Recruiting is changing and the ‘war on talent’ (a phrase familiar to many in the industry) has never been more relevant than today. Has the recruitment process become more sophisticated (possibly) more accessible (definitely) so what does this mean for the corporate environment and specifically the role of the Talent Acquisition Specialist?
In conducting my research, I met with a host of Senior HR and Talent Acquisition Leaders to find out how they operated, how they found talent, managed their time and retained candidates coming into their business. Having worked in both internal talent acquisition and external agency roles I was able to see the recruitment world from both perspectives and the results of my research brought up several continuous themes.
What does a Talent Acquisition Specialist do?
The role of the Talent Acquisition specialist or (Internal Recruiter) is to act as the focal point for all recruitment within that company. The role can consist of some or all the following,
- Posting the role after gaining approval (typically head count replacement, new role creation or temp or interim assignment)
- Working with the Hiring Manager
- Sifting and rejecting CV’s
- Screening candidates
- Working with 3rd parties / agencies (negotiating fees)
- Arranging interviews, organising diaries, attending/ conducting interviews
- Offer letters and contracts right through to onboarding
How does the Talent Acquisition Specialist fill their vacancies?
The remit for a TA specialist is to fill most of, many of their roles directly. They will do this in a number ways.
- Internal candidates – First option on any new roles that become available. Some companies will post all roles internal and externally simultaneously with the emphasis on the best candidate coming forward and being open to all. There are some roles that will never be advertised externally, due to succession planning the company’s expectations of associates continually moving up means some roles will not be seen by any potential candidates externally as they won’t appear on job boards, linked in or any other media form.
- Typically, after internal and company websites, job boards and LinkedIn are the preferred destinations for posting a role. Paid and free sites for the ‘generic head office functions’ with ‘hard to fill’ or niche roles ending up on ad-hoc specific job boards or with recruitment agents on a PSL (Preferred Supplier List) or again on an ad-hoc basis.
- The Talent Acquisition specialist will be tasked with identifying not only the best possible talent but the best possible areas to source this talent. A key component of the TA role is to understand what will bring the best possible results.
- The two biggest concerns of a TA specialist are always – TIME and MONEY! How quickly do we need to fill this position, what is my budget to fill this position?
What is the relationship between Talent Acquisition Specialists and 3rd party / recruitment agencies?
Often portrayed on social media and job adverts (no agencies please!) the reality is in stark contrast to the myth that recruitment agencies are a hindrance to the TA specialist!
- What is apparent is that the volume of calls and emails the TA specialist will be subjected to the minute after a role is posted can be overwhelming and something that must be managed.
- The use of a Preferred supplier list (PSL) who will be tasked with finding talent (alongside the website and job board postings) or if the direct hires are not generating the right candidates.
- Others respond well to agencies who understand the company culture, fit and personality rather than ‘what looks good on paper’.
- Speculative emails can be hit and miss, sending something and ‘hoping it sticks’ is often met with negativity with the view that the agent is sending this candidate ‘on a wing and a prayer’.
- The preference is always on quality with carefully selected candidates matching the brief. Every single person who contributed to this research said they were happy to work with agencies, provided they act more like ‘a business partner’ helping them get the right candidate rather than just ‘CV senders’ adding more to the pile of existing CV’s.
The role of the TA specialist can be overwhelming with multiple roles in diverse sectors. Some have indicted whilst they have the ability to work on every role, they don’t necessarily have the time or the network to give each role the time and consideration it deserves. Temps and interims were mentioned as a frequent source of use for agencies as the capacity to ‘bring somebody in’ within 24/ 48 hours was not feasible.
The role of the Talent Acquisition specialist is fundamentally to support the business, support the hiring managers, bring in and retain the right talent to grow the company forward in a timely and cost-effective manner. The majority of hires will now be sourced directly, with the tools available to find talent the TA specialist has more options at their disposal than they have ever had before. The relationship with 3rd parties / agencies is dependent on experience. A bad recruiter / recruitment agency will act as a ‘time hoover’ filling up call times, emails and adding to an already escalating workload. A good recruiter / recruitment agency will act as a ‘business partner’ who will understand the business as much as the job brief and act in a timely fashion to recruit the best possible talent and we can all agree that in life and in business the best possible relationships don’t work without it!
Signet Resources would like to thank all the dedicated Recruitment and HR professionals who gave their time to contribute to this article.