6 Steps for Building an Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy

6 Steps for Building an Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy

No business can make a mark without the precious resource of human capital, represented by diligent and talented employees. This makes it important for growing businesses to find, train, and onboard top-class talent to support their scaling efforts.

Here’s an example to put the process into perspective: A Texas-based law firm is trying to establish a national presence. It employs some of the best lawyers in Texas, and its amazing reputation has helped it attract new clients from all over the U.S.

What this law firm needs more than anything else now are expert lawyers specializing in legislation from other states. How can it get these lawyers? By implementing an effective talent acquisition strategy.

As the term suggests, a talent acquisition strategy can help you find and hire the right talent in a timely and cost-effective manner. In this article, we discuss what a talent acquisition strategy is and explore how you can build one to get your business to the next level.  

What is a talent acquisition strategy framework?

Talent acquisition strategies are long-term Human Resources (HR) frameworks aimed at finding, attracting, hiring, training, and retaining top talent at a company. The goal of a talent pipeline is to add long-term value in the form of highly qualified employees.

“Long-term” suggests that customer acquisition strategies aren’t limited to just hiring good employees. A great way to understand long-term talent acquisition is by breaking it down into four key processes:

  1. Finding and attracting talent
  2. Hiring the best candidates
  3. Training candidates to turn them into ideal contributors
  4. Retaining talent within your company

A well-designed talent acquisition strategy can help your company save time and resources by streamlining the recruitment process and ensuring that the best applicants are selected for each role. It can also help your organization build a strong employer brand and reputation, which can further attract top talent.

What are the benefits of a talent acquisition strategy?

A well-crafted, long-term talent acquisition strategy can benefit your business in more ways than one. Here are some of the benefits of implementing a solid talent acquisition strategy at your company.

Improved employee productivity

An effective talent acquisition strategy can help you hire and retain talented, diligent workers who increase your business productivity. Employee morale is a significant contributing factor to workplace productivity, directly impacting employee retention.

A high rate of employee turnover is costly in both time and money. Too-frequent recruiting, onboarding, and training efforts add these costs and become frustrating for all involved in the process. Further, you have fewer chances of making the most of your investment if employees quit too soon.

When your employees see many of their co-workers quitting, it can affect their morale and ability to work efficiently.

On the other hand, when a new person is welcomed into the work community, rapidly starts to contribute, and stays on as part of the team, a synergistic improvement in productivity can happen. This increased productivity then inevitably leads to better performance and increased revenue for the company.

A 2017 Harvard Business Review article states that the world’s best companies are close to 40% more productive than the rest, which is why it’s so important for budding businesses to hire top-class talent that can boost their productivity.

Significantly improved company culture

Top-class talent naturally adds to the work culture of a business. Productive and high-performing employees often assume leadership positions where they can help other employees work better and find more efficient solutions to issues and challenges.

Hiring talented employees helps companies switch to more streamlined work processes. When productive and talented employees start assuming positions at all levels within your company, it creates better, more efficient project pipelines where each team functions as a self-sufficient part of a well-oiled machine.

An improved company culture makes it easier for the business to attract and hire more top-class talent. According to a 2019 study by Glassdoor, 77% of adults in the United States consider a company's culture before applying for a job. Companies with a strong employer brand have experienced a 50% reduction in cost per hire.

This means that top-class talent not only improves your work processes but also makes it easier for you to hire more talented employees.

Added revenue

Hiring and keeping top-performing employees can increase your revenue because they produce high-quality work quickly and efficiently—saving you from frequent training and onboarding costs.

Talented employees can also help others on your team become faster and more efficient, helping your company save time, money, and other valuable resources. There’s plenty of data to support the fact that top-class talent brings in more revenue to companies.

Research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that high-performing companies are three times more likely to have a formal onboarding process in place than low-performing companies. This suggests that companies that invest in hiring and retaining top-performing employees can reduce training and onboarding costs while also improving their revenue.

How to build a talent acquisition strategy in 6 steps

Now that we’re clear about what a talent acquisition strategy is and how it can help your business, it’s time to build your own. Follow these six steps:

  1. Define your goals
  2. Articulate what an ideal candidate would be
  3. Identify what sources and platforms you’ll use to look for matches
  4. Develop an engaging recruitment process
  5. Use automation tools
  6. Measure the results of your talent acquisition strategy

1. Define your goals

As with most business strategies, defining your goals is the first step. When creating an effective talent acquisition strategy, list qualitative goals like increasing revenue, reducing training and onboarding costs, and increasing work productivity.

Then, convert those goals into value-based objectives that you can measure using metrics like time to fill, quality of hire, and employee retention rate.

Let’s say you want to improve employee morale and work productivity at your business. You can implement processes to encourage current employees and reward initiative and exemplary work. These steps can drive improved employee morale and productivity and help you retain employees for longer.

