The distinct talent acquisition strategies executed by your business will certainly differ from those carried out by other mid-sized and large-scale organizations across industries. That being said, there are certainly popular TA approaches and techniques companies of all kinds implement today to:

  • Write compelling job postings that help them attract top talent (i.e., active job seekers)
  • Enhance their employer brand to better appeal to leads (e.g., job boards, social media)
  • Bolster their talent pool with lots of high-quality candidates with in-demand skill sets
  • Engage other top candidates (passive prospects) via proactive sourcing and nurturing
  • Employ individuals who fill important roles and contribute directly to business growth
  • Institute talent management programs that help existing employees advance internally

To help you improve your org’s recruiting process — and, at the end of the day, hire smarter and faster — we asked several leading TA and HR pros to share their most effective talent acquisition strategies — ones that help them provide a stellar candidate experience and hire high-quality professionals.

7 talent acquisition strategies worth trying

Here are seven proven talent acquisition strategies that can help you better identify, engage, and convert candidates into new hires — ones who can help improve your bottom line and realize your revenue goals.

1) Utilize niche job boards to outcompete bigger employers

Bogdan ZlatkovWhen you’re a small startup, it can be hard to compete with big tech companies whose snack budget is greater than your entire hiring budget. But, I’ve always followed this advice: “To win where you can’t, you have to go where others won’t.”

We quickly realized we can’t compete with larger companies on the big job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed. Our posts simply get buried.

So, we decided to look at more niche job boards — the types that would naturally attract the outside-the-box candidates we were looking for.

Places like Dynamite Jobs, Working Nomads, and, in particular, have been instrumental in sourcing great candidates who understand the value of working at a smaller startup like ours.

2) Build university partnerships to identify top graduates

Cindi KellerWe have implemented a successful talent acquisition strategy through strategic partnerships with universities. Building ties with academic institutions and exploiting their resources to find and engage high-potential students is part of this strategy.

To participate in career fairs, industry-specific events, and campus presentations, we work closely with career services departments and faculty members. We aggressively engage students by building a visible presence on campus, demonstrating the options and career routes accessible within our business.

Moreover, we provide students with internships, co-op programs, and mentorship opportunities to help them develop their relationships. And we develop a pipeline of brilliant people who know our business and values by providing hands-on experience and exposure to our work environment.

I’ve seen carefully built university partnerships turn interns and co-op students into full-time workers.

3) Involve members of your leadership team in your hiring

Travis HannI’m a big believer in letting leaders build their own teams. This approach can be nerve-wracking if you’ve always left placement decisions to your hiring manager, but it’s beneficial in key ways.

Managers have hands-on experience in the cultural climate of the workplace, allowing them to approach hiring holistically. A stellar resume is one thing. Knowing that your office demands a certain communication style is another.

So, let your business leaders into the process. Give them an opportunity to recommend workers both internally and outside of the company, and allow them to work with HR in making the final decision.

4) Combine your data-driven hiring with job ad targeting

Aleksandar GinovskiThe applicant experience encompasses all aspects of a job seeker’s journey, from first impressions to subsequent interactions.

Instead of skimming through piles of resumes and relying on poor signals like candidates’ backgrounds, the most innovative recruiters are able to combine the best of technology and the human touch to create objective and data-driven hiring processes that assess candidates for skills that are critical to their job functions.

Recruiters need to expand their search for qualified candidates beyond the currently unemployed. Since recruiters’ initial interaction with potential hires is based on the job description, it is essential that it be as detailed and specific (and, ideally, compelling) as possible.

Ad placement software is another option. Instead of posting a job online and praying the correct people see it, you can now target your ads to the people most likely to be interested in them.

5) Prioritize the sourcing and engagement of diverse talent

Linn AtiyehAs the CEO of a majority female recruiting firm, I’ve seen firsthand the value of focusing one’s recruitment efforts members of underrepresented groups.

Even the most homogenous industries are waking up to the value of a diversified workforce; it’s not about checking a series of boxes but offering a variety of perspectives to your projects and partners.

Studies have shown that inclusive organizations retain financial benefits that can be attributed to an unbiased workforce. By leading the pack in this approach, you’re more likely to be singled out as a top choice for consulting or collaboration.

What’s more, historically marginalized communities are often rife with hard-working and highly qualified individuals who have been passed over by less forward-thinking hiring managers. Looking to these groups can really give you a big leg up, when it comes to landing top professionals for your business.

6) Source “passives” to avoid over-reliance on applicants

Wendy MakinsonOne approach I recommend for an organization of any size based on effectiveness is passive recruitment (i.e., identifying and reaching out to non-active job seekers).

Essentially, reaching out to your network to approach potential candidates who are otherwise not displaying their need for a new role, but otherwise would be open to working with you because they recognize your brand as an authority in its field.


7) Leverage employee referrals to fill in talent pool “gaps”

Martyna SzczesniakEmployees praise referral programs for being a benefit that gives them a tangible impact on the company’s structure. But we sometimes forