Steps to Creating a Balance Talent Acquisition Strategy (Part 2)

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series on how to build a balanced talent acquisition strategy, in my eyes there are two types of recruiting: proactive and reactive. 

Reaction recruiting is a lot like being that hamster you see running in the hamster wheel. He or she is always busy. Always running and always recruiting. While I’m in favor of the mantra always be recruiting or always be hiring, I am really in favor of “always be hiring strategically” which is where proactive recruiting really shines.

Proactive Recruiting is Like An Iceberg

I’m in favor of quality work that lends to a quality performance in the long term. Proactive recruiting is just like an iceberg. We only see 20%. The other 80% is hiding and is invisible. That other 80% happens before you actually have a position to place your candidate in. It’s something hiring managers and business leaders take for granted, but those in talent acquisition know of that 80% I’m speaking of because it’s time we clued in our leaders the other work we do months before the hiring actually takes place.

Proactive recruiting involves planning, strategy and using hiring metrics and uncovering hiring patterns to help you anticipate hiring needs before the hiring manager or regional VP of your division even realizes they might need to be adding more butts in seats.

Companies in Silicon Valley like Google understand the value in proactive recruiting. It’s the reason they have a secret interviewing and hiring process for impromptu engineers because these technical artists just aren’t beating down your door or growing on trees.

The thing that’s really tricky about proactive hiring is that it goes against everything you think you know about talent acquisition. Recruiters should be building relationships with candidates even when they aren’t hiring at all and especially if their company has just completed a layoff. Not only is this about candidate engagement and building relationships but it’s always about good PR and just smart marketing.

80% of  Your Recruiting Strategy Is Invisible to the Hiring Manager

The S.S. Titanic didn’t see that iceberg until it was right under their noses. You know how that worked out for them. The work that is required to build a proactive recruiting strategy, that 80% is invisible to the hiring manager. It involves pre-work, pre-planning, pre-execution and ridiculous amount of faith by our executive team in the expected results by your talent acquisition team.

I realized after pulling turnover and layoff information for my entire organization, a pattern was present. It was this pattern I uncovered that helped me plan our candidate engagement for the long term. It was the 80%. There is simply no way a recruiter or hiring manager no matter how impressive can quickly and swiftly hire especially for those highly sought after and impossible to fill roles. Your candidates can smell the desperation and frankly, unless their decision is purely driven by dollars. They aren’t interested in working for your company that is desperate to find talent. They want a company they can count on, rely on and most importantly can grow their own skills and experiences. This can only happen with proactive recruiting.

Why the Oil and Gas Industry Should Not Stop Recruiting

I live in Oklahoma where oil and gas is a major driver of the economy. The dust from the Q1 layoffs have just settled here, but energy companies shouldn’t be stalling their recruitment and engagement efforts.They should be ramping them into their proactive gear. While the cost of a barrel of oil currently sits at $31.84, companies like Devon Energy, Chesapeake and Southwest Energy are expected shed as much as 40% of it’s workforce next quarter.  Talent acquisition leaders should be proactively engaging candidates even if they aren’t hiring. Devon, Chesapeak, Sand Ridge and Southwest recruiters should be reaching out to recently laid off workers on a regular basis. And by regular, I mean monthly at least. Alumni communities and resume workshops should be established thinking about their Q3 and Q4 hiring plans. Economists expect the decrease in production will increase the cost of oil, more revenue and therefore the need to hire more in the next 3-4 months.

Recruiting is cyclical. Hiring comes in ebbs and flows. I hate operating in a constant state of panic, desperate and constant hamster chasing the wheel mode. It’s not healthy for you, your business, your recruiters, and especially the candidates. Use analytics, metrics, patterns and a little common sense to help balance our efforts.

Check out Part 1 of the series on balanced talent acquisition strategy. 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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