The Old and the New Reality in the War for Talent
Are you feeling overwhelmed by trying to keep track of open requisitions, or the candidates you have in the interviewing process? Not to mention the candidates with unanswered offer letters or those that have accepted or declined an offer. There are a lot of moving pieces in the acquisition process, now add to that the expectations of the candidates themselves and you could end up spending more time writing emails and making phone calls than actually recruiting anyone!
In their book “The War for Talent,” Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, and Beth Axelrod tell us more about the new reality created by the war for talent. Within the old reality, people needed companies; machines, capital, and geography were the competitive advantage; better talent made some different; jobs were scarce; employees were loyal and jobs were secure; and people accepted the standard package they were offered. However, within today’s new reality, there is a shift more towards focusing on and keeping employees because companies need people; talented people are the competitive advantage and better talent makes a huge difference; talented people are scarce; people are mobile and their commitment is short term; and people are demanding much more.
While the employee/employer relationship of today impacts every type of business, it has an even more profound impact on project based organizations. You rely on your people to deliver world class projects every day. Without them, your projects suffer, your customers suffer, and ultimately, your bottom line shows the negative consequences. BUT, there are better ways to cope with the challenges of talent acquisition.
With this new reality in mind, let’s cover what you can do to stay ahead of the curve and secure the strongest candidates in the marketplace. Firstly, you need to expedite the talent acquisition process, secondly, understand how talent pools can help you keep track of those highly specialized roles, and finally, how optimizing employee branding and the candidate experience can make a huge difference for your organization.
Expediting Talent Acquisition
The days of candidates flocking to your website to apply for positions is over. Remember, if they are a great employee, you can bet you are not the only one trying to convince them that your organization is the best place for them. Mindsets have shifted. The dialogue is no longer “why should we give you a job”, instead it’s “why our organization will be a great place for you to build your career.” This means we need to rethink our hiring process completely to understand how to present a strong value proposition to prospects. People want to work where the culture is strong and the projects are interesting. How are you communicating that to prospective employees?
All this change gets a whole lot easier when you leverage technology to track and adjust your processes.
To get a clearer picture of your talent acquisition process, take a look at it and break it down into intervals of time between each of the steps between the job posting and the first day on the job – from when a candidate was sourced, to when they were screened, to when they were interviewed, etc.
Considering you have this information available – both the steps and time to fill – a part of the equation you might be missing is how long it takes you to complete each step. This piece of information lets you know right away if there are any steps that are consistently taking longer than others, and gives you a chance to evaluate your processes to make them more efficient. According to Dr. John Sullivan, the steps that tend to hold up the process the most are:
- Approving new job postings
- Resume screening
- Scheduling interviews
Each of these steps can be tracked in an ATS, a great tool to aid you in the reporting of this information. Reporting on the average amount of time in each step can help to identify blockages and where to focus to improve processes and efficiency for future hires. At the end of the day, it’s all about having the right people available at the right time to keep your projects staffed and running smoothly.
For example, through reporting you can identify if you are indeed struggling with approvals of job postings, where to make improvements to the process and if the changes you are making are improving the timing.
How Brilliant HR’s Talent Acquisition solution can help:
- When creating a requisition, approvers for that requisition can be established. These approvers then receive email notifications to accept or reject the requisition, with reminders if they do not take action.
- You application process can include screening questions that score applicants as they apply to the requisition. These can be used to auto-screen candidates, or you can review these responses as a part of your initial review.
- When it is time to interview a candidate, the Brilliant HR ATS gives you the ability to select dates and times to send to the candidate, which they can then accept or reject online.
- You can also report on how long each of these steps takes, and evaluate if there are areas you can improve.
Another area an ATS can assist with is in building and maintaining talent pools. Deltek’s Clarity research shows that finding qualified talent is a top challenge for project based firms and establishing talent pools can really help to flag candidates that you want to stay in touch with for future opportunities.
As resumes are added to your ATS, you can review and then flag those that would be a good fit for future openings.
Maintaining talent pools by continuously accepting and flagging resumes from strong applicants can help you move faster when you win a new project, or when someone leaves unexpectedly and a succession plan for that individual is not in place. In his post The Smart Move for Growing Companies Is to Always Be Recruiting Talent, David Ciccarelli further expands on how having a pipeline in place can help, and some techniques for expanding the pipeline.
In the example of where someone leaves unexpectedly, this is where having a pipeline of candidates can be critical, filling that gap sooner rather than later. There is nothing worse than having to delay a project start date because you lack the appropriate resources!
How our Talent Acquisition can help:
- When you review a resume, you can add that resume to a pool so that you can easily find them in the future.
- Pools enable you to keep lists of candidates with specific requirements, helping you stay in touch with those job seekers with email communication. These lists can be generated manually or through the use of search agents that automatically add to the list. They can also be shared for easy access to information. Inviting job seekers in these pools to apply to job openings they are a good fit for and have the appropriate skill set. Again, potentially filling a position quicker by already having the talent defined by using Talent Pools.
Employee Branding and Candidate Experience
It is very important that you are attractive to candidates as an employer; their experience moving through your online application and hiring process can have a huge impact on this perception. An ATS can help you identify areas where applicants drop from the process and make it easier to keep in touch so that your organization avoids giving candidates the “black hole” experience.
A recent Forbes article gives some insight into some of the things that job seekers found negative in the process.
- 60% of employers “never bothered letting me know the decision after the interview”
- 43% of candidates found out during the interview “the job didn’t match what was written in the job ad”
- 34% of the candidates said the company representative “didn’t present a positive work experience”
This is where a focus on your branding and candidate experience aided by an ATS help to ensure that your offer is the one that gets accepted!
How our Talent Acquisition can help:
- You are able to create your own email templates for notifications, and then tie those to different steps in your recruiting workflow to make sure that you are keeping candidates informed.
- You can access your listing of job descriptions when starting a requisition, and use those descriptions to fill in your job description and requirements within the requisition form.
- Talent Acquisition can assist you with your career center – the Brilliant HR and Deltek teams work with you for a branding experience that matches your company’s needs, while providing you with the ability for applicants to find and view jobs online (including on their mobile device). This also includes an application process, where you drive the steps and information collected from your applicants.