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8 reasons why you’re failing at talent sourcing

Quality of hire is a vital measure of how well your talent sourcing strategy is doing, but have you actually got your finger on the pulse? The endless hustle and bustle of recruitment and urgency to fill open roles can lead to some corner-cutting and oversight.

Pressure from hiring managers to improve time to hire and cost per hire can make busy recruiters adopt a haphazard approach to talent sourcing. Trying to meet expectations on every front can get hectic! That is, of course, if you don’t have well thought out sourcing strategies in place.

Do you struggle to find the right candidates?

If you can’t fill roles, or you do hire only to have them fall out after a few months, the problem lies with your sourcing techniques. Yes, the global talent shortage is on the rise and the war for talent rages on, but be wary of using these realities as excuses.

Often making excuses is more comfortable than doing some subjective analysis. Shifting blame to external conditions takes the pressure off in the short term, but your organization will pay the price pretty soon.

A company is only as good as its employees. If staff retention looks like a revolving door with skills gaps and empty workstations dotted all over, you’re in trouble.

Effective recruitment is essential to business success

Although companies know that fact, recruitment is still often treated the same as procuring merchandise.

Hiring managers shoot off a few descriptive words in an internal mail with all their focus on the word “urgent”. Recruiters accept it and immediately set about trying to find suitable candidates in the quickest time.

And that’s where the problem begins; everyone in the internal hiring chain has unrealistic expectations!

Recruiters aren’t miracle makers and hiring managers can’t limit their involvement. That’s because candidates aren’t merchandise. They have preferences, anticipations, opinions and above all, feelings.

An excellent candidate experience is vital to successful hiring. You can only deliver, and continually improve, a brilliant candidate experience with the best talent sourcing strategies.

How to take your talent sourcing from ordinary to extraordinary

To get this right, all stakeholders involved in hiring must commit to a change in attitude. They must also agree that sourcing talent isn’t solely the responsibility of HR and recruiters. While they are responsible for finding the best candidates, they need to know exactly what they’re looking for.

Employer branding is another thing. A brand encompasses everything about an organization, from products and services to attitude and culture. All departments must work with recruiters to ensure that employer branding is accurately represented.

This is how you overhaul your ailing hiring processes once you’ve got everyone’s buy-in.

1. Know what your business needs

Everyone knows what their team or department needs, but few people bother to find out what other divisions need. Recruiters, on the other hand, are expected to source talent throughout, often based on scraps of information.

Spend time analyzing your current staff, skills levels and performance data. Now consider short, medium and long term business plans and objectives. What skills will you need for success? Do you have succession planning programs in place, and know where you’ll have to bring in new skills?

2. Define recruitment objectives

Once you know what your business needs, you can define recruitment objectives. They must be measurable and add value to your sourcing strategies. Apart from the standard metrics of time to hire, time to fill and cost per hire, include quality of hires, quality of processes and candidate experience. Think of recruiting metrics that will give you genuine insight and don’t just gather data for the sake of it.

Defined objectives allow you to set specific goals that can be measured in terms of success or failure. This will enable you to optimize processes, make changes and re-evaluate systems. Well defined objectives allow you to create sourcing strategies in recruitment for specific skills, teams and departments.

3. Evaluate your recruiters

Depending on the size of your recruitment team, you can separate responsibilities to streamline sourcing techniques. Split sourcers (also known as researchers) from recruiters. Sourcers work to attract and qualify candidates. Recruiters take over the qualified candidates who are interested in vacancies and handle the recruitment process from interviews through to offer.

In smaller companies, this might not be possible and recruiters have to do full cycle recruiting. You can even have HR sourcing candidates. Set goals, steps and timelines for each vacancy that can be tracked and evaluated.

4. Get buy-in from hiring managers

Hiring managers must build partnerships with recruiters. Relationships between hiring managers and recruiters can become tense, but that’s unnecessary and counter-productive.

It’s usually because hiring managers put pressure on recruiters to fill roles quickly based on scant info. Recruiters, in turn, feel that they’re treated unfairly and need more input from hiring managers.

Both sides have a point, but they must cooperate to find the best solution. Hiring managers need to spend time with recruiters immediately when they identify a new opening. Early collaboration helps define the role, confirm the job description and identify the ideal candidate persona. Recruiters can give hiring managers a realistic time to fill from available data.

If the anticipated time to fill will cause disruptions, managers can come up with suitable contingency plans. Together they can formulate a recruitment strategy, consider alternatives like internal transfers or promotions and refine all job requirements.

Hiring managers are critical members of a hiring team while recruiters adopt the role of team coordinator and interview facilitator. An applicant tracking system makes collaborative hiring easy with all details and communication available in real-time. Teamwork leads to hiring success.

5. Identifying the best online platforms for resume sourcing

There’s no shortage of online resources to find potential candidates, but knowing where to find the right type of people is essential. Invariably each vacancy will need a different level of skill, experience and persona. Understanding this will help talent sourcers make the right choices.

Online communities are made up of people with similar interests. If you understand the job description, requirements and ideal persona, you’ll know where to start looking.

Job boards aren’t any different. There are general job boards where you can source average talent, but if you need specialized or executive skills, you must find out where they hang out. Job posting software can make the process easier, saving you time and money.

6. Communication

How we communicate anything in business has an impact. When we’re creating job ads, it’s crucial to consider who will be reading them and how they’ll be perceived. If you want to attract creatives, your wording must be casual and exciting. A senior finance executive, on the other hand, probably won’t take that style seriously and so won’t apply or respond.

Creative sourcing isn’t just what we say; it’s how we say it. The same applies to social media content. Craft your content to suit your readers. If you belong to several groups on social media, don’t use precisely the same material for all of them. Adapt content and be selective to catch their attention and then engage with them in the same tone.

Most importantly, make sure that none of your communication comes across as biased. Bias in hiring is still an international scourge. If your employer brand is perceived to be biased in any way you will be called out on it. Luckily tech comes to the rescue bringing AI tools to eliminate bias from your writing.

7. Use social media the way it’s intended

Social media intends for people to find and engage with like-minded people. A mistake that many sourcers and recruiters make is to use social media sourcing as a job board. That’s a sure way to have people drop you. No one wants to see post after post that has no value to them.

You must run social media accounts as an extension of your employer brand, not a job board. Write and share content that will appeal to your followers. Interact with them daily, reply to their comments and show that you’re interested in them.

Instead of vacancies, post impromptu video clips of employees, new hires, events and management. Speak about existing and upcoming projects. Let people get to know your company as it is. That way, they can decide if they want to be a part of your organization.

Connections on social media are also an extension of your talent pool. If you have a suitable vacancy, you can reach out to individuals when you’re sourcing for talent. Because they know you and your employer brand they’ll be more likely to respond and if they’re not interested you can ask for referrals. Managed properly, social media allows you to develop online connections based on mutual trust and respect.

8. Nurturing leads to grow your talent pool

No talent sourcing strategy can exclude developing a talent pool (which should be written into your recruitment policy).

The most common way to grow a talent pool is by adding applicants and candidates who are not suitable for current vacancies but could be for future roles. But there are other ways to get leads too. You can include a lead capturing form on your careers site to get the details of visitors who don’t apply. This will also work well if you have a blog where you share valuable content. Social media can be another source of leads for your talent pool.

Nurturing leads is much more than just getting details, though. Communicate with your talent pool through general content sharing and also through direct contact. A latent talent pool quickly loses its value and becomes a list of names only. If you do eventually contact someone you’re unlikely to get a response because they’ve either forgotten who you are, or they’ve lost interest.   

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