8 Winning Talent Acquisition Strategies from 2021

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No two talent acquisition strategies look the same. That said, there are commonalities among the top recruiting and hiring programs at high-growth companies today. For example, leading TA teams:

  • Tie their candidate-sourcing quotas and hiring targets to business goals
  • Prioritize a top-tier candidate experience (CX) for job seekers they interview
  • Look for ways to streamline and automate their core recruitment processes
  • Put diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the forefront of hiring processes
  • Leverage analytics to scale their hiring and identify strong and weak areas

These also happen to be areas in which the winners of Lever’s inaugural Rise Awards excel.

The Rise Awards winners: Discover eight of the top talent acquisition strategies from 2021

Discover the highly effective talent acquisition strategies implemented by The Rise Awards winners — all Lever customers — and get inspiration for your TA efforts.

Candidate Experience Excellence: Spreetail

Spreetail, an ecommerce solution, recognized the top way to improve its candidate experience was twofold:

  • Send CX surveys to each candidate — good fits for open roles (i.e., new hires) and rejected candidates (e.g., silver medalists) — so it could track and improve its Net Promoter Score (NPS).
  • Revamp its candidate-communication approach through coordinated training and practice (e.g., provide custom-tailored feedback to each individual the Spreetail talent org interviewed).

The company had collected candidate feedback for years. But it was only until 2020 that the company prioritized NPS to assess its CX performance regularly. As for its new comms strategy, the recruiting team learned via its CX surveys rejected candidates wanted more feedback regarding the hiring decision.

By offering personalized feedback, Spreetail gradually grew its NPS score. Moreover, it maintained long-term relationships with passed-on talent to consider them for future roles.

“Using Lever’s tagging system to build pipelines of candidates has allowed us to stay in touch with candidates as we grow and evolve as a company,” Spreetail Sr. Brand Talent Partner Dana Nielsen noted. “This has helped us to hire over 1,000 people so far in 2021 as we add new teams.”

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Excellence: Talking Rain

The TA team at Talking Rain, a Washington-based beverage company, knew it must hire for “diversity of thought” to continue to scale globally and strengthen its already-sturdy company culture.

So, the talent org closely examined its DEI analytics in Lever. The initial findings? Talking Rain’s hiring historically skewed white and male, with many of those particular hires coming from referrals.

After examining regional and national hiring trends, Talking Rain’s recruiters knew its best bet to build a more diverse workforce was to update its job descriptions and where listings were posted.

The company ultimately shifted from the traditional referral model to a more inclusive one — and the results were promising. For instance, the percentage of female applicants grew from 22% in 2020 to 50% in 2021. Similarly, the number of BIPOC candidates increased from 32% in 2020 to 41% in 2021.

“We pride ourselves on being progressive and sustainable,” Talking Rain Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition Anne Royse said. “This extends to ensuring we create a tapestry of talent that weaves a rich diversity of experiences and knowledge to optimize innovation and drive value while reflecting the communities we serve.”

Candidate Relationship Management Excellence and Best Talent Attraction Campaign: Atlassian

Software provider Atlassian knows the value of staying in touch with its talent pool of qualified candidates.

The rapidly scaling business’s goal is clear: Build a “Talent Community” that allowed its TA organization to better engage with talent based on the specific role (or type of role) they want to purse at the company.

This applicant-provided info is used in Atlassian’s automated nurturing efforts. Opted-in Talent Community members get a bi-monthly newsletter featuring content on topics like remote work and employee support.

As this community grows, the Atlassian TA team, along with hiring managers and HR department leaders, can evaluate ideal candidates on an ongoing basis and identify optimal fits for existing and upcoming roles.

As of mid-2021, Atlassian noted the community grew 47.5% annually and has roughly 13,000 active members. What’s more, it has delivered 20,000-plus nurture messages, with an average open rate of 62%.

Ultimately, nearly 300 of those Talent Community members have become new hires.

Human Resources/HR Technology/Talent Operations Innovation Excellence: Rubius Therapeutics

Rubius Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company, had bold hiring quotas to meet in 2020-21. The six-person TA team was charged with increasing headcount by nearly 50% to meet the org’s growing personnel needs.

