5 Ways to Refine Your Talent Acquisition Strategy

A company participating in a job fair, as part of their broader talent acquisition strategy.

When you need to fill a vacancy at your company, whether it’s a backfill or a newly created position, your focus should be on recruitment. But when you’re planning for your company’s future staffing and leadership needs, you need to focus on your broader talent acquisition strategy.

The terms are often interchanged; and while they’re directly related to each other, they differ in scope. Recruitment is the more immediate action that is (or should be) part of an ongoing strategy for finding and keeping talent that involves long-term HR efforts.

If you want to acquire, develop, and eventually promote top talent (and, ideally, retain them for the long haul), then you can’t rely on intermittent recruiting alone. These five tips will help you develop your company’s talent acquisition strategy:

  1. Keep your eye on the future
  2. Take the time necessary to properly vet top candidates
  3. Make sure your employer brand attracts the right candidates
  4. Create and maintain a succession plan
  5. Work on building a talent pipeline

First, we’ll take a look at how a company’s talent acquisition process might look like.

How Does the Talent Acquisition Process Work?

You understand how talent acquisition differs from recruitment in the abstract. But what exactly does it look like and how is it implemented in the real world? Your talent acquisition team is typically headed by the HR department and also includes recruiters, hiring managers, and others within the organization. You may also work with third parties, such as talent search agencies.

The process of building and maintaining a talented staff involves “planting seeds” and cultivating the image and reach of your company to potential new hires. Talent acquisition may involve (but isn’t limited to):

  • Online promotion. Use social media platforms and blogs to promote your company culture and build a positive brand identity.
  • Working with the marketing team. An effective talent acquisition plan requires close coordination between your HR and marketing departments.
  • Regular outreach. Regardless of your company’s immediate needs, you want to reach out to potential candidates on a regular basis through networking events and other outreach methods.

Broadly speaking, you want to make sure your strategy isn’t isolated within your HR department and that it’s aligned with your company’s values and mission. Done right, it can lay a sturdy foundation for your recruitment efforts.

5 Tips for Your Talent Acquisition Strategy

Now let’s get down to brass tacks. What are the keys to a successful strategy for acquiring talent? Methods will differ by company and may be limited by available resources, but here’s what experts in the field recommend:

1. Look Into the Future

By definition, your talent acquisition efforts should always have an toward the future, even if you have immediate needs. As you plan your strategy, ask the following questions:

  • Which roles within your company are the most difficult to fill?
  • Where do you have the most turnover?
  • What are your company’s long-term staffing goals?

Whether it’s a job requiring specific experience, niche skills, or you’re looking for your next executive, you should expect it to take several months to hire the right person.

2. Invest the Right Amount of Time With Candidates

Looking good on paper and giving strong answers to the initial phone screening is a great start, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Meetings over lunch or coffee, phone conversations, and making sure candidates have face time with their prospective coworkers can clue you into their attitude, emotional intelligence, and chemistry.

3. Make Sure Your Employer Brand Resonates With Potential Hires

Some companies that don’t sell to consumers nevertheless advertise on network television, mainly to promote their company to potential investors and shareholders. Similarly, companies that promote their workplace and culture are coveted employers able to attract the best and the brightest.

There are several ways to promote your employer brand as part of your talent acquisition strategy, including:

  • The career section of your company website
  • Through employee referral programs
  • Social networks
  • Local events
  • Interactions with the news media

4. Plan for Succession

Your future leaders and executives could be in entry-level roles at your company right now, while your current leaders may be on their way out the door. Whatever the current case is at your company, you want to get out ahead of the curve by identifying peak performers and giving them opportunities to move into those higher-level roles down the road.

5. Build a Talent Pipeline

Maybe you’re not ready to fill a given role just yet, or perhaps that role doesn’t even exist at your company. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to be prepared by cultivating a pipeline of talented individuals who are familiar with your company. You can build a talent pipeline—an important part of any talent acquisition strategy—by connecting with people in various venues, including:

  • Online
  • In-person networking events
  • Career fairs at college and university campuses
  • Community career centers
  • Maintaining relationships with qualified candidates you’ve interviewed (or solicited through a job ad) in the past

Put All the Pieces Together

Once you’ve put the core pieces of your strategy in place, the next step is integrating it into all aspects of your workplace. Managers at every level should be thinking not just about ways to develop their teams, but also ways to shape those teams into the future. When you’ve reached that level, it may feel like your talent acquisition just happens naturally—because it will.

Take Your Talent Acquisition Strategy to the Next Level

If you’ve taken the time and effort to cultivate a winning strategy for finding and retaining top performers, then your recruiting efforts will be much more focused. But you still want to keep your foot on the gas. Get the latest recruiting and management tips and hiring trends today, delivered free to your inbox.