Brave The Flaming Bullseye With Total Talent Acquisition

“It is the fire that lights itself
But it burns with a restless flame
The arrow on a moving target
The archer must be sure of his aim…”

—Neil Peart (writer and musician, “Cut to the Chase”)

He hated driving. And yet, he drove me home from the airport. Nice guy. Personable. Articulate. Cleanly shaved head, just south of my age. Mid-forties I guessed. Great driver actually. Very aware of everything around him. We immediately hit if off as we discussed the ups and downs of the Bay Area highways and byways, the best times to drive and the worst.

“Well, you’re hitting the driving thing head-on,” I announced in a poor attempt at punning.

He laughed nonetheless. “It’s my job for now. I don’t have a choice.”

He leaked a weak smile in the rear-view mirror. Before I could press him further he deflected to me and what I did for a living.

A little while later I again tried to learn more about his professional life, but to no avail. What was obvious to me was that he was one of the more qualified “underemployed,” those who only work part time doing whatever because they can’t find full-time employment. How are companies leveraging this underserved talent pool and candidates like him? And can they?

Cut to 24 hours earlier while I sat with colleagues and an entire recruiting team from one of our recruiting customers talking about how to remain compliant while searching, sourcing and pipelining. If you’re in HR and recruiting, you understand the broad critical complexity of regulations that are in place to protect employers, employees, applicants and candidates.

The senior vice president of talent acquisition led the meeting and at one point he said something quite profound and refreshing, not something I’d heard of late:

“We cannot allow compliance to manage us. We have to be able to search and source our own databases in a timely way without compromising quality…in the spirit of effectiveness and productivity, not necessarily efficiency.”

At the same time the disparity between organizations that achieve high-performance talent acquisition and those that don’t usually boils down to agile processes and transparent branding without completely compromising compliance – all with the right technology that empowers the total talent acquisition package.

Competing for the best people, regardless of role or classification, has again become priority number one with an emphasis on the speed and quality of the hiring process. But it’s definitely a moving target – according to survey data collected by my mothership, PeopleFluent, 73% of the HR and recruiting survey-takers noted that developing a talent pipeline was a struggle.

Plus, if you take into account the latest BLS employment numbers, the true total unemployed include the underemployed, which is nearly double the usual unemployment numbers pumped into the media mainstream.

Mercy me, it’s a confusing hot mess out there. To add to the confusion, Will Thomson, Global Sales Recruiter for Rosetta Stone and the Founder of Bulls Eye Recruiting, told us on the TalentCulture #TChat Show that this year, 2015, will be the best year for recruiting since 1999.

Wait, what? Well, more jobs were created in 2014 than in any other year since 1999. According to a recent New York Times article, employers have hired more than 1 million people since November 1, 2014.

But, companies still struggle with sourcing the right people and job seekers can learn just as much if not more about a prospective employer today than the employers can learn about them. They can shop and screen with the best of them, which is why company culture and transparent relationships will be the primary drivers for successfully recruiting and retaining employees in 2015. The talent acquisition teams that get this will facilitate winning.

The challenge lies in doing away with the old recruiting process model and implementing a modern, total talent acquisition approach to recruiting. In fact, according to Brandon Hall Group’s High-Performance Talent Acquisition Framework, Total Talent Acquisition is a culmination of the process of identifying, engaging, assessing, hiring and onboarding talent in order to successfully grow an organization’s workforce.

According to data from the 2014 Candidate Experience Awards (the CandEs), companies can do this better by setting expectations up front, and having more job-relevant components in the application and seeking feedback from their candidates. Along these lines, it is crucial to provide a detailed description of the application process, which will help candidates understand how to apply, the reasons for asking diversity-based questions, privacy commitments and accommodations for people with disabilities.

Employers can also enhance the candidate experience, and better target qualified candidates, by including video-enabled screening questions and assessments in the application process. Doing so will enable companies to provide a more personalized process, allowing candidates who might not be qualified to self-select out, while moving the best candidates forward. Not only will these efforts help to shorten the application process and keep talent more engaged, but it will also help to target the qualified talent the organization needs to remain competitive.

When equipped with the right total talent acquisition technology solution, companies can provide a more engaging and transparent candidate experience, a more streamlined process for recruiters to sort through candidates and an effective process for hiring managers to make well-informed decisions, which in turn improves the overall speed and quality of hire today and far into the future.

Telling my driver that “drivers” were one of the top 10 hardest roles to fill in 2014 probably wasn’t something that he would’ve wanted to hear. But if we brave the flaming bullseye together – candidates, recruiters, hiring manager – with a total talent acquisition strategy, maybe we can hit the mark more often for everyone including the qualified underemployed.