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In 2016 — when 73% of companies indicate that talent acquisition is absolutely critical to executing their businesses’ strategies — it is imperative to have robust, effective, and easy-to-use technologies and tactics in place. It’s not just about supporting HR and hiring managers, though. Successful talent acquisition today puts candidates front and center. Our recent report explores these talent acquisition trends in 2016, and how to respond to those trends in order to effectively source, recruit, hire, and onboard candidates.

Talent acquisition has matured over the past few years. The process has been traditional, predictable, and administrative by nature, and entirely owned by HR. As recently as 2014, per Aberdeen Group’s Talent Acquisition 2014: Reverse the Regressive Curse (June 2014), 60% of companies recruited reactively; i.e., they only sought new talent when there were open job requisitions, instead of actively recruiting and building a candidate pipeline.

Presently, more companies plan ahead and don’t wait for candidates to come to them. Case in point, per Aberdeen’s research Best Practice: Use Modern Recruiting to Stay Cutting Edge (January 2016), Best-in-Class companies are 55% more likely than All Others (68% vs. 44%) to proactively build and expand the candidate pipeline, regardless of current hiring needs. This tactic, though, represents only one of many ways talent acquisition is transforming into a strategic, candidate-oriented function that extends beyond HR.

Nowadays, smart departments work cohesively with a variety of internal and external parties to grow their organizations, from the traditional roles of recruiters and hiring managers, to individual contributors, marketing, IT, executives, and customers, as well as active and passive candidates. Notably, Best-in-Class companies are 45% more likely than All Others (61% vs. 42%) to involve various business stakeholders in talent acquisition strategy-setting and execution.

Survey respondents identified the following top priorities for improving the candidate experience:

Successful talent acquisition today means using a variety of technologies and strategies, including: social media for sourcing, employer branding, talent communities, mobile access, video interviewing, pre-boarding, and more. While not every technology  is a necessity to successful sourcing, recruiting, hiring, and onboarding, Best-in-Class organizations are more inclined to use an assortment of tools that are accessible to them to best find, interact, engage with, and hire top candidates.

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