Article: Have you hit a Talent Acquisition wall?

Talent Acquisition

Have you hit a Talent Acquisition wall?

If you’ve hit the Talent Acquisition wall, re-investing in your sourcing efforts could be the injection of pure glucose you need to get things started back on the right track.
Have you hit a Talent Acquisition wall?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a successful TA professional, and probably consider problem-solving to be one of your greatest strengths – as a matter of fact, assessing and conquering problems probably comes so second-nature to you, it likely seems more like instinct than anything else, like a routine you don’t even need to think about.

Every time your ATS alerts a new opening, your brain automatically jumps into problem-solving mode – what is the available talentpool? What’s my sourcing plan? Which LinkedIn groups would be best for planting a cheeky job advert or ‘question’? Which relevant competitor lists, amazing boolean search strings, employee referral promotions? The list goes on and on in the time you’ve barely blinked an eye, and it always gets the job done…until it doesn’t.

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. So what happens when your applications levels drop off? What do you do when your interview-to-hire ratio has reached the floor? What happens when you hit the recruitment wall?

When the same old routine won’t cut it, it’s time to go back to basics and remember the 3 S’s –Sourcing, Selection & Service.


Of our 3 S’s, sourcing is the slightly taller, slightly better-looking older brother. Without intelligent, creative, and ruthless sourcing, you will never win the war for talent.

There are countless blogs and articles that delve deep into the dark art of sourcing, and while I will not dig further into the subject matter in this short article, I will recommend that you ask yourself this simple question as the first step of assessing your process:

“What have I done in the past 48 hours to increase targeted candidate interest in my company?”

(And no, refreshing a job posting doesn’t count)

Regardless of your specific job role, we are all sourcers. As a ‘Recruitment Business Partner’ or 'Senior Recruiter', it’s easy to lock into the feeling that sourcing doesn’t fit the strategic nature of your job. However I 100% advocate employing a dedicated sourcing team, but even that effort will only get you halfway there. If you aren’t actively hunting for the best available talent, you’re only reacting at a time when you should be acting. After all, if the right candidates aren’t found, you’ll still be held responsible, regardless of your title.

If you’ve hit the Talent Acquisition wall, re-investing in your sourcing efforts could be the injection of pure glucose you need to get things started back on the right track.

My Top 3 Sourcing


1. Conduct a post-mortem for each and every agency hire

You were fishing from the same pool, so how did your external agency partner find such a great hire? Conduct a review, analyse the candidate’s LinkedIn profile for keywords you may have missed, ask the new hire what the difference was for them, and learn from the experience

2. Make it personal

Your first contact is likely to be through email or inmail. So make it personal – make it look like this is the one inmail you’re sending all week. Reference the candidate’s current employer, school, or something unique. Mention something that none of your competitors would take the time to mention. That candidate could end up being extremely important to you, so why not start the conversation as if you already know they are?

3. Think like a candidate

Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be -- if you were the target candidate, would you find your job posting or respond to your email?


The days of posting a job and receiving hundreds of 'active', fully engaged candidates are gone. But do your hiring managers know that? Do they know that a large percentage of the candidates they’ll interview are passive candidates who are also selecting you as a potential employer?

Do the hiring managers also know that when fighting for the right talent, a twelve-stage process taking 8 weeks to complete for a low-to-medium-level role will accomplish nothing but to lose great candidates to more agile, talent-focused competitors.

Partnering with, educating, and coaching your hiring managers will result in tremendous ROI for your efforts. Remember, this is your area of expertise, not theirs. Managers need a 'toolkit' to effectively interview both active and passive candidates if you’re going to convert your sourcing efforts into hires, and they aren’t going to build it on their own. Finding a selection process that is agile, speedy, and diligent is the utopia for any TA professional, and for a more in-depth read on the subject, I recommend the “A Player” interview methodology from Geoff Smart & Randy Street. Check it out here:  


From time to time you may have forgotten to get back to a candidate, left candidates too long in the ATS without action, or not given feedback even when you knew you should have?  Altering your perspective to ensure every candidate is treated as a customer can be a difficult process, but it’s so important within this talent-scarce market. A job seeker’s journey is guaranteed to be littered with generic EVP’s, time-consuming and frustrating ATS applications, and at times, no better reward than an underwhelming rejection email. Just because a candidate isn’t right for one specific opening doesn’t mean they can’t be perfect for a different one down the road. But if their first experience applying with your company is a negative one, what enticement do they have to ever try again, or to recommend you to a friend? And if they are the candidate you’ve been searching for, why would they choose your offer over an equivalent one from a competitor?

Make the candidate experience your calling card

When was the last time you applied to a job? Do you remember the time and effort you invested when you decided to apply or move forward with an interview process? Maybe you can’t guarantee them a job, but at the least you should be able to make sure their application experience pays off in Candidate ROI. If there’s no ROI, how could there ever be any reason to invest? 

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, Strategic HR, #TAWeek

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