School is always in session for talent acquisition

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Posted by Matt Rivera

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June 8, 2012

It’s the end of the school year and although kids don’t want to hear it right now, you should never stop learning just because of the time of the year (or your age). Similarly, when it comes to talent acquisition, I say either keep learning or keep losing.

Talent acquisition has changed greatly over the last decade and continues to evolve. The irony of today’s economy and our collective fortunes (or lack thereof because of the stock market) is that while most companies really need more skilled people, these workers are hard to find, and companies are less willing to spend money to add staff. The result is that many companies are once again waiting to hire and therefore will struggle to grow.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? I feel like we are replaying 2011. We began the year with such optimism, and then we got scared again or worried about Europe or whatever we believe is causing the malaise.

Learning is about exploring new things, growing from past mistakes, and finding new ways of thinking. For many, social media is providing some much-needed enthusiasm in the talent acquisition arena, but finding efficiencies and return on investment is still difficult.

I think we need to take a more scholarly approach and apply a few lessons from our school days.

  • Study. Look at what other companies are doing and who’s hiring. What are they doing that you aren’t? Why do people want to work for them?

  • Pay attention. Look at where your candidates come from and why they are (or are not) attracted to your company. Ask your employees and see what they and others are saying about your company via social media.

  • Grade yourself. Track your efforts and analyze the results. Look for trends and compare yourself to others in your industry. If you can, use multiple data points such as applicant flow, attrition, and time to hire.

  • Learn from your mistakes. If you find that you are unsuccessful, make sure you understand why before making drastic changes. Sometimes small adjustments work better than wholesale attempts at change that can eat up a lot of time and resources.

  • Use a diverse set of sources. Remember how you had to list multiple sources in a bibliography? Make sure you are reading and looking for information in multiple places within your industry, within HR organizations, and with colleagues.

If school taught me one thing, it’s that learning is an active process. You have to be engaged, ask questions, work hard, and always be ready for that pop quiz.

The talent acquisition pop quiz will be the next time your company really needs to find the right talent. If you’re unprepared, you might experience setbacks such as project delays, low morale, and lost opportunities.

While the kids are getting ready to finish the school year, maybe it’s time for the rest of us to get back to the books for talent acquisition. Are you ready for a pop quiz?


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