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Collaboration is Key for Successful Talent Acquisition


Most organizations have probably struggled to find talent at some point, with some roles being particularly problematic to fill; cybersecurity being one recent example. Some organizations have applied desperate approaches to get hold of scarce talent, including hiking up new starter salaries (often at the detriment of those already in the wider team/breaching equal pay legislation), lowering the bar (taking in candidates lacking relevant experience/skills), and offering retention bonuses to persuade would-be leavers to stay.

These strategies rarely work. To take the examples above, existing employees become disgruntled when they find out that new hires are earning more; mismatched candidates ultimately leave (employee or employer choice); and employees who have already decided to leave will usually only stay for the minimum period required to benefit from the retention bonus. Making the assumption that organizations will be able to continue to successfully find talent by continuing as they have always done, will lead to talent acquisition (TA) failure.

Organizations need to think differently about TA, whilst still being true to their core values...

Question the Status Quo: Be More Collaborative

If organizations ask themselves “Can we do TA in a better way?” the answer is probably “Yes”. The responsibility for this, though, does not just lie with the TA team (internal or outsourced) or wider HR team. Whilst the TA/HR teams can develop initiatives around diversity, early career development, STEM, etc., these will not be successful without a collaborative approach from a range of stakeholders: hiring managers (HMs), procurement, finance, marketing, technology, and so on. The “art” of doing TA involves a personalized candidate experience. Marketing, usually responsible for corporate website content/careers page, needs to take into account the complex talent landscape (multi-generational workforce, social media preference, device preference, etc.) and tailor the organization’s employer value proposition to that varied audience. The success of TA is inter-functionally dependent. Putting it into context: if organizations invest in a third-party TA vendor relationship with the hope of forming a good partnership for finding the best talent, the success of that relationship will depend on whether other functions outside of HR embrace the knowledge and expertise the TA vendor brings.


Organizations need to embrace experimentation in TA and not be afraid to fail. The oil and gas industry, for example, typically having a high proportion of babyboomers and Gen X workers coming up for retirement, and not known for being leading edge in TA tech, needs to appeal to a new generation of graduates to meet their talent needs. Some large organizations in the sector have taken themselves out of their comfort zone and leveraged TA tools (video, etc.) on their corporate websites to story tell the benefits that a project-dominated working environment brings: international mobility; teamwork; early responsibility. Deploying a range of strategies for a particular TA assignment, such as advertising on a range of social media sites, with analytics giving insights on to the relative success of the various sites, enables organizations to establish what works well for them, and discard the less successful strategies.

Look at the Big Picture

PESTLE factors intertwined with more types of employment category (permanent, contingent, contractors, gig, etc.), and demand for more timely TA processes require organizations to take a holistic approach to TA: an integrated or total talent approach. Organizations can start by having single talent pools/talent communities of candidates for particular functions/skillsets, etc., rather than having two of each: one for permanent candidates; the other for contingent, contractor or gig candidates (as many candidates may sit in both). With candidates more willing to consider different employment categories, why double the work for the TA/HR function? Where available talent in the market is particularly scarce (for example, ten candidates comprising mostly contractors and a handful of permanent candidates) in a multi-country region, and TA budgets are tight, organizations must have highly collaborative discussions (with TA/HR, HMs, finance and procurement) as to the most cost-effective hiring strategy to deliver the right business outcome. Whilst organizations might prefer permanent employees, if permanent candidates in other countries demand excessive packages to relocate, a cheaper contractor willing to be more internationally mobile or redeployment of an internal employee (creating an easier to hire back-fill) may be an easier and cheaper option. These more collaborative ways of working will negate the need for organizations to revert to out-dated, and soon-to-be illegal (under GDPR) ways of bringing in talent under the radar, behavior typified by a siloed functional mentality (where organizations do not have the full picture of who is working for them).

The challenges faced by organizations in finding the best talent are not going to go away. Those organizations that are reaping the rewards of a successful TA strategy have been embracing collaborative working for a number of years. For them, collaboration really is king.

Comments to this post:

  • I like your stance Nikki - focusing on planning, building personalized candidate experiences and garnering collaboration across multiple stakeholders.

    Mar 02, 2018, by Paula Parfitt

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