A New Talent Acquisition Approach for the Digital Age

October 28, 2018

Contributor: Jackie Wiles

Digital-age job candidates may be empowered but they are buried in information and often regret taking a position. HR needs a more effective talent acquisition approach.

Digitalization is changing the way HR needs to attract, retain and develop employees. In the hiring process, the balance of power seems to be shifting away from employers and toward candidates — who can now apply for multiple positions with one click and find out details about potential employers, from salaries to career paths and company culture.

"The digital economy is also booming, making it tough for companies to find and compete for certain talent, so organizations are working overtime to court newly empowered candidates," said Dion Love, Gartner VP, Advisory, at Gartner ReimagineHR 2018 in Orlando, FL.

“ 46% of new hires from the last 12 months said they wouldn’t make the same decision again”

Organizations refine and promote the employment brand and add more information to the mass that already exists in cyberspace. Many are improving the digital application experience itself. Others are actively trying to sell the organization and persuade qualified applicants to accept an offer. Some organizations are doing all of these things.

In the process, acquisition costs have jumped — by 26% between 2015 and 2017, when the overall cost of hiring rose 18%.

Not such a golden age for job candidates

"It would seem to be a golden age for job applicants, but the picture is bleaker than it seems for candidates," said Love. In truth, candidates feel:

  • Overwhelmed. The wealth of available information, meant to increase transparency, is overloading candidates and making it hard for them to decide on a job offer.
  • Overlooked. It has become so easy to apply for jobs that the number of applications per job has soared, so candidates have to wait longer to hear back from employers, if they hear back at all.
  • Regretful. Increased demand for talent spells greater opportunity, but that is causing candidates to increasingly regret their decisions to accept offers.

Gartner research shows 46% of new hires from the last 12 months said they wouldn’t make the same decision again. And 38% of new hires who regret their decision intend to leave their job within 12 months, compared to 7% who don’t regret their decision.

Read more: Make Sure New Hires Don't Regret Taking Your Job Offer

How to recruit the newly empowered yet overloaded, unthinking and regretful candidate

In this environment, said Love, a more productive approach to hiring is to drive regret-free candidate decisions. To do this, HR needs to:

  1. Build a messaging strategy that creates value for candidates — starting right from the messaging in job descriptions.
  2. Surface signals of candidate commitment earlier in the process
  3. Guide candidates to make confident decisions they won’t regret.

Bottom line benefits

Candidate regret is dangerous to business because it leads to lower productivity and lower engagement, and a much greater likelihood of turnover, threatening the very strategic efforts for which the talent is hired.

If HR can redesign the hiring process to drive candidate decisions and reduce regret.

When you move from courting the casual candidate to driving candidate decisions, the number of regretted decisions decreases by 75% — which could save your organization millions.


Action plan for heads of talent acquisition

Monday morning:

  • Start socializing the new candidate decision journey and its implications for organizations with your CHRO, head of talent management and your talent acquisition leadership team.
  • Create room in your budget to hire a data analytics professional/team in your function.

Next 90 days:

  • Set a strategy that prioritizes the steps your organization needs to take to move from courting candidates to driving their decisions.
  • Conduct research to better understand the key traits of your critical talent segments, what it is they want and their emotional trajectory during the candidate decision journey at your organization.

Next 12 months:

  • Start piloting new processes and/or technologies that improve the candidate’s ability to signal their interest in, and quality for, roles in your organization.
  • Reallocate employment branding and marketing investment away from efforts that aim to reach entire talent populations, toward initiatives that build networks of engaged talent that are best fit for your organization.

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