growing. This may be based on having solid foundations, a chance to make a large impact in a highly strategic role, or helping candidates understand the opportunities and exciting challenges that will continue to exist in spite of the company not growing.
- Work policy clarity:
It will be important for recruitment functions in these companies to work with internal stakeholders and manage the working structures to stay aligned with candidate and employee expectations. The big risk for these companies is in losing talent and not filling the key roles they are targeting. Having a competitive work setup when it comes to compensation, flexibility, benefits and culture will be key to this and will demonstrate that the company is invested in people even while not hiring aggressively.
For companies with incremental hiring goals, there is an opportunity to be very targeted in their hiring. They can look to fill roles with candidates from under-represented groups. Alongside this, recruitment teams can use their time to develop better structures around diversity and inclusion internally. Time can be spent considering how to improve their representation and the tools and tactics that they could pursue.
3. Hiring freeze/ Layoffs
Finally, a number of companies have frozen hiring completely with others conducting layoffs in addition to this. Some of these companies will be looking to backfill attrition while others will let a number of roles go unfilled as part of downsizing plans. For talent teams in these companies, there will be a lull in active recruiting work and so they can focus their efforts on optimizing their systems and processes and planning for when hiring returns.
While there may not be an opportunity to apply data to active hiring, now is the time for recruiters in these companies to plan for the future. There is an opportunity to develop deep expertise in your hiring areas, your company’s profile of hiring for different roles, and the markets in which you hire. The aim should be to create a data environment that sets you up for future success in hiring and allows you to be an advisor on the talent markets while there’s a hiring freeze.
- Employer branding:
With capacity, talent teams can leverage this time to review and develop their employer branding and content. It will be necessary to assess the impact of any poor company financial performance, hiring slowdowns and layoffs. Recruitment functions can investigate new innovations and channels to deliver their messaging when hiring returns and develop content for candidates through the recruitment journey. This will be a very important area for recruitment functions to consider and a balance will need to be struck that reflects the company’s reality while still showing the positive aspects.
- Work policy clarity:
This is an opportunity to gain alignment on work policies and have prepared responses for any objection handling. Equally, recruiters can look to review candidate sentiment on different work policies and structures. This can be achieved through first-hand research of company employees and the overall market or through analysis of various secondary sources. While these companies are likely looking to cut costs and as such, are unlikely to invest massively in new perks and benefits, there may be smaller changes that could be made to maintain competitiveness and look to retain their current employees.
With the additional time, recruitment teams can assess their company’s diversity and craft new strategies and tactics to improve it should that be required. There may be an opportunity for companies to become leaders in this space by conducting a top to bottom review and implementing significant change. This could become a competitive advantage and route back to hiring when recruitment returns as a leader in hiring from less represented communities.
The business reality and circumstance are different from company to company and this will have a massive impact on the strategies and tactics recruitment teams can and should pursue.
No matter the circumstances, there are always opportunities to improve and look at how the recruitment function can implement and improve upon your use of data, the strength of your employer brand, the clarity of your work policies and structures, and your commitment to diversity.