By nature, talent acquisition is a strategic function. Unlike individual hiring reqs, a talent acquisition strategy encompasses a host of long-term projects - employer branding, candidate persona profiling, measurement/optimization and more - with the potential to significantly influence hiring outcomes. And in the realm of tech recruiting, a well-crafted strategy is even more critical to success. Small talent pools and cutthroat competition for available candidates can lead to chaos for organizations not equipped to deal with the realities of technical recruiting, but we’re here to help. Read on for four core elements of any tech-focused talent acquisition strategy.
1 - A seat at the planning table
Given the potential for talent acquisition to so drastically influence organizational success, it stands to reason HR would have a seat at the table whenever conversations regarding the future of the business are taking place. But if research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit is any indication, this isn’t always the case. When asked whether they consider the head of HR to be a key player in strategic planning, only 55% of CEOs responded in the affirmative. When asked whether they want the head of HR to be a key player, however, that number leapt to 70%. Forging relationships with the c-suite and earning your place at the table is one of the most difficult tasks you’ll face when developing a talent acquisition strategy, but it may be the single most important thing you do. Fortunately, leadership is on board.
2 - Alignment with long-term organizational needs
Every company has a long-term plan. Whether it will have the talent to make that plan a reality is another matter. It’s critical that HR and senior leadership are in alignment as to what the organization’s long-term talent acquisition needs will be, and this starts by asking the right questions. What objectives will we pursue over the next 12-36 months? What new products and services are in the pipeline? What talent gaps exist that could prevent us from meeting our obligations? This sort of strategic thinking is necessary to ensure a technical talent acquisition strategy is proactively addressing long-term needs rather than responding to last-minute fire drills.
3 - A realistic hiring schedule
In the war for technical talent, no distinction is made between early-stage startups and established tech titans. Whether they’re looking to make one hire or 100, all organizations must confront a basic truth: tech candidates are in short supply. Perhaps more important than anything else, earning a seat at the planning table will arm HR with a look at the organization’s long-term talent requirements and allow it to implement a hiring calendar that addresses these needs.
With national mean job vacancy duration sitting at a near-historic 29.2 days, time-to-hire performance is something every company should be paying attention to. But like strategic alignment, this issue is more prevalent in the realm of technical recruiting. Highly-skilled candidates like software engineers and senior marketers and sales managers will likely require multiple interviews and, in some cases, lengthy skill testing. And if your organization is pursuing these candidates, it’s almost a guarantee that others are as well, which could add even more time to the process. A long-term hiring calendar will allow you to plan and implement tactical recruiting efforts in a timely and organized manner, ensuring you have the right talent in place at the right time.
4 - A competitive overview
So your HR team is now an active participant in the strategic planning process and has developed a hiring calendar that will ensure the organization has the talent it needs to meet its objectives. All set, right?
As they say, no plan survives first contact with the enemy, and your talent acquisition strategy will be no different. In the case of your recruiting efforts, the enemy will be competing companies pursuing similar talent, and it will be critical that you understand what you’re up against.
This goes beyond an understanding of how many organizations have listings for similar positions. It requires an in-depth review of your salary offer, benefits package, opportunities for continued education, perks and culture, and how they stack up against the offerings of rival firms potential candidates may also be considering.
You can’t create a competitive offer without understanding how your organization stacks up. Fortunately, this information is readily available to the industrious recruiter. Salary guides and online review sites offer a look at compensation across a variety of industries and locations, job listings provide insight into benefits and corporate perks and employer branding resources can help you understand the culture of potential competitors. It’s just a matter of getting out there and finding the information.
Tying it all together
These tasks are by no means small undertakings. They’ll require a tremendous amount of hard work and persistence, but when complete your technical talent acquisition strategy will be on a firm foundation and equipped to meet organizational needs, now and into the future.