Home / Hiring Employees for Your Small Business / The Hiring Process / Hiring and the Art of Talent Acquisition

Hiring and the Art of Talent Acquisition

Hiring and the Art of Talent Acquisition

By: John Rossheim

Small and mid-sized companies face a variety of challenges in waging the war for talent against much larger enterprises.

Major corporations may tout opportunities to rise many levels through the organization, to enjoy a rich benefits package, and so on. But growing employers can begin to level the playing field by streamlining their hiring efforts with tools such as an applicant tracking system (ATS) that’s properly scaled — and priced — to their business.

Here are top considerations for businesses that are ready to consider strategic monitoring and documentation of their talent acquisition.

Do very small firms really need an ATS?
Companies with fewer than 50 employees may question whether they really need to formalize their small recruitment operations with an ATS.  The answer: It depends.

“The right timing for adoption of an ATS depends on the nature of the business and its plans for growth,” says Marilyn Sherief, senior product manager for Monster’s Talent Management Suite. “If a three-worker start up expects to grow very rapidly over the coming year, it’s time to consider how to manage the recruitment so that the workforce can expand at the required pace.”

Aren’t ATSs mammoth enterprise products?
HR folks may read so much about ATSs designed for companies with thousands of employees that they don’t appreciate the offerings and price points of offerings designed for organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees.

“ATSs come in all shapes and sizes, including ones that you can purchase and start using today,” says Sherief. “Turnkey configurable ATSs don’t come with a huge learning curve.”

How do you track candidate information from everywhere?
In the 2010s, optimal recruitment campaigns reach out to far-flung professionals wherever they work and lurk, from social media sites to marquee job boards. And effective candidate relationship management must encompass the application process.

“Some of these ATSs enable you to build candidate profiles and maintain relationships, to respond from within the system, and to bring in information as you find it from other sources,” says Elaine Orler, president of Talent Function Group in San Diego.

Can an ATS help me streamline applicant screening?
Application tracking can perform many routine tasks that would otherwise bog down recruiters who have more important things to do for your business. For example, “we use the ATS to screen applicants by asking pre-qualifying questions and tabulating the responses,” says Bryan Timsah, human resources manager for Home Creations, a home builder in Moore, Okla.

What are the core features of an ATS?
Even assuming your hiring is somewhat limited right now, if you receive dozens or hundreds of applicants for each opening, tracking just the basics is a time sink. The process is much more manageable with an ATS.

“You can go into a job opening to see what stage of the process candidates are in — whether the next step is a phone screening, an interview, or whatever the case may be,” says Timsah.

How can I track top talent for the future?
How do big corporations distinguish their recruitment brands for the long haul? By managing each connection to a potential candidate as a long-term human resources relationship.

“An ATS helps smaller companies compete for talent with larger employers by letting them keep in touch with candidates over time,” says Orler. “It’s valuable to maintain relationships with candidates who in the past may not have been the perfect fit.”

What about keeping new employees on track?
More and more employers are finding that it pays to track individual employees’ training achievements and performance reviews over time. With the many ATSs that are also part of a package such as Monster’s Talent Management Suite, “you can set up learning and performance modules so managers can track the progress of the people reporting to them,” says Sherief.

My compliance concerns are growing. Can an ATS help?
As growing companies pass milestones in their headcount, state and Federal legal and regulatory requirements pile up. An ATS can help document hiring practices much more efficiently than manual records kept informally in spreadsheets.

What if my recruiter jumps ship?
If a small or mid-sized company has only a handful of recruiters, the departure of just one may create a big problem with the recruitment pipeline in the absence of formal application tracking.

“If your staff recruiter leaves, it’s critical that you have access to the sourcing and recruitment contacts they made while at your company,” says Katherine Jones, vice president of HR technology at Bersin by Deloitte.

Deloitte in Oakland, Calif.