Finding the perfect candidate for an open position can be difficult. In the last 15 years, we have been witnessing a historical talent shortage, resulting in a talent acquisition crisis that extends across the globe. In fact, about 75% of hiring managers expect the process of finding the best candidates for their teams to become even more taxing.

As markets slowly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for skills is at a record high. Workforce participation, however, continues to stagnate. With job boards overflowing with requests, it’s critical that your company can have an effective talent acquisition process so you can stand out against the competition. But what can you do to find and retain top talent?

Let’s explore some ideas and strategies to help you focus your talent acquisition efforts and improve your recruiting process.

What talent acquisition is and why it matters

Hiring the best talent is a daunting task. Your ultimate goal is usually to fulfil the organizational needs of your company. Therefore, your talent acquisition team (usually part of your human resources department) goes through different qualified candidates’ profiles from a potential talent pool and tries to convince them to join your business.

So, what talent acquisition strategies can you use in your hiring process? There are several options, although the most important one is usually aligning your talent acquisition efforts with your business goals. But let’s start with a quick distinction: Is recruiting the same as having a talent acquisition strategy, or are we talking about different things?

Is a talent acquisition strategy the same as recruiting? 

Talent acquisition and recruiting play well together – but they are not the same. When you recruit top talent, you actively seek out, find, and hire someone for a job. A talent acquisition strategy, on the other hand, takes long-term thinking. And what this means for a company is that you are not just looking to fill in job positions but also want to retain talented employees.

Recruiting top talent is all about short-term solutions. The focus is narrow: You need to fill in an opening, so your HR professionals try to deal with these empty positions as quickly as possible to keep the vacancies from straining teams and workloads.

Recruitment efforts usually include:

  • Poting detailed job descriptions
  • Outreaching to qualified candidates
  • Promoting your listings on social media
  • Answering queries about the openings

In short, recruiting is all about finding new people. A talent acquisition strategy, though, is a more holistic approach to hiring the most talented employees. When you formulate a strategy, your company typically chooses to invest in:

  • Candidate attraction (what you would generally classify as recruitment)
  • Employer branding
  • Candidate experience
  • Performance and metrics
  • Diversity hiring strategies

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Defining talent acquisition strategy

While simply recruiting candidates has worked well in the past, companies need to be more reactive in today’s market. The time of the “Great Resignation” requires a systematic approach because you don’t just want to find top talent. You also need to retain it.

The talent acquisition lifecycle has a few different phases, and you should always ensure you support your team at each stage. Let’s quickly go through these in a little more detail so we can determine the best strategies for each.

Job search and application

The first step when searching for ideal applicants to fill an open position is to create job postings and make them available on job boards or social media. You want to make sure you attract a large number of potential candidates, so it’s always best to diversify your recruiting strategy. You should, for example, also consider looking for job seekers in professional groups and job fairs.

Screening and assessing quality candidates

The screening phase is all about reviewing job applications. First, your talent acquisition specialists will skim through resumes and cover letters and find the applicants that best match the opening. Typically, they will keep an eye on qualifications, skill set, experience, and whether they are a good fit for the employer brand. Having an applicant tracking system can be particularly helpful when assessing candidates.

Interviewing candidates

If you want to find the perfect person for a position, you should always meet with the candidates (either in person or remotely). It’s always a good idea to prepare a set of questions to help you determine whether someone has the skill set you are seeking. Interviews can also reveal strengths, expose potential red flags, and create an opportunity for discussing expectations and discovering the applicant’s personality.

Hiring the talent

Once you have vetted a candidate, it’s time to make an offer. Because we’re going through a period of unprecedented skill demand, you should move quickly. Send an offer in writing, including a competitive compensation package, and negotiate salary and benefits. You can also ask for additional candidate feedback so you know how your hiring manager can prepare better for your next job opening.

Onboarding process

The final phase of the hiring process is onboarding your new employee. This is actually a vital component, and it begins as soon as someone signs an offer letter and continues throughout their career. You want to make a good impression from the get-go, as it’s been proven that companies that have an employee-centric onboarding approach tend to retain talent more efficiently. Good onboarding is vital for the long-term success of your business.

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The right mindset for talent acquisition

When you are going through prospective employees, many recruiting efforts get fixated on the perfect resume – one that fits every skill and qualification. The truth is, there are talented people everywhere, and just because a resume sounds perfect, it doesn’t mean it will result in a perfect role.

Your talent acquisition strategy should always consider adopting a growth mindset. For example, you can develop workforce programs or talent programs that offer upskilling, allowing you to expand your talent pool considerably. Humans learn, grow, and evolve. Don’t restrict yourself to pedigree; with the proper training, you can turn almost any candidate that shares your company culture into the perfect employee.

