Redesign Recruiting Strategies to Hire Quality Talent

To get highly skilled quality talent in the door, HR and recruiting leaders need a new talent acquisition strategy.

Speak with any recruiter or hiring manager today and it’s clear that hiring quality talent is increasingly difficult. Gartner research shows that only 16% of new hires possess all the skills they need to be prepared for both their current role and the future. Evolving skill needs are among the large-scale shifts currently underway in the workplace and labor market, and traditional recruiting strategies can’t keep up.

Historically, the value of the recruiting function has been to acquire quality talent with critical skills to meet the organization’s short- and long-term objectives. To do this, recruiters focused on replacing the workforce by seeking a similar set of candidate profiles from known talent pool sources that were attracted to existing employee value proposition (EVP) attributes.

“Hiring quality talent today requires recruiting leaders to shift their strategies from replacing the workforce to shaping the workforce by defining needs based on skills, sourcing talent more broadly and creating responsive employment value propositions,” says Lauren Smith, Vice President, Gartner.

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It’s not enough just to replace talent

Today’s current environment of economic instability has impacted recruiting in numerous ways, including the following:

  • Traditional talent pools are less viable for sourcing talent since high-quality candidates with traditional qualifications are less likely to leave their current positions in uncertain times.
  • The pandemic has forced employers to rethink how best to get work done and what skills their employees will need to adapt in this new context. Gartner TalentNeuron™ data shows that existing roles may require up to 10 new skills by 2021.
  • Candidates are scrutinizing organizations’ responses to the pandemic, looking to see how companies have treated employees during this time.

Gartner research shows only 16% of new hires are prepared with the skills they need in their jobs today and in the future.

3 key shifts in recruiting strategy

As a result, leading organizations have shifted their focus from replacing to shaping the workforce by acquiring new skill sets from a diverse skills market that influences an organization’s EVP.

Specifically, recruiting functions need to make three key shifts to recruitment strategy:

  • Define talent needs by prioritizing skills instead of hiring profiles
  • Uncover the total skills market rather than targeting known talent pools
  • Create responsive EVPs, not just responsive candidates

The best recruiting functions that excel in these workforce-shaping behaviors see a 24% increase in the quality of hires.

“High-quality talent can have a significant impact on business outcomes, including 20% faster time to successfully perform in their roles and contribute to teams that get a 19% boost in their ability to meet future challenges,” says Smith.

Focus your recruitment strategy on skills acquisition

Hiring managers have typically focused on candidate profiles, recycling the most recent job description and just adding new desired skills to the list. Finding these “unicorn” candidates then becomes an impossible task for recruiters.

Leading organizations are shifting away from candidate profiles toward defining the essential skills needed to get the job done. To be effective in this new approach, recruiters need to understand skill needs in the larger context of the organizationwide strategy.

To equip recruiters with this knowledge, progressive organizations leverage HR partnerships to map future skill needs. Recruiters can then consult with the business on how to best align job strategy with organizationwide objectives.

Target the total skills market

Recruiters have long sourced skills from known talent pools based on credentials and background. This recruiting strategy misses out on highly skilled candidates, as Gartner research shows that 43% of candidates today are self-taught in one or more of their role’s requirements. In addition, organizations are increasingly developing high-value skill sets in employees through accelerated training programs.

To effectively uncover the total skills market, leading organizations begin by identifying where their traditional sourcing strategies and processes are limiting access to people with the necessary skills. Can the organization look at candidate potential over candidate credentials or hire based on where the talent is located, not where the business is located? HR leaders should also audit their entire talent acquisition process for exclusionary practices that advantage one talent segment over another.

Drive EVP responsiveness during the recruitment process

Existing, often static, EVPs are no longer enough to attract high-quality talent. Gartner research finds that 65% of candidates have cut short the hiring process because they found certain aspects of the job (e.g., work-life balance, development opportunities, company culture) unattractive.

To deliver on changing candidate expectations, the best organizations are leveraging labor market insights — direct candidate feedback, competitor EVP offerings, employee needs — to inform and adapt their EVPs to today’s environment. Progressive organizations use these insights to inform job design and new employee experience initiatives.

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Gartner for HR clients can download a supporting presentation on Advancing Recruiting’s Value Through Uncertain Times, and can read 6 Accelerators Changing the Future of Recruiting.

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