Thankfully, the team has Lever’s complete talent acquisition suite — that is, an applicant tracking system and candidate relationship management solution — which has helped it with crucial recruiting tasks, including:

  • Automating job-posting to its career page, LinkedIn, and other big job boards
  • Setting up personalized nurture campaigns to engage and follow up with candidates
  • Scheduling interviews with prospective candidates using our easy-book links

Since March 2021, when its hiring goals were laid out by leadership, the Rubius talent acquisition team has:

  • Received 2,200+ applications and sourced 1,500+candidates
  • Sent 400 nurture campaigns (with a 60% open rate and 30% reply rate)
  • Conducted 800+ interviews (with a 77% positive score rating)
  • Hired 96 employees (with an offer acceptance rate above 90%)

“Within Lever, our TA team has developed smooth processes for sourcing, outreach, candidate interactions, and final hiring steps to keep up with building our incredible company,” Rubius Therapeutics Talent Acquisition Partner Kelly Burke shared.

talent acquisition strategies

Onboarding Program Excellence: Omnidian

Omnidian, a performance-assurance solution for solar-power investors, not only routinely augments its talent acquisition processes to hire the best candidates, but also regularly works to improve its onboarding efforts.

Omnidian’s talent leaders recognized its front-line customer/technical support agents — many of whom are remote and not fully knowledgeable about the solar industry upon joining — needed hands-on training to ensure they could capably speak to the company’s offerings and customers accordingly.

So, the TA and HR leadership rebuilt the onboarding program in 2018.

One key enhancement to its onboarding approach: new employees are assigned a “Sol Mate” when hired. This leader from another team guides new hires in the first weeks on the job.

According to Omnidian Director of Customer Support Rob Goehrke, this pairing “encourages cross-department collaboration while also giving employees who are in the early stages of their career someone to talk to about their plans and ambitions.”

New employees are also supplied with digital training materials. For example, they receive Oculus VR goggles halfway through onboarding. This helps these technicians learn how to troubleshoot solar panels in full 3D.

“[E]mployees are our most valuable resource, so we invest in their professional and personal growth, provide formal and informal mentorship, and prioritize internal candidates for opportunities,” Rob added.

Talent Acquisition Team of the Year: Greenlight Financial Technology

All submissions for this award merited strong consideration. In the end, Greenlight Financial Technology stood out for its (very) recent rise (no pun intended) in the recruiting and TA world.

As of 2019, the business didn’t have a coordinated talent acquisition strategy or team in place. Agencies and referrals accounted for the entirety of the organization’s modest candidate pool.

As Greenlight Sr. Manager of Recruiting Kaylee Estes explained, “Hiring had no consistent interview process, team, or technology in place to support the growth that Greenlight was projecting for 2020.”

All that changed after investing in Lever and hiring two recruiters and a coordinator to operate the native ATS + CRM solution. After familiarizing themselves with our TRM platform, the TA team hit the ground running:

  • A structured interview process was implemented, with a focus on bias elimination and data-driven decision-making.
  • Custom feedback forms and interview rubrics were created, while employees were trained on interview best practices.
  • An employer-branding program was built to promote brand awareness and celebrate employees’ ‘wins’ and successes.
  • A new CX strategy was executed to ensure every candidate could “bring their authentic self to the interview” process.

In the year ending August 2021, Greenlight hired 257 people, grew the company by 85%, reduced time to fill to 33 days, and achieved an acceptance rate of 91% — all while significantly lowering agency spend.

Rising Stars Award: Royal Ambulance

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Royal Ambulance, a total healthcare transportation solution serving Northern California, was called to provide a “greater service to the community,” as the pandemic doubled the number of requested ambulance transports. This required a major increase in EMT headcount.

Royal’s sole Talent Acquisition Manager, Justin Nool, was tasked with hiring 250 new EMTs to meet the surging demand. In a time of limited supply, due to industry wide burnout and high competition for talent, Justin signed on 361 new EMTs, smashing his goal, challenges aside.

“The 300-plus hires Justin made during the pandemic helped support not only our team, but also supported the critical healthcare infrastructure of Northern California, allowing safe and effective discharges of patients to keep hospitals from reaching their capacity threshold,” said Royal Ambulance VP of Human Resources Eve Grau.

“The downstream impact of his work was immeasurable.”

Couldn’t attend Lever Ascend, where we announced Rise Awards winners? Watch the sessions here to get insights that can help you build one of the top talent acquisition strategies.

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