Diversifying your talent acquisition strategy

You need variety in your workplace – and the first step to do this is to diversify your talent acquisition, too. If you are always looking for the same type of candidate, you will miss out on opportunities to look at your business from a different point of view. Advancing diversity is more important than ever, and limiting yourself (for example, by looking only to recruit from Ivy League schools) will just reduce your candidate pool.

The process of diversifying your workforce is based primarily on hiring candidates in a non-biased way. Of course, merit recruitment is still central, as you want to find the best candidate. But it would be best if you always thought in terms of inherited diversity (for example, race, age, or gender) and acquired diversity (education, knowledge, values, experience, etc.)

Diversity recruitment is not just a growing trend; it also provides several tangible benefits. For example, you can bring a broader range of experiences and skills to your team. As a result, you can access larger and more varied candidate pools. And you can avoid the “echo chamber” of confirmation bias while driving innovation and creativity. In fact, companies that have teams with diverse management have 19% higher revenue, and 67% of job seekers consider diversity an important factor in applying for a job.

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Examples of talent acquisition strategies

With such a need for qualified candidates, there is no shortage of talent acquisition strategies. Of course, not all of them will work for all businesses, so you need to pick the best ones according to your size, types of roles, and growth trajectory.

These examples will give you some ideas for creating the perfect talent acquisition strategy.

Refine your recruitment experience

It is critical to provide your candidates with a positive recruitment experience, no matter if they end up joining your team or not.

For example, it helps no one if you interview a person for a few weeks and suddenly stop all communication. You might still be interested in hiring them, but if you delay your responses, you will only make the person think you cannot be trusted. Furthermore, you are likely to miss out on excellent talent if you don’t provide an enjoyable experience.

Your recruiting should reflect your company’s culture. If you create a strong, diverse, and friendly culture – your interviews should look like this, too.

Create an employee referral program

If your company doesn’t have an employee referral program, you should definitely consider implementing one. There is a lot of potential in your people’s networks (“Great people know great people“, states the phrase).

Referral programs usually involve incentives and recognition for bringing new candidates to open positions. A referral approach can be an essential part of your successful talent acquisition strategy. It can help you hire faster (and save on recruiting costs), find higher-quality candidates, and increase employee retention. In fact, referred employees tend to perform better than non-referral candidates and are more likely to stay longer in your company.

Your employees are the ones that actually know best what talent your business requires. If they know the people that can help your company thrive, you are missing an opportunity if you don’t have such a program in place.

Provide a great employee experience

Another excellent talent acquisition strategy is to create an exceptional employee experience. Happy employees result in more talent retention, and for many people, company culture has moved to the top of the list when applying for jobs.

To provide a better employee experience, you need first to understand what it is. If your mind instantly goes to HR systems and tools, you’re not quite right. Employee experience is more than someone’s interaction with a virtual workplace. It’s the holistic impact of the job and the company on the individual, how an employee feels and how they can grow, learn and reach their full potential. It also involves a diverse workforce that includes leaders, a deep sense of belonging, and the perception someone is valued and cared for.

Offer development opportunities

When you create and encourage development and learning opportunities for your employees, you can recruit top talent that is also interested in growing their skillset. And, of course, improve the professional development of your existing team.

One of the best growth strategies for your candidates is personalized learning. This allows people to focus on the topics and methods they are the most interested in – and that better fit their position. Personalized learning is not just good for work performance; it can also be a form of personal development that keeps your employee happy and motivated.

Creating a culture of “learning at work” offers several benefits, but it’s always important to keep in mind what the end destination is. A learning pathway can help you create a map for your employee’s development. It can also give them a clear vision of what skills they need to develop for their career and how they fit your business goals.

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Building the best talent acquisition strategy

We have gone through some examples, and we have covered the different phases of recruiting and retaining excellent talent. So, how can you start outlining a talent acquisition strategy that best fits your business goals?

First, identify if there are any areas that can be improved. For example, are you posting your openings on enough job boards and sharing them on social media? Have you considered implementing a referral program so your best talent can be other motivated individuals in the team? And are you providing your employees with opportunities to grow their skills?

It’s always a good idea to set goals and measurements for success. Once you have identified opportunities to improve your strategy and have a roadmap, you should work with your HR team to determine valuable insights and whether your plan is doing as expected.

With FundSquire, you can fund your growth and accelerate your business, so your teams are always armed with the best recruiting and retention tools. We are currently also growing our team! We are a hyper-growth startup that offers upskilling, learning and development programs. If you’re lookin for, a great team and an opportunity to make a difference in the startup ecosystem, you can find all open positions across UK, Canada, and Australia here.

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Suneha Dutta

Suneha is digital marketing expert, helping innovative companies learn more about Fundsquire's seamless, timely, and innovative funding solutions. She brings diverse experience in creating compelling narratives and content across industries and markets.