Having clear and easily measurable objectives enables you to determine which candidates can positively contribute to your business goals.

2. Articulate what an ideal applicant would be

Next, develop ideal candidate criteria, which include everything you’re looking for in the perfect person to fill the role. Although no applicant will exactly meet every criterion, this set of characteristics, traits, and skills can still provide a standard for evaluating applicants interested in the open position.

Your criteria list might include qualifications, certifications, employee experience, and work ethic. Keep in mind that the order of priority should depend on your hiring goals. If your top priority is to hire highly qualified applicants, give precedence to qualifications while assessing an applicant.

Ideally, you should strike a balance between educational qualifications and relevant work experience.

3. Identify what sources and platforms you’ll use to look for matches

Once you have a clear idea of your ideal candidate, start marketing the open position through relevant channels. You should opt for trusted talent management sources, such as recruitment agencies, job boards, sourcing tools, and websites like Upwork.

Marketing your job position well on these sites is the first step to finding the right candidates. Try to be as transparent and informative as possible in your job listing.

When the right candidates come across your ad, you don’t want them to pass because it’s vague or too generalized. Posting a concise job description and salary range can go a long way in attracting the right candidates.

Once you have a good basic recruitment strategy, you can use alternative sources like employee referral networks. Referral networks can help you come across highly trusted candidates endorsed by people who know and support your business.  

Social media platforms like LinkedIn can also help you advertise your job opening to people active on those social networks.

4. Develop an engaging recruitment process

If your hiring process seems too complicated or lengthy, job seekers might not want to move forward with your company.

This is why setting up a quick recruitment process that resonates with potential candidates and appeals to their interests and strengths is important. Every test or interview that candidates go through should serve a clear purpose. This will help them remain focused and engaged throughout the process.

A straightforward application process also reflects well on your company—potentially encouraging candidates to join your business due to its modern and efficient work culture. A rule of thumb to keep in mind here is the “two-to-three-week” rule.

Most applicants expect a response within two to three weeks of their interview, which is why it’s always good to follow this timeline. You can send emails or text messages during this time to update the candidates on the status of their application.

You should also have a concise, standard onboarding process that every new hire is put through. This process should introduce new employees to your equipment (computer programs and other machines), work processes, and company policies and philosophies in a systematic step-by-step manner.

Learn how to reduce time to hire without sacrificing the quality of applicants.

5. Use automation tools

To interview and assess your candidates in a timely manner, you’ll need to organize all the information on their applications.

You’ll need to ensure all this information is easily accessible to everyone involved in the recruitment process, including your HR department. While this can be tedious, automation tools like Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can help smooth the process.

An ATS automatically organizes incoming resumes and applications into categories based on keywords and custom parameters. This makes it easier to find the right candidates for a given position. For example, if you require a lawyer with over three years of professional experience, you can enter this search filter into the ATS to get customized results.

ATS software like BambooHR and Freshteam can be great assets for your recruitment teams.

You can use Artificial Intelligence (AI) software to simplify decision-making when comparing applicants’ strengths and weaknesses. You might also handle interviews using virtual interview software, which engages with candidates in real time over a webcam.

Investing in the right sourcing tools will ultimately make your hiring process much faster and more efficient, which is why it’s important to conduct thorough market research and find the right tools for your company.

6. Measure the results of your talent acquisition plan

Once you have a talent acquisition strategy, start measuring relevant data points to ensure it’s working effectively. Collecting and analyzing data helps you closely monitor your hiring process.

By adopting a data-driven approach, you can identify issues as soon as they arise and address them before they become more significant problems. Let’s understand this with the help of an example.

Say your LinkedIn job post hasn’t received the user engagement you expected. Monitoring engagement statistics like reactions, reshares, and comments can help you zero in on the problem within the first few weeks of the post going live.

Equipped with this knowledge, you can edit the existing job post or upload a new one to get better engagement.

You should also monitor important efficiency-related statistics like time to hire, cost to hire, and candidate acceptance rates. These statistics help you gain deeper insights into how effective your hiring process truly is and how much value it creates for your business.

Data is the backbone of efficient business processes. Using data to generate real-world insight into your talent acquisition processes can help you shape your hiring strategies, generating better value for your business.

Find the best talent acquisition managers on Upwork

Qualified hiring managers can help you give your hiring efforts the edge they need. At Upwork, we host the world’s largest pool of freelance professionals, including talent acquisition managers and HR professionals. Many professionals on our platform are backed by years of experience and solid qualifications.

Alternatively, if you have relevant hiring experience and want to find the best recruiting jobs, we invite you to list your services on Upwork. We help freelancers get in touch with reputed companies and find work opportunities.

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6 Steps for Building an Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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