The Future of Talent Acquisition

The Future of Talent Acquisition

Data tools have become an essential part of any talent search strategy - and may hold powerful signals for sales teams, too. Pre-pandemic, even large enterprise companies could get away with relying on “the old way” of searching for and acquiring talent. As many adapted the tools that came with digital professional networks like LinkedIn, companies still employed decade-old strategies like employment fairs, university pipeline training programs, and offline networking events to fill their talent

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Mateo Bilbao

scalestack

The Future of Talent Acquisition

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Sales & Marketing head at Scalestack

Data tools have become an essential part of any talent search strategy - and may hold powerful signals for sales teams, too.

Pre-pandemic, even large enterprise companies could get away with relying on “the old way” of searching for and acquiring talent. As many adapted the tools that came with digital professional networks like LinkedIn, companies still employed decade-old strategies like employment fairs, university pipeline training programs, and offline networking events to fill their talent pipelines.

The pandemic made a lot of these traditional methods impossible as recruiters and the talent they sought had no choice but to go fully digital. And now that so many within the ecosystem are used to fully digitized processes, many of those “old ways” of doing things may never return.

Throw in the wrench of “The Great Resignation” and today’s talent acquisition professionals are facing unprecedented unknowns and chaos. According to Forbes, since April 2021, the share of nonfarm workers who quit their jobs has been at some of the highest levels recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In all, nearly 33 million people left their positions during this period, or over a fifth of the total U.S. workforce.

But with upheaval also comes opportunity. And for those within the talent acquisition space who are willing to adapt to new ways of doing things, the post-COVID landscape could reveal a more efficient and effective way of recruiting talent than ever before.

Even for many outside of talent acquisition, such as sales teams, there may be new opportunities to leverage talent acquisition data to your advantage.

The advent of digital professional networks

Long before the pandemic, tools like Indeed, Zip Recruiter, and LinkedIn were already revolutionizing the way talent recruiters approached their trade.

Following the rise of social networks, it only made sense that professional networks would eventually follow. Platforms like Facebook normalized not only keeping in touch with people you had originally known “in real life”, but also making connections and building relationships virtually. The pandemic has further normalized fully digital relationships. One Gallup poll revealed 91% of workers in the U.S. working at least some of their hours remotely are hoping their ability to work at home persists after the pandemic. Many of us who have switched jobs during the pandemic have never met our coworkers in person.

Employers - and the talent acquisition professionals they rely on to fill their talent pipeline - had better get used to the idea of remote work. The same Gallup poll found that 3 in 10 employees working remotely are extremely likely to seek another job if their company eliminates remote work.

If tools like these digital professional networks weren’t a mainstay in your company’s talent acquisition strategy before, they must certainly become so in today’s landscape. But this isn’t bad news: In fact, the way users interact with digital professional networks may offer completely new  opportunities.

3 ways LinkedIn empowered recruiters to scale their operations

Aside from empowering recruiters and job seekers alike to expand their networks across geographies and industries, digital professional networks have also made it possible to scale talent acquisition to unprecedented reach.

It’s only natural that the data generated by global digital networks would yield data-driven recruitment efforts the same way that platforms like Facebook spawned data-driven marketing efforts. According to one study by McKinsey, companies that effectively use analytics in service of marketing and sales performance are 1.5 times more likely to achieve above-average growth rates than their peers. Why not apply the same logic to your talent acquisition strategy?

While other professional networks and digital job boards have similar data-driven search capabilities, here we refer to LinkedIn recruiting tools as an example:

  1. Title and location search
    The most obvious but perhaps the most powerful functionality offered by networks like LinkedIn is the ability to search for relevant job titles in the geographies in which you are hoping to recruit.

    Of course this helps recruiters find, for example, software engineers in the Bay Area, but moreover, it shapes recruiting strategy by providing an understanding of the available talent pool.

    A recruiter searching for a particular niche of app developer in Cleveland, for example, may find that opening their search to remote candidates in Chicago will give the company a better chance of finding the talent they need.

    This could also provide valuable data for sales teams. If your ideal product persona, for example, is senior software engineers, data like this could tell you in which geographies to focus your efforts and help identify potential prospects.
  2. Behavioral filters
    One particularly powerful filter is searching based on how users are interacting with their professional network. On LinkedIn, this allows you to filter by profiles of candidates who have taken the initiative to mark themselves as “Open to work”, indicating an openness to communication from recruiters.

    Better yet, these tools allow recruiters to filter based on past user behaviors, so talent acquisition specialists can choose to see only those candidates who have shown themselves to be more likely to reply to in-app messages. This filter can be powerful for finding people who are truly active, engaged users and potentially more responsive job candidates.

    Once again, this example could provide great value for sales teams. If you’re able to identify a list of your target persona and filter by those who are more likely to reply to messages, you could save your sales team a lot of wasted effort attempting to message un-engaged users.
  3. En masse messaging
    A true time-saver for scaling recruiting operations is the ability to message all of these candidates you’ve filtered and determined to be potentially suitable.

    Especially in light of the so-called “Great Resignation”, talent acquisition is increasingly a numbers game, so it’s important to be efficient and effective. Once you’ve identified suitable pools of potential talent, it’s important not just to send one message en masse, but to create entire communication sequences, the same way a sales team would for outreach. Consider longer message cadences and experiment with different subjects and wording to see what works and what doesn’t for eliciting a response. Just as in sales outreach, sending off one message is simply not enough to grab the attention of the average professional network user in 2022.

How the pandemic has “upped the ante”

Aside from the challenges presented by the Great Resignation and an increasingly remote workforce, the various conditions precipitated by the pandemic has created an environment where the demand for workers has outpaced the number of job seekers.

With the current state of labor supply and demand, there’s no room for error. Luckily, rapidly evolving data tools make it more accessible than ever to hone and optimize your talent acquisition strategy.

The future of data analytics to talent acquisition (and sales!)

While the tools made available for digital professional networks have provided exciting innovation to the talent acquisition industry, someday soon we will already be looking back on these tools as merely the foundation of a new way to acquire talent.

We have already begun to see more and more companies leveraging data from digital professional networks to inform their sales strategy, especially for B2B businesses. Afterall, it’s not just job seekers generating data when they use a professional network platform - it’s also current employees of a company, or the actions a company takes on the platform such as creating new job listings.

Imagine, for example, your sales team wishes to use a digital professional network to identify a particular persona:

A fully digitized landscape and the impacts of the pandemic will continue to revolutionize the way companies fight “the war for talent”. At the same time, online professional networks and job boards will continue to generate reams of data that offer value to teams across your organization, whether that’s recruitment or your sales and marketing teams. Those companies agile enough to take advantage of the opportunities presented by these data points stand to gain a huge advantage over those companies that are slow to update their processes in the face of such rapid change.