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Talent acquisition specialists can be seen as the backbone for any growing company – especially in tech. They figure out what jobs need to be filled, scout talent, and make sure they are a good fit before bringing them on. As a talent acquisition specialist it’s always good to think of new ways to attract the top talent.

In this article we will explore what it takes to be an innovative talent acquisition specialist, how to use everyone on your team to get the right people, and how to create an effective talent acquisition process to successfully recruit the best candidates.

Recruitment Skills to Succeed in a Tight Labor Market

There are just too many positions to fill and not enough ultra-talented people to fill them. For example, according to USA Today there are 1.4 million more software development jobs than qualified people. In many cases, these talented people are on and off the job market in less than a week. That’s why any talent acquisition specialist needs to develop innovative ways to attract the people they need. Just what talent acquisition skills do you need to land the top candidates for your company? Let’s dive in and take a look at what it takes to be a talent acquisition leader.

Talent acquisition goals and objectives might seem pretty straight-forward: Hire the best people. However, there is a lot that goes into this process and having the person with the right talent acquisition capabilities is essential. Here are some of the key skills a person should have on their talent acquisition skills resume.

1. Excellent Communication Skills

When looking for talent in this job market remember one thing: Any candidate you find has the luxury of moving on quickly and without prejudice. That’s why the ability to communicate what your company values and why your candidate is the perfect fit is so important. If the candidate doesn’t get a clear picture of what you have to offer or gets a mixed message when it comes to core values, they probably aren’t going to take your process too seriously.

2. The Ability to Self-Manage

Talent acquisition experts wear many hats but need to know when to take one off and put another on. Julie McCorkle, HR Director at PERQ, explains what she looks for in a candidate, “I’ve found that candidates who are driven, self-directed, willing to confront obstacles, and those who learn from mistakes turn out to be the best fits.” This is because at any given moment they could be fielding a number of candidates who are all at different points in the vetting process. The ability to recognize the best person for the job and focus on them while letting lesser candidates wait isn’t something that can wait for approval from above. In that case you need someone who is comfortable making executive decisions with confidence, and correctly.

3. Knowledge of the Organization (And Passion About the Mission)

While you can memorize any company’s core values, you need someone who can be passionate about them. While passion might not necessarily be a skill, it takes a person with vision to see the importance of what the company is trying to do—and then sell that message to any qualified candidate they come across. You need someone who can live and breathe your company’s history, goals, and culture. Company culture is no small thing and every talent acquisition specialist needs to be acutely familiar with it because, as Haley Altman, founder and CEO of Doxly, explains, “I think that culture is something that permeates every aspect of your employee and customer experience. It’s your brand, it’s your office, it’s your compensation, it’s your values.” If you know your culture, then you know your company.

If a talent acquisition specialist has these traits, as well as the instinct to sniff out people’s potential, they are going to go far in that position. These traits will also give you the ability to innovate your recruiting processes to fit the changing job markets as well as your company’s ability to adapt to inevitable changes in the future.

Turn Everyone in Your Company Into a Recruiter

While you might have a dedicated talent acquisition team or individual, the best talent acquisition strategies require you to think outside the box. As Nicole Bickett, VP of People and Administration at Springbuk, can attest, “To attract talent, companies need to be known as a great place to work and engage with talent to build their value in the market.” The people that know this best are the people that do the day-to-day work, so why not turn everyone on your team and their personal networks into a recruiting asset? You can teach them how to be a good talent acquisition specialist by teaching them some recruitment specialist skills in order to up their talent acquisition competencies, but you need to think about a few things first.

“Talent Acquisition has evolved and certainly moved along with other talent segments, getting far more technical than it was in past years,” said Trisha Borme, Director of Regional Talent Acquisition for Genesys. “This coupled with a highly competitive market has pushed talent to think of new and innovative ways to attract talent.”

Obviously, a software developer is not a talent acquisition executive, so don’t expect them to just step into talent acquisition roles without training. However, you can teach them all the talent acquisition process steps and they might be great at it, but there is one thing that might hold them back–the possibility of a bad recommendation. Try to put a process in place where your employees trust that they won’t get any negative blowback from suggesting a candidate. Transparency during the process could be vital here so that they see the reasoning behind their referral being hired or passed up. This keeps everyone on the same page and confident in their role in talent management process.

How to Create Your Talent Acquisition Process

Fullstack COO Dawn Lively sums up the talent acquisition position nicely when she says, “You’re trying to find the right people, the right fit, the right roles to grow your company through sourcing, qualifying, interviewing, candidates. You also need to make sure that they are happy and feeling engaged once they start and work with you.” Dennis Nash, Senior Consultant, Employee Benefits with Witkemper Insurance Group, agreed and offered some valuable strategies. “One way is to survey your employees annually to find out which perks and benefits are important to them,” he said. “If you start to see common themes, those can be integrated into developing a benefits strategy that best suits the unique needs of your team.”

It’s a big job, but through setting up your talent acquisition framework by having intimate knowledge of your talent acquisition goals and objectives, you are in a great position to lay a foundation of talent acquisition policies that will set your company up to have the right people and the ability to grow.

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