Talent Acquisition Leaders See Gaps In Delivering Quality Hires

November 3, 2015 – Core recruitment capabilities are lacking in companies across the globe as business leaders struggle to onboard the quality talent they need to compete, according to new research report titled ‘Talent Acquisition 360’ released by recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) firm Cielo.

The report combines the views of close to 700 C-level executives, business unit leaders and talent acquisition heads on their talent acquisition teams’ performance across 12 key areas. While almost nine in 10 (89 percent) leaders agree that talent is a competitive advantage for their firm, Cielo’s study shows a significant effectiveness gap between the importance of key recruitment activities and the performance of these activities by the talent acquisition function.

Business unit leaders are particularly critical. Nine in 10 (90 percent) said that delivering quality hires consistently should be the top priority for their internal recruitment team. However, just over half (55 percent) rate their performance as effective – a gap of one third (33 percent) compared to just one in 10 (14 percent) among C-level executives.

Other crucial aspects of effective talent acquisition are also suffering. Business unit leaders report major effectiveness gaps in talent acquisition’s ability to provide strategic thinking (35 percent), make a measurable impact (35 percent) and demonstrate agility (32 percent).

“It is excellent news that talent is getting the executive level support that it deserves. But with high strategic importance comes a greater degree of scrutiny,” said Sue Marks, Cielo’s founder and CEO. “Our aim in conducting this research was to uncover the different perspectives of key business stakeholders in order to help talent acquisition leaders plan for the future. It is striking that business unit leaders – critical stakeholders who are dependent on a comprehensive talent acquisition strategy, competently executed – are so unsatisfied. Talent acquisition is not delivering what the business needs to succeed – a situation that requires urgent action.”

The ‘Talent Acquisition 360’ report  highlights four key areas talent acquisition leaders need to address to bridge the effectiveness gap:

  • Don’t Forget the Core: Get back to basics and build up core competencies that are lacking. Start with processes to regularly evaluate the skills of recruiters and supporting team members; commit resources to continuous learning and development; and learn from providers, rather than merely paying for their services.
  • Get In Sync With Leaders: Business unit leaders have a lack of confidence in talent acquisition’s ability to attract, engage and hire the right talent. Communicate with business unit leaders to ensure effective delivery.
  • Consistent Quality is Vital: Rather than rushing to fill roles, businesses must look at the selection, assessment and screening process to ensure the very best talent is hired into the organization. Measurement is critical to ensuring key attributes and success can be monitored over time.
  • Step Into Strategy: Talent acquisition needs to provide the strategic thinking to shape overall business decisions. Analytics also need to inform in the same way, through the use of KPIs and benchmarking.

“Businesses now realize that talent is the key to unlocking greater organizational performance,” said Ms. Marks. “The role of talent acquisition is therefore critical to success. We must not forget that recruitment is a profession – requiring specialist skills and experience – so getting the right recruiters for the job is fundamentally important.”

HR executives in numerous studies report that referrals are one of the most effective ways to retain talent. More than 50 percent of referred employees have been in their current position for more than five years, supporting various findings that have cited employee referrals as a top source of hiring, according to “The Impact of Successful Employee Referral Programs,” issued by iCIMS, Inc.

The study found that employee referrals are the most significant source-of-hire for employers, bringing in top talent that increases quality-of-hire, instances of cultural fit, positive results, and decreases key metrics such as cost-per-hire, time-to-fill, and turnover. Most employers hire nearly 40 percent of their staff from employee referrals.

One startup that is helping companies fill job openings through crowdsourcing and monetary incentives – the latest twist that takes employee referrals to an entirely new level – is ReferralMob. Launched in June, the mobile and Web app company has $500,000 in cash rewards in its coffers to help recruit employees at Massachusetts-based companies.

To date, those companies have awarded close to $6,000 to users who help the companies fill job openings. ReferralMob is backed by $1 million from undisclosed investors and its founders; it is considering expansion to other cities later this year.

Crowdsourcing — enlisting the services of a number of people via the Internet by outsourcing tasks to a broad, loosely defined external group of people — has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. The term was first coined nine years ago by Wired magazine author Jeff Howe, who suggested that crowdsourcing encouraged the best qualified and most creative participants to join in on a project. Wikipedia, the collaboratively written and edited online encyclopedia, is widely considered to be one of the best known examples.

Technology is also at the forefront of recruiting. Recruiting and onboarding are two of the top three technologies being used to enable talent strategies, according to recent data released by Peoplefluent, a social human capital management technology company. Results illustrate that nearly 40 percent of companies will be implementing talent acquisition strategies in 2015. More than 50 percent of survey respondents indicated that what keeps them up at night is recruiting hard to find skills in both leaders and employees, retaining premier talent and sustaining employee engagement. The top five actions facilitated by technology for successful talent acquisition strategies in the coming year were: referrals (89 percent), applicant tracking (83 percent), background screening (70 percent), social recruiting (69 percent) and onboarding (63 percent).

Social media has become an important tool for hiring managers. According to a recent report by Jobvite tracking hiring professionals, 92 percent of corporate recruiters are using social media to enhance their candidate identification capabilities.

An exhaustive in-house recruiting report by Hunt Scanlon tracking talent acquisition professionals and their recruiting habits across the U.S. found that 95 percent of respondents ‘regularly use’ LinkedIn as a primary candidate sourcing technology, while Facebook and Twitter were clearly seen as secondary platforms.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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