Building your talent acquisition strategy

Updated: Mar 15




Candidates are behaving like consumers. They research before they buy a product or service. They pick what suits they think suits them best.


Organisations are struggling to find talent. Everyone wants to hire an A-Player.


This is a classical demand and supply issue.


Now, the business side invests heavily in building a competitive strategy. Generally, if you look at any strategy statement, there will always be a oneliner that says something in the lines of “build and develop and attract talent.”


Now the TA function is in a similar situation to the business. Both try to address the demand and supply challenge. Any other department within, say marketing or IT, will be more external or internal focused. HR (sans TA) is internally focused. What is concerning is that there isn’t enough time and thinking spent on formulating a strategic approach to acquiring talent.


Most HR organisations (again sans TA) have a compensation strategy, performance management strategy and sometimes even an employee engagements strategy. Some organisations have a TA Strategy. However, it ties straight into recruiting. Search for TA Strategies on the internet. You will find information that starts off as TA but is just talking about recruiting.


Does that mean Talent Acquisition and Recruiting are two different things? Traditionally these two terms have been used interchangeably. However, there is a difference, and this is getting more pronounced.


So then, let’s start by defining what these two terms are.


Talent Acquisition Vs Recruitment

If you can understand Marketing Vs Sales, then TA Vs Recruitment is similar. Marketing and

TA work towards supporting sales and recruitment, respectively. Talent acquisition helps broaden the top of the recruitment funnel and also make the recruitment process more efficient.


Recruiting by itself is complex—two sides to recruiting – Sourcing and Selection. Identifying the sourcing channels and the suitable selection methods could be challenging on its own. It is so complex that it would be worthwhile to spend some time building recruitment strategies, too, depending on your scale of operations.


Building a good strategy

There are goliaths in the market working on this stuff.


Sometimes it is easier to analyse what is not. So what is not a good strategy? “Fill roles in 90 days” is not a strategy. It is an objective. “Deliver superlative candidate experience and build a great employer brand” is too many buzz words.


I think the crux to a good strategy is, having a vision, asking the right questions, working on your strengths, being focused, keeping it simple, and realising strategy formulation is not a one-time effort.


A clear TA vision

Every strategy requires a vision. What follows next in this blog will depend on your idea of your function in the next 3 – 5 years. This is what will give you that direction that is so critical in your strategic planning. Formulating a vision requires commitment from all levels.


But let me reserve this discussion for another day.


Essential questions you need to ask yourself when building a strategy:


Block 1: Where and how do you create value for potential employees?

You might think this is more to do with the HR strategy; think again.

Candidates act like consumers too. They have a choice, so they pick the employer that they think will deliver value to their lives. Great candidates invest time to research organisations and have a clear plan in mind.


Here is where knowing your candidate and your employee persona helps you understand what you need.


One of the CEOs I know said that his goal was to make his employees wealthy. So he set out to give ESOPs to employees and ensured that his HR strategies aligned with his plan. Financial planning exercises were always a part of the employee engagement plans. Incentives were designed to improve the living standards of its employees. No wonder recruiters find it really hard to poach candidates from this company.


Here are some sample value propositions


Block 2: What is your Business and HR Strategy

You don’t want your talent function to work tangential to your business and HR function strategy, which will only put your department under more profound stress.


Your business could have an aggressive growth strategy in new markets, and if your talent acquisition function can’t support this, you could jeopardise your business strategy.


One of the organisations that I knew had a pan India presence. They selected a few locations critical for their growth in the next 2 – 3 years and pushed aggressively for market share in these locations. The HR department wanted to cut costs, got the HR Generalists to own recruiting in these regions, and chose not to engage with external recruitment partners. Not that generalists are bad at recruiting. It is just that they had too much on their plate.


A year down the line, the HR department couldn’t attain their attraction or retention numbers, thereby failing the business.


A long read already! In the next post, we will look at other critical components that you will need to build your strategy.


Till then Ciao!

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