3 Best Practices to Improve Your Talent Acquisition Strategy

Embarking on any major process change can be overwhelming, especially when it is as important as talent acquisition.

Here are three guiding principles you can use to improve your company’s talent acquisition processes.

Double Down on Employer Branding

You want to attract, hire and onboard top talent that will stay at your company for the long term, and that starts with sharing who you are as a company. Potential candidates need to know what you stand for and what they can expect from the employee experience.

Demonstrate Your Commitment to Diversity

Your diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs are an important factor in your ability to attract and retain top talent. Candidates from historically excluded communities need to see people like themselves thriving at your company.
Link to your DEI statement from your careers site and applications. Many companies list their employee resource groups on their DEI statement page and give candidates a glimpse into the opportunities for socializing and creating change within the company.

Showcase company inclusion and diversity through photos, videos and other media that share the company culture and individual employee experiences. Use your social media channels to give employees from underrepresented groups an opportunity to share their stories.

Design a Positive Candidate Experience

Candidate experience is crucial to any talent acquisition process improvement. In many cases, it forecasts the employee experience. Candidate experience is an important factor of your employer branding because the experience you curate says a lot about your company and its priorities — and that can have tangible effects on your talent acquisition efforts.

Use design thinking to design a successful talent acquisition process that puts candidates’ needs and experiences first.

Go through the process yourself, just as a candidate would. Getting a glimpse into a candidate’s journey at your company can help identify the weakest points of your candidate experience.

Find the points where small changes can have the biggest impact, and make those changes first. Doing so can have an immediate positive effect on your candidate experience.

Build and Nurture a Robust Talent Pipeline

The most important part of any talent acquisition process is the talent itself. Review your open positions’ unique factors, such as hours, level of skill needed, and pay and benefits. These factors can help you narrow down the talent you need to attract.

Develop candidate personas to identify the types of people you need to pull into your talent pipeline. Your company’s marketing team develops customer and client personas to target prospects and may be able to offer some insights into the process.

Once you’ve identified the types of people to target, determine where you can find those candidates. Develop content and outreach strategies for building relationships and gaining their trust. Find ambassadors within the company to help with this process. For example, host opportunities for employees in the roles you’re hiring for to share their experiences in the role with candidates.

Design Your Process to Support Business Agility

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that business disruption can happen at any moment. You need to improve talent acquisition and make it responsive and agile in the face of unrelenting change.

Align Your Talent Acquisition Strategy With Business Needs

Your business strategy is constantly evolving. Your talent acquisition strategy needs to evolve, too.

To keep up with changes in the business strategy, build relationships with company leaders and department heads. This will help you stay up to date on their needs and keep tabs on their concerns.

You know your resources and abilities better than anyone else. Don’t wait for leaders to audit their own talent needs and bring requests to you, especially because they often don’t realize what their needs really are. Make realistic suggestions to them, which gives you more control over pivoting your talent acquisition strategy.

Prepare to Flex Your Recruitment Processes

Just as your talent acquisition strategy evolves, so must your recruitment processes. What you look for in an ideal candidate, where you find that talent and the tools you use to recruit are all subject to change as the business evolves.

Audit your recruitment processes annually to determine whether you’re still having the greatest impact. Take a scientific approach and isolate factors that are affecting your success. Add or remove those factors in a controlled way, and study the outcomes. This allows you to make changes that are guaranteed to have an impact.

Train your human resource (HR) team to flex in the face of change. You need recruiters and HR professionals who are agile and can adapt as the talent acquisition strategy and processes evolve.

Train Hiring Managers on Effective Talent Acquisition Processes

As your processes change and improve, keep in mind that changes don’t just affect your recruiting team: You need to keep hiring managers informed and prepared to implement changes, too.
This can be challenging because hiring managers aren’t part of your team and don’t work full time in talent acquisition. It can seem like a big ask, so make sure to break down everything hiring managers need to know into accessible microlearning or training modules.

To gain hiring managers’ buy-in, try to explain why you’re changing the process and the impact it can have on their hiring outcomes. Hiring managers are more likely to implement changes when they understand how those changes can benefit their teams.

Take Advantage of Data-Driven Analysis

Without recording and analyzing data, you’ll never know for sure whether your process changes are actually producing positive results. Use your HR department’s technology stack to run the numbers and analyze changes to your talent acquisition process improvements.

Collect Relevant Data on Your Hiring Processes

There are several data points you should record to analyze your improvements. These include:
  • Attraction efforts (where you’ve reached out, to whom, what types of ads you’ve taken out or events you’ve attended, your careers site)
  • Pipeline (where top candidates are coming from: referrals, your attraction efforts, someplace else)
  • Applicants (number of candidates from the pipeline, level of qualification)
  • Hiring funnel (diversity of candidates at the bottom, number of candidates eligible for job offers)

Collecting data from each of these points in your hiring process allows you to spot patterns and trends in the quality of candidates, where the best candidates are coming from and other patterns. That knowledge allows you to continue updating and improving your talent acquisition processes with purpose.

Set Clear Goals for Your Talent Acquisition Process Improvements

Don’t go into talent acquisition process improvements without a clear understanding of exactly what you need to improve. Without direction, you’ll simply end up wasting precious time and financial and human resources without creating an impact.

Set clear, actionable business goals for improvement. Start with a specific problem that you need to resolve.

Perhaps you’re not attracting qualified candidates into your pipeline, for example. You might be building relationships with the wrong candidates, which can impact your hiring outcomes. Identify where your best candidates are coming from, and revise your attraction strategy to focus your energy there.

With a clear goal in mind, work backward to create a plan for solving the problem and improving your outcomes.

Develop Metrics for Measuring Success and Improving Processes

With clear goals for improvement in place, you need to set metrics to help you determine whether you've met your goals. If you’re trying to attract more qualified candidates, for example, what statistics will demonstrate that you’ve achieved your goal?

With any process change, there needs to be a trial-and-error period so that you can gather enough data to determine whether you’ve met your goals. It’s OK if you don’t get it right the first time: Review the data from the change, and tweak the process until it produces the results you need.

Embracing Agility To Improve Talent Acquisition

While companies have traditionally planned for the long term, that’s no longer straightforward given the pace of change today. To prepare for the long term, your company must be ready to shift and pivot talent management in the short term. Developing processes that can flex with change will help you keep your talent acquisition focused and delivering the highest impact.

Only by embracing agility can you adopt a mindset of continuous change. That will drive you toward the relentless pursuit of talent acquisition process improvement, leading to better outcomes for candidates and the business.


Aon | Assessment Solutions

Aon's assessment solutions provides clients with powerful tools and insights to help them make better talent decisions at every stage of the employee lifecycle. This includes pre-hire assessments, identifying future leaders, screening for digital skills and agility, and AI-enabled solutions.

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