Have Talent Acquisition professionals got the Strategy Right?

By Gary Berney

Having read the latest ​Monster US state of recruiting survey, I was struck by some of the stats in it. There was no surprise that in the US they now have the most open job vacancies for nearly 17 years. I’m sure there are many parts of Europe facing the same dilemma as we are here in Ireland. In the light of that, recruiters are obviously finding it increasingly hard to fill roles, with one of the stats being that 67% of recruiters say it’s more difficult to find skilled workers in their industries than it was five year ago.

No shocks so far right? But here’s the passage and stats that totally threw me: “In light of these challenges, most (83 percent) are now taking a multi-solution approach to attract higher-quality candidates –top tactics include direct outreach to candidates (89 percent), traditional job ads (88 percent), posts on company/career websites (84 percent) and social media advertising (83 percent). However, despite these efforts, recruiters are still getting fewer quality candidates than they’d like.”

Really!? US Recruiters are moving towards the same multi solution approach that most Talent Acquisition Directors or Managers I speak to have been using for quite some time. What does seem very similar to Ireland is that as the environment has changed and talent acquisition pro’s have found it more difficult to find talent, their overall tactics have not changed to meet the challenges they face. Effectively they’re just doing more of the same. Having recently completed a blog on​ the cost of doing nothing in talent acquisition ​ ​I was amazed by the tactics employed.

Follow the stats to improve recruitment

There are some irrefutable recruitment stats that all recruiters know, or certainly should know:

● Employee referrals have the highest return on investment

● Employee referrals speed up time to hire

● Employee referrals reduce cost per hire

● Employee referrals improve quality of hire

● Employee referrals improve retention rates

● Employee referrals improve company profitability

● Employee referrals improve offer acceptance rates.

There’s just a few reasons why employee referrals are the best source of recruitment. Yet in the US study we didn’t see it as one of the top tactics. Why? My best guess is that recruiters would have to re-shape their referral programmes to make them really effective and they are so busy trying to recruit, that improving referrals to make their lives easier is seen as a long term solution. But right now they are dealing with short term company demands, leaving them will little time for longer term planning.

The reality is that making vast improvements isn’t as hard as recruiters may think. As an example, in one case we’ve been able to integrate our referral app in with a customers existing ATS (to avoid any duplication of work) and start improving referrals rates and therefore hire rates within 4 weeks, so results don’t have to be medium or long term. But it takes recruitment to be open to genuinely want to improve their hire rates, to take the leap and that takes a little (and I mean little) bit of extra work to get a new referral solution up and running. Some see this as too difficult to implement, even though it will save them time once its delivered. But just how long can the best source of recruitment be ignored? Surely not for much longer if the worrying stats from this survey continue on their current trajectory.

We’d love to get your feedback, especially if you’re in the recruitment space. Why do you think, according to the study, optimising referrals isn’t a priority? Where are you getting success in terms of quick, high quality hires?