Over the past couple of years, the term ‘talent acquisition’ has become incredibly common in the work culture. Talent acquisition can easily be defined as the process of identifying and recruiting workers whose skills match our organisational needs. In recent times, companies have dedicated talent acquisition teams that undertake the responsibility of assessing candidates and smoothening out the hiring process.

As of today, given the current circumstances revolving around the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations have begun to reassess the future of talent acquisition. Considering how countries around the globe are experiencing a record-high unemployment rate, as well as an ever-increasing pool of job applicants, the efficacy of talent acquisition is brought into question.

What is the importance of talent acquisition?

Talents are the core foundation for business success. Reports suggest that about 80% of CEOs across different industries are growing concerned about not being able to access the right talents for their business to grow. One of the main reasons is that the right talents are expected to bring innovation within the organisation. Choosing the right team members can help the company pursue market opportunities promptly and thus stay on the right track with their growth strategy.

Recruiters are concerned about the difficulties surrounding the hiring process. The competition between applicants is quite fierce, and companies find it hard to identify potential that can bring about changes to their business. With plenty of changes taking place within the talent acquisition sphere, such as a rise in technology, the increasing use of data and analytics, improved networking, and plenty of branding efforts, businesses now understand that their talent acquisition strategies must not only survive the pandemic but also advance to meet current-day needs.

The scenario today

Several colleges and universities worldwide have begun conducting virtual job fairs for their fresh talent pool of graduating students. Some top-notch companies like Nike, Netflix, Disney, and more have also diversified their recruitment efforts by partaking in these virtual job fairs. While it seemed like a feasible idea, there was undoubtedly plenty of uncertainties surrounding the process. These companies were meeting students one-on-one online and came across hurdles in the form of technical glitches and ambiguity regarding personality traits seemed to take centre stage.

Reinventing the talent acquisition function

Organisations are taking the opportunity during the pandemic to choose their preferred recruitment style for the coming years. With plenty of digitisation on the charts, the question now – will companies stick with the traditional human elements of onboarding, or will the process be entirely digitised, or will they strive to strike a balance between the two?

Organisations are keen on attracting more capable workers during these uncertain times, so the need to create an ideal candidate experience is higher than ever. Companies are creating a Talent Interaction Model or TIM, that helps create a blueprint of the various evolving expectations workers have from their chosen organisation, as well as eliminate weaknesses that can create hurdles in attracting the right talent. The TIM also helps organisations conclude whether their approach should be completely digital or intertwined with human elements.

Going with a digitised approach

There has been an upward trend of companies using algorithms and AI to track down and screen potential employees. A typical hiring process involves – attracting candidates, initiating an application, streamlining the selection process, finalising the offer, and onboarding.

This pipeline of the hiring process can be integrated with AI-solutions, like the search for a fitting remote worker profile, or even using AI-based interviews to narrow down potential hires. As of today, 30-40% of companies have tried or are keen on trying out algorithms. The process has been automated by identifying ideal matches based on personality and preferences and creating an automated system that can efficiently identify the right fit for the organisation. For instance, the winner of the 2017 HR Excellence Award, semiconductor firm Infineon, has completely relied on intelligent automation technology to correctly identify their best matches. The talent analytics team at the organisation has shifted its focus on creating a hypothetical candidate profile based on the cues received from the needs and preferences of their previous successful hires. The company makes use of targeted digital tools to automate processes that would otherwise consume way too much time and human resources.

A talent acquisition specialist like Talenx.io can help you identify how much your digital strategy needs to be expanded while also giving you the freedom to incorporate essential human elements into the hiring process.

Innovating the traditional human-led approach

Contrary to the digital overhaul seen in several organisations, several companies report losing out on significant human interactions as they attempt to digitise their hiring process completely. Interestingly, this does not mean that they are completely taking away any human interactions. Given the current circumstances of the world, moving towards a digital approach can do more good than harm, but identifying the balance is certainly the key here. Combining digital functions with personal connections will help companies develop and establish long-term relationships between candidates and the organisation. It is essential for HR discussions to take place to facilitate change in the right direction and eliminate any type of institutionalised bias.

How can you find the right fit for your organisation?

A company’s decision to move forward with either a completely digitised approach or one with more human intervention would depend on several factors.

Firstly, we have to look at the industry in which the company partakes. For instance, services that focus on technology or banking could benefit from more digital interventions than a more human-centric industry like healthcare.

Secondly, it would be crucial to identify and curate a profile for potential employees based on how the global scenario has changed the workplace. If remote work seems like the most feasible option in the near future, candidate profiles will have to be adjusted to suit current requirements.

The talent pool you’re targeting will also come into the picture when choosing a talent acquisition strategy. If your company is new, of-age, and caters to a younger demographic, your workers will also have to be of a similar mindset. Likewise, if the company is more traditional and has a tried-and-tested work culture, new hires have to be comfortable with this environment. Going by this, younger organisations can certainly attract more Gen Z candidates by digitising their approach to talent acquisition. On the other hand, if you are on the lookout for more experienced workers, a more human-led approach can fetch you the best matches.

Next, with several companies doing away with the role of the recruiter, we now have to analyse whether an outsourced third-party talent acquisition function will be better suited to our needs. Of course, an in-house TA function can completely personalise the process to suit the exact needs of the organisation, but such an approach requires plenty of time and training efforts. By opting for a third-party TA firm, companies can rest assured and leave their essential hiring functions in the hands of experienced people who can make the process more streamlined and effective.

A talent analytics firm like TalenX.io can help provide the needed insights for your company to identify applicants that perfectly align with the role’s objectives.

To conclude

The COVID-19 pandemic has led us to resort to virtual assistance to transform HR functions across industries. While the future of talent acquisition currently points towards a digital overhaul, companies are not entirely willing to let go of the human touch. The one guiding factor that remains consistent across organisations is the need to identify and follow through with candidate expectations. Your chosen talent acquisition model should be able to attract the candidates suited for your organisational needs, and from there on, the onboarding process becomes much more streamlined.

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