What Ails Talent Acquisition? A Shortage of Innovation

innovation shortageFor the past few weeks, I’ve been hard at work analyzing results of Brandon Hall Group’s Talent Shortage and Hiring Practices Study. Launched in April, this study examined the so-called talent shortage by identifying the greatest pain points in talent sourcing, and assessing where real skills gaps exist versus where reactionary recruiting models are seriously limiting the ability to find, attract, engage, and hire quality candidates.

The goal of this study was not only to gain a better understanding of what’s driving the perception of a worldwide talent shortage, but also to gather data on how organizations are innovating in order to compete for top talent on a global scale.

I’m thrilled at the response – thanks in part to survey distribution partners like HireVue, iCIMS, and SilkRoad. The survey garnered responses from 355 leaders in talent acquisition and human capital management working in 42 industries, spanning 31 countries. Today I’ll be presenting initial findings at SilkRoad Connections 15 in Orlando. I wanted to share a couple of key points with my readers here:

Shortage or No, Talent Attraction Continues to be a Challenge

Regardless of stance on whether there is a pervasive shortage of talent or not, one thing is clear: attracting talent is the leading challenge for employers today – with 64% of respondents listing it as one of their greatest challenges. Finishing a distant second was building external talent pools, cited by 46% of respondents. Making competitive offers to top talent was third (40%).

While some are diversifying sourcing strategies, few recruiting teams are making any significant gains in employer brand awareness. The concept of talent attraction, though easy to understand, is difficult to operationalize – especially in reactive recruiting environments. Until hiring organizations can establish a strong understanding of the scope and function of employer brand – as well as the impact of candidate experience – attraction will continue to be a challenge.

Most Organizations Don’t Develop Their Talent Pools

Many respondents said building talent pools is a major challenge – and a key area for improvement in the war for talent. But less than one-quarter of respondents actively practice any major form of candidate engagement:

Engagement Practice Agree/Strongly Agree
We have a blog for recruiting and candidate relationship management 7%
We have an online talent community 22%
We have a robust recruitment marketing strategy in place 23%
We utilize rich content and social media marketing for recruitment 24%

Most organizations lack established best practices for nurturing candidates with industry-relevant content, company-related updates, and value-add conversations. They therefore have a lot of work to do before they can realistically expect high-quality talent to engage with their recruiters, hiring managers, or even their employer brand outside of the hiring process. The unfortunate reality is that the dynamic talent communities that feed into a steady pipeline of quality candidates require dedicated resources – time and energy not the least among them. The majority of hiring organizations just aren’t there today.

Upcoming research reports will dig into data points more extensively, and draw on additional information from interviews in order to provide deeper insights into the rapidly changing talent economy. We’ll also offer actionable insights on how today’s hiring organizations can innovate in order to compete more effectively.

For now, I think it’s clear that the conversation needs to shift gears – moving away from a perceived shortage of talent, and toward the very real shortage of innovation in talent acquisition that exists today.

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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