One of my favorite duties in my current role is finding ways to build strong, long-term talent pipelines in an environment like the one we are in now. I’ve been in talent acquisition for a very long time and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we’ve not seen this type of environment before, one that crosses all industries, all professions, all levels of experience, skill and education. Now, having said all of that, we have been in recessions, periods of high layoffs & low unemployment – what have we learned? Are we using those tools, those lessons to build that pipeline?
At Unleash, I sat in on a panel discussion with talent acquisition leaders from Splunk, General Motors and MUFG. Much of what I heard is information that we’ve been talking about for a LONG time, but it always bears repeating because we, unfortunately, aren’t learning from past mistakes or past recessions. We continue to use old templates for how to recruit and interact with potential employees.
We know (or should know) that candidate engagement starts LONG before the candidate puts in an application or even arrives at our careers page to submit an application. We need to consider what messages we are putting out in our ads, and not just for jobs! What tools do you already have available to you to connect with potential candidates through your marketing ads, through your social media posts to attract attention? Technology, automation, is there; you need to find ways make it seamless and authentic to your candidates. And guess what, even THIS isn’t where candidate experience begins. Candidate experience begins with your staff.
Too often leaders sacrifice recruitment staff in the name of candidate experience. Leaders ask recruiters to reach out to candidates faster, more often, create more touchpoints. Talent acquisition staff are burnt out, tired and ready to move on. For years, YEARS, talent acquisition has been asked to do more with less. TA has always been at the end of the line for new equipment, new technology. That is changing. Experienced recruiters are in high demand and are being wooed away from roles where they are overworked and underappreciated.
You need to consider your current staff and their needs. Don’t just get new technology because it is shiny & new. Talk to your staff about their pain points. Ask to see their true tracking — I promise you it’s not in your ATS, they have an excel spreadsheet where they are doing their *real* tracking and they are skipping superfluous steps that don’t add value to their process. If they do not see value in a step in your process, they are skipping it.
And here’s the thing: you need to know what your recruiters are tracking. You cannot know what is really happening in your talent acquisition process if you don’t have the data. You cannot improve your candidate experience without data.
By working with your recruiters and getting information from them, you’ll also be better able to provide good data to your hiring leaders to help them look forward for hiring decisions. Most TA professionals do not enjoy the reactive nature of the work. We spend a lot of time waiting for hiring managers to decide when to post a position, when to make an offer. What if talent acquisition drove those decisions? Your recruiters know the routine of the open positions, they understand the market, why not let them own the hiring process? I’m not saying they need to make final hiring decisions, but why are we still waiting around for the hiring managers? Give your recruiters the data, knowledge, and authority to lead the conversations around when to open requisitions and what offers to make.
When our talent acquisition staff has ownership of the candidate experience, candidate experience will improve. If we take care of our recruiters, they will take care of the candidates.