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What You Missed at Our Chicago Talent Strategy Lunch & Learn

Talent strategy

We just wrapped up our Chicago Lunch & Learn, 5 Steps to Mastering Your Talent Strategy. Our speakers had so many insightful things to say on this topic, we couldn’t wait to share them with you.

Our amazing panel included:

  • Stephanie Vargo, Head of Talent Acquisition at Avant. Avant is an online lending platform and the leading provider of credit alternatives to middle income consumers.
  • Mark McFarland, Sr Manager, Talent Acquisition at Relativity. Relativity makes e-discovery software to help users organize data, discover the truth, and act on it.
  • Stacy Carlone, VP, People at G2. G2 is the world’s leading B2B software and services review platform.

Here’s a recap of the 5 steps you should take to master your talent strategy:

Step 1: Create a strong employer brand

Mark shares that Relativity sets themselves apart from other employers by being consistent with their core values. They want to be seen as a fun place to work, but also a place where people are challenged. That message is conveyed through things like events, recruitment marketing, and their candidate experience, which helps them provide a consistent message to top talent.

Stacy agrees, adding how important it is to connect values to the company, communicate them during the interview process, and find candidates who are a culture add. Diversity is really important at G2, and they strive to provide an inclusive environment for candidates from the moment they walk in the door. Recruiters are the first touch and ambassadors for your company, and the way they make candidates feel feeds back into your employer brand.

Avant also prioritizes diversity and inclusion, through things like an internal committee dedicated to D&I initiatives and hosting internal talks. Stephanie shares how they have many opportunities for people to speak their mind. This feedback loop helps attract the best and the brightest talent to their business.

Step 2: Nail the candidate experience

The candidate experience is a team effort, but talent acquisition teams are the true experts in this area. Stacy says you can set your managers up for success by stressing how competitive the market is, and how critical the recruitment process is for hiring the best talent. If there are any gaps in your process, the experience can cause you to lose both ambassadors and strong hires for the business.

But where do you start when ensuring your candidate experience rocks on the receiving end?

G2 sets deadlines up front to keep everyone on track, and checks in with hiring managers regularly to keep them engaged in the process. Similarly, Relativity implements service level agreements to align on expectations with the interview panel.

Stephanie says Avant sets processes, roles, and responsibilities ahead of time to provide a guideline around how to treat candidates. When everyone is clear on the expectations for a solid candidate experience, it’s delivered much more consistently.

Step 3: Transition to proactive recruiting techniques

Mark believes that every good recruiter needs to be a good sourcer as well—even though his team has dedicated sourcers. He adds that he doesn’t use time-to-fill as a performance metric on his team, because there’s usually a certain amount of triage that needs to be done to find the highest quality candidates. Time-to-hire therefore can be a limiting metric if the only thing you were to look at.

Stacy shares how she believes that recruiting is everybody’s job—which has drastically reduced the number of roles filled by agencies at G2. She tracks things like referrals, time-to-fill, and cost-to-fill—but cautions that you should always prioritize quality of hire, as Mark touched on. For instance, you don’t want to sacrifice quality to maintain a “good” time-to-fill. Stephanie agrees, sharing how some highly specialized roles can take 160 days to source, interview, and hire the right candidate.

Step 4: Keep hiring managers engaged

Stephanie says the key to keeping your hiring managers engaged is to build a great relationship with them, and let them know what you need from them to get the role filled.

Stacy agrees, saying they over communicate with everything so nothing slips through the cracks. She adds that you can build more trust with hiring managers by making sure they know the candidates coming to them have been thoroughly vetted and are highly qualified. Hiring managers want to know they’re not wasting their time.                                                            

Step 5: Report effectively to leadership

Stacy shares that it’s critical to build a great relationship with your CFO, so they feel they have some control and can go to battle for you if you need them. She also stresses that quality over quantity is very important, and she feels lucky that her C-suite is bought into that. Some executives have extended their business trips to other offices to help hire for a key role. They know that recruiting is everyone’s job at the company and preach that from the top down.

Relativity uses a key hires model to report to the C-level. Their Chief People Officer regularly updates executives on key hires, and reminds them of the commitments they need to make to set recruiters up for success.

Thank you to all who joined us! We look forward to meeting you on the road again soon.