4 Trends I’ve Seen After Hundreds of Calls with Talent Leaders

talent acquisition trends

In the C-Suite Challenge 2018 survey, failure to attract and retain top talent emerged as C-level executives’ number one business challenge. Talent acquisition, development, and retention are mission critical to the success of any business, and the C-suite has taken notice as human resources has shifted from a cost center to a strategic business function.

As a Sales Development Representative here at Lever, I spend my days understanding the roadblocks costing organizations top talent and advise them on how Lever can help make recruiting their competitive advantage. In this article, I discuss 4 trends I’ve seen from hundreds of phone calls with talent and HR leaders and explain how incorporating them can help companies take talent acquisition to the next level.

1) Employer brand and consumer brand are more closely linked than ever

In a poll of 2,000 executives, over 82 percent of marketers either said there is a connection between employer brand and consumer brand or they are one and the same. In our conversations, employment branding professionals frequently share that they’ve been doubling down on candidate experience and trying to maintain consistent messaging about company values across the recruitment process, consumer marketing channels, and employer branding content.

Their reasoning? That “brand” has evolved into a holistic term encompassing the experiences that everyone–consumers, candidates, and employees alike–has with a company. Employers also recognize that employees can be the best brand advocates and that if they treat their employees well, they will be rewarded with positive Glassdoor reviews and feedback that reinforce public perceptions about their identity.

2) A proactive approach to hiring and diversity at the top of the recruiting funnel are essential 

In today’s candidate-driven market, the companies winning the talent war aren’t waiting for job seekers to submit applications on their careers pages or job boards. To control the quality of their candidates and ensure that they’re building diverse pipelines, they’re focusing on proactively attracting and engaging passive talent. 

Research shows that diverse teams make smarter business decisions and achieve superior results, and the talent acquisition leaders I speak with are taking diversity and inclusion seriously as they scale their teams. Many have admitted to past overreliance on referrals and other hiring methods that have the adverse effect of diluting diversity, especially if they’re not balanced out by recruiting strategies that reach more candidates.

3) Talent leaders must understand the business to partner effectively with other executives at the C-suite table

The best way for HR to earn a seat at the C-suite table is to demonstrate a sound understanding of business challenges and propose HR strategies that drive company success.For example, if the VP of Talent Acquisition asks his/her CFO to sign off on a sourcing automation technology purchase because it would help the recruiting team source great engineering candidates more effectively, he/she should be able to communicate the impact of making these hires on the company’s product quality. If the CHRO wants to reduce turnover, he/she should be able to connect the concept of turnover to detrimental effects such as lost revenue. Establishing a clear link between HR initiatives and business results pays handsome dividends for talent leaders looking to ensure that their department gets respect in executive-level discussions.

4) Intentionality is key to an effective data-driven strategy

Studies illustrate that recruiting is becoming more data-driven, and this is evident from my calls with talent acquisition leaders, who almost always identify robust analytics as a must-have in their ATS. While I agree that reporting should be top of mind for any forward-thinking talent team, I’ve learned from my conversations that it’s easy to fall into the trap of crunching numbers without understanding which metrics will help companies move the needle on their goals. The first step to defining a talent analytics strategy is to think carefully about what data will lead to more informed decisions, rather than making blind assumptions about which metrics should be tracked.

These 4 trends only scratch the surface of the insights I’ve gained about the talent acquisition space from the passionate leaders I’m lucky enough to speak with daily as a Sales Development Representative. I’m excited to continue these conversations, start new ones, and identify opportunities for Lever to help–in these areas and beyond.