Lead Talent Acquisition with Insight, not Search

Lead Talent Acquisition with Insight, not Search 

When you embark on finding a candidate for a role, the output from an executive search firm is a shortlist of candidates whom they believe are capable, ready to move, and interested in your organisation. In time, you expect that given the amount of work that has gone into the project and the scale of fees, you will recruit one of the candidates who will be a perfect fit for your organisation. You get the solution you’re looking for – a new person in the role.

But, without looking at the insight gained along the way, your organisation is missing out. Missing out on what led the executive search firm to recommend those candidates, missing out on other potential candidates who fell by the wayside in the process, missing out on understanding why people did or did not consider joining your organisation.

Rather than leading TA with search, try leading it with insight. Insight is a powerful by-product of the process which enables you to build a picture of the external talent landscape.

Rise of the talent pipeline

In 2015 I have felt a sharp rise in the demand for talent pipelines, and more and more client conversations revolve around pipelining rather than pure search assignments. This is borne out by the latest FIRM Annual Membership Survey, which lists building talent pools as a top three recruitment priority of the in-house recruitment community.

When I ask my clients about why they want talent pipelines, I’m consistently told that they are a strategic way of:

  • Reducing time to hire
  • Reducing cost to hire
  • Hiring multiple people at no additional cost
  • Being proactive to get ahead of the curve
  • Breaking the cycle of reactive recruiting

Of course, all of the above are perfectly valid benefits but there is so much more untapped value in talent pipelines, and the process of building them. Many recruitment professionals are only scratching the surface.

Finding value in insight

In simple terms, the by-product of a talent pipeline project is raw data from the market, that can be collated and analysed to provide real-time insight. If you can gain intelligence around some or all of the following, then you can flex your approach to talent acquisition accordingly:

  • Organisation design: Is the role you’re pipelining for in the right place and reporting to the right person? How are your competitors structured? How big are their teams? What is working/not working? One digital media client recently discovered that two specific competitors who were outperforming the market had much smaller, nimbler teams. This has provided weight for a similar restructure to improve results.
  • Pay and reward: What are equivalent post-holders paid elsewhere? Is your Company upper quartile or lower quartile? How do benefits packages compare? Are you genuinely losing out due to salary? The high expectations of an engineering client were managed when a huge body of evidence showed that individuals with the essential qualifications and experience required for certain roles were earning considerably more elsewhere. With their growth plans hindered by recruitment difficulties, there is now a valid business case to authorise greater flexibility to unblock the bottleneck.
  • Diversity: Which companies are leading the way? How are they achieving this? Our research often demonstrates that clients are not as far behind the curve as they may initially think. Insight offers a pan-industry view of the landscape, out of which best practice can be extracted.
  • Role benchmarking: How does job scope compare? How are the most successful companies doing things? A high volume distributor wanted to grow a specific function to become world class. Market insight highlighted that a slightly different structure to a key leadership role would open up interest from an elite talent pool.
  • Brand Perception: What do people actually think about your brand? Why aren’t they interested? Who do they rate in the Industry? What could you do differently? One of our consultancy clients felt they had a poor brand perception in Germany which was hindering their growth plans. Insight generated from our research contradicted this, but rather pinpointed office location as a major deal breaker. As a consequence, greater flexibility was offered to working arrangements, which in turn reduced time to hire.

Ultimately, Insight can make a real difference. In building your talent pipelines, consider insight too. This powerful combination can unlock the potential to gain competitive advantage. It is going to be really big in 2016!

What do you think? Feel free to agree/disagree/engage below.

Tim is a Lead Client Director for Write Research and has nigh on 20 years’ experience of talent research, insight and pipelining solutions. Write Research help clients make better informed people decisions, based on real time insight from research.


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Talent Search

We use research to help you hire the best talent into an immediate need at a reduced cost and time to hire.

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Talent Pipelining

We use research to help you build pools of the best talent to meet your short, medium or long term talent needs. Helping to break the cycle of reactive recruiting.

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Talent Insight

We use research to help you build a real-time picture of the external market so you can make better informed decisions.

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