Talent Acquisition Strategy

Talent acquisition strategies should encompass the whole gamut of the recruitment process. An effective talent strategy intentionally creates and/or chooses job descriptions, resume filtration, applicant tracking systems (ATS), job boards, skill sets, and competencies. It also involves employer branding by creating messaging about your company culture. The way you manage current talent also plays into the success of strategic talent acquisition. Incorporating these facets encourages the best talent to become your potential candidates.

Read more about Talent Acquisition Strategy below.

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Talent Acquisition Strategy

Talent is the most critical resource for businesses, especially small businesses. Excellent services or products will fail without great talent. This reality makes talent acquisition strategies crucial to success. Many small businesses get stuck building the airplane in the air regarding talent acquisition strategy. This leads to underdeveloped strategies and inefficient hiring processes, which stymy potential growth.

Talent acquisition strategies should encompass the whole gamut of the recruitment process. An effective talent strategy intentionally creates and/or chooses job descriptions, resume filtration, applicant tracking systems (ATS), job boards, skill sets, and competencies. It also involves employer branding by creating messaging about your company culture. The way you manage current talent also plays into the success of strategic talent acquisition. Incorporating these facets encourages the best talent to become your potential candidates.

The talent acquisition landscape changes rapidly. The evolving dynamics between talent, employers, and the technology that connects them are challenging to keep up with. Social media such as LinkedIn, ATS, and recruitment websites like Glassdoor or Indeed increase connectivity yet muddy the water for businesses.

What is Strategic Talent Acquisition

What is Strategic Talent Acquisition?

Strategic talent acquisition is the development of scalable and effective ways to attract qualified candidates. A strategic talent initiative considers stakeholders, job openings, employer branding, company culture, perks, and budgets, then coordinates these items into career pages, job descriptions, job postings, and hiring practices to find new hires. Human resources or outsourced HR professionals handle the task of developing strategic talent acquisition.

Strategic Talent Acquisition also takes into account talent management and retention. Once a business attracts qualified candidates, it must keep those employees engaged at work. This leads to a better reputation of company culture, which will attract more top talent in the future.

Talent Acquisition Vs. Recruiting Vs. Staffing

Talent acquisition, recruiting, and staffing are all interchangeable words. However, some professionals hold different meanings for these phrases. Talent acquisition refers to a holistic view of attracting talent in these cases. This view includes building relationships with candidates, hiring practices, and onboarding. Recruiting would meaning attracting talent to fill a single position, such as an HR hiring manager. Staffing refers to hiring an agency to fill positions that are typically low level. 

5 Key Elements to Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy for Small Business

Talent acquisition strategy includes the vision for the company, what type of employees match that vision, and how to get there. Here are the 5 key elements to making your strategy an effective talent acquisition strategy:

  1. Compelling employer branding– Recruiting strategy is also a marketing strategy. Attracting the best employees requires effective company messaging. Small businesses need to think through how to describe the culture, what the business does, how the business is growing, and what a potential employee can expect from being hired. Job seekers want to be a part of engaged company culture and/or a business with a unique mission. Small businesses should ask the question, does my messaging align with the type of people I am trying to recruit? Tweak the messaging until the answer is a resounding yes.
  2. Visible Job Postings- Small businesses may not have the funds to create sponsored job posts on sites like LinkedIn; however, companies can employ tactics like effective SEO writing, internal networks, and social media. Over 60% of job seekers search using Google or a job site during their search process; therefore, your job descriptions need to be searchable. Many jobs fill through internal networks. While developing your strategy, ensure jobs are visible to current employees and entice them to recruit people from their network. Finally, social media, including LinkedIn, is a great way to advertise your job to different networks.
  3. Established communication flow– Small businesses have an edge to attract top talent with the potential to communicate more frequently and more personally. Larger companies receive hundreds or even thousands of applicants for their openings. Small businesses should build a culture of taking time to personalize the application process, checking in on candidates, being transparent with timing, and providing feedback.
    Communication flow is also essential internally for an effective talent acquisition strategy. When developing the process, think through the workflows for communicating internally about potential candidates. Who initially reaches out to candidates about receiving or not receiving an interview? When are the managers included? How will interviews be scheduled? All of these should be established to provide a scalable strategy.
  4. End-to-End talent acquisition process- The best talent acquisition strategies develop a plan from attracting talent to engaging talent as an employee. The beginning and end goals inform each other to create a holistic approach to the recruiting strategy. For example, the weaknesses identified while hiring a new employee should be turned into a development plan.
  5. Flexibility to change based on company shifts or analytics– All small business employees understand that the ability to pivot is, well, pivotal for the success of the business. Processes, technology, and people change frequently. One hire or resignation can make a big difference in the hats people wear or the business’s strategy. An effective talent acquisition strategy is liquid enough to move with business changes.
    Both industry and internal data should drive changes to strategy as well. As your small business implements its hiring processes, collect data on total time from engagement to offer, applicant numbers from different sources, employee referrals, demographics, etc. These, combined with industry data about salary, remote work vs. office work, benefits, technology, etc., will help drive significant adjustments to your talent acquisition strategy.

