Left behind: core talent acquisition skills lost in pursuit of innovation

Written by
Changeboard Team

16 Dec 2015

16 Dec 2015 • by Changeboard Team

Getting ahead of ourselves = leaving ourselves behind

In the rush to achieve relevancy in the eyes of our peers, many HR leaders have purchased tools and technologies to improve efficiencies. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. Better technology is fantastic – but it is only as good as the person behind the keyboard. Somewhere along this drive toward innovation, we’ve stopped pushing for the basic recruitment skills necessary to discern, and win over, the right candidates.

Without these skills, talent acquisition becomes a mindless task of selecting from a list of the “best candidates” generated by a program that cannot effectively determine context, personality or culture fit. Whether or not your department is facing this exact scenario, the fact remains that our core recruitment skills have fallen behind as we strive to get ahead. No wonder business unit leaders are unhappy with the quality of their new hires.

This is not mere conjecture. Cielo recently conducted a survey of nearly 700 business unit leaders, HR/talent acquisition leaders and C-level executives from organisations around the globe, and the vast majority pointed to a major skills gap in core recruitment skills: “Quality of Hire” was seen as their top priority, which talent acquisition is failing to deliver on.

Technology dependence is not the path forward HR is looking for. It will not keep the naysayers at bay because it is not providing the value our businesses want.

So here’s how we fix our situation.

Returning to our roots in order to move forward

You may think next section does not apply to your group – many HR and talent acquisition leaders have this same perception.

They feel they have mastered these skills long ago and must reach beyond them. This is understandable, but ultimately untrue. I am certain you would already be working to address these issues if you were aware that core skills were your trouble areas. But because these are considered “the basics,” problems here tend to hide in our blind spots.

From Cielo’s years of helping clients achieve strategic talent advantages, and from our recent Talent Acquisition 360 research, we have learned that many key internal stakeholders are dissatisfied with talent acquisition’s ability to deliver on its core attributes. Our blind spots are impacting our ability to provide real business results.

We must return to our roots to build a foundation that does not sway when we move toward strategic innovation. The good news is, once you have identified your trouble areas, it is not too difficult to address them. Here are five core elements of talent acquisition that must be mastered before we get onboard the “innovation equals progress” train too soon and leave our roots behind.

5 core skills that talent acquisition has left behind

1. Building relationships

Relationships are the foundation upon which organisations are built. So it should come as no surprise that developing strong relationships with candidates and hiring managers should be one of talent acquisition’s top priorities. These are your two primary customers, after all.

An important part of this relationship is ensuring that candidates are happy – whether they are offered the job or not. This protects and enhances your organisation’s image. You should also be delivering a seamless experience for hiring managers so they have peace of mind that their hiring needs will be taken care of. Build a thorough understanding of the roles they are hiring for, the skills they expect and their role in the process.

These may seem like intangibles, but they produce measurable results. Take stock of your hiring manager’s happiness with your talent function now, and then measure again once you have taken steps to improve your working relationship

2. Discerning character and integrity

Recruiting acumen, or the ability of your people to determine the quality of a candidate, is another key trait that cannot be reduced to checkboxes in a software program. A candidate’s school, GPA and job history provide important data points, but reveal nothing about their personality or integrity. This is where human judgement plays a key role.


3. Perceiving cultural fit

Like discerning character, the ability to perceive whether or not a candidate will mesh with the company’s culture is another aspect of talent acquisition that demands a human touch. Familiarity with the hiring organisation, its industry and its unique personality are key to finding the right people to fill roles. The benefits to the organisation are employees who are more engaged and inclined to stay with the company longer.


4. Communicating your employee value proposition

You can have websites and brochures dedicated to promoting your EVP (and you should!), but talent acquisition is in a key position to really hit that message home. After all, your recruiters are the voice of the company at this stage in the hiring process. Their ability to effectively communicate the deal between employee and employer is invaluable, as it often influences the candidate’s decision.


5. Engaging candidates

Benefits, wages and healthcare plans are all key elements of recruitment. But you can have competitive offerings for each of these and still fail to convince top talent to join your company. In a world filled with noise, it takes honest, credible voices to convince people of the truth in your offerings. Do not underestimate the importance of your recruiters’ relationship with candidates.

Evaluate your group’s skills in these areas, and make sure to get outside of the HR bubble for feedback. Check in with your business unit leaders and get their honest opinions of what you are doing well, and what you could do better. Simply building your relationship with them can go a long way toward delivering better results.

Written by Seb O’Connell, managing director, Europe & APAC, Cieo Talent


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