How Do You Develop A Talent Acquisition Strategy?

Developing a talent acquisition strategy involves building a talent acquisition framework to be applied whenever hiring new talent for a vacancy. Here are 10 example questions to ask when building your talent acquisition framework.

  1. How will we market our company? Is this consistent across our actions and external media?
  2. What is the process for deciding when we need to hire new talent?
  3. How will we develop competencies and job descriptions? How will we include stakeholders in developing these?
  4. Where will we post job openings? How will we take employee referrals?
  5. Will we build or buy an applicant tracking system?
  6. How will we decipher who a qualified candidate is? Do they have to meet every job requirement?
  7. What standardization will there be in our hiring process and hiring decisions? A consistent scorecard and interviewer?
  8. What are our budgets for hiring and the position?
  9. What kind of metrics will we collect?
  10. Who will manage this process? The HR department or an outsourced company?

These 10 questions are a great start to building a practical strategic talent acquisition roadmap. All these answers should tie back into your business goals to make them strategic. Also, answer each question thinking about which stakeholders should be involved. For example, does the CFO need to be involved with budgeting? Finally, a solid framework consists of adjusting the framework based on growth and analyzing metrics.

What is a modern talent acquisition strategy?

Modern talent acquisition processes effectively use tools and transparency to attract talent. The talent pool is currently accessed through the internet and media. Most small business owners give the task of hiring to their HR team or handle it themselves. Navigating this landscape can time consuming for owners or employees who already have a lot on their plate. In the past, potential candidates have less visibility of the entire business. Now, with social networks that review companies and websites, modern talent acquisition is a web encompassing the whole business.

One modern talent acquisition strategy is to outsource hiring to a business with a talent acquisition team. A recruiting/staffing agency will use its networks to source talent for your company. An outsourced HR company will help you build scalable hiring practices. They can also handle the entire talent pipeline process from discovery of open positions to budget to hiring decisions. In essence, they are external hiring managers.

Modern and innovative talent strategies also use metrics to develop talent acquisition plans. Effective talent acquisition strategies combine industry trends with collected data to inform and develop processes to attract the best candidates. Small businesses should track which job postings their top candidates come from. Data analytics will inform better recruiting processes in the future.

Talent Acquisition Analytics Examples

Talent acquisition metrics should be grouped into two categories: industry data and internal data. Some data points exist in both types, which provides an excellent measure for your business.

Industry Analytics Examples:

  • Time to Fill- Average time for a company to fill a position
  • Time to Hire- Average time for an applicant from applying to being onboarded
  • Demographic Data- Typical demographic data rates for the position and location you are hiring for
  • Salary and Benefits- Average salary and benefits for similar jobs and companies
  • Work setting preference- statistics on the preference for remote work flexibility
  • Overall employment statistics (retention, resignations, unemployment, etc.)

Internal Analytics Examples:

  • Time to Fill- Time for a company to fill a position
  • Time to Hire- Time for an applicant from applying to being onboarded
  • Days in Each Stage- average time candidates spend in each phase of the hiring process
  • Acceptance Rate- Ratio of offers to acceptances
  • Demographic Data- Gender, race, ethnicity, location, and any other relevant demographic data for your company
  • Source Data- which sources are driving the most potential candidates and which are driving the least
  • Cost per hire- Total cost to post about a job, interview, onboard, etc.
  • Total Applicants vs. Qualified Applicants- Ratio of how many applicants are qualified

Technology hiring trends

Small businesses should keep in touch with the technology hiring trends. Not every trend will be suited for your business, but it is important to know the candidate’s experience. For example, many companies now use an applicant tracking system. This gives transparency for the applicant to know what part of the process they are in. However, many systems are also used for preliminary weed-out questions such as education, experience, or hard skills.

Other current trends are phone screens, virtual interviews, and recorded interviews. These technologies can be effective depending on the position. However, it is important to consider how this also hinders certain applicants well. A virtual interview might be difficult for someone without a quiet and easily accessible place to take the call.

Talent Strategies Services Built For Small Business

Many small businesses do not have the time, money, or talent to build out an effective talent acquisition strategies service. That is why at Milestone, we have a team ready to help you at a fraction of the cost of an internal build-out.

Our outside perspective, combined with years of experience, will help build strategies tailored for your small business. Our goal is to turn your back office functions into a competitive advantage by learning the depths of your business and providing expert solutions.

Want to learn more? Click here to listen to our Director of Talent Strategies, M.T. Ray, and Contact us to begin a partnership to create meaningful change for your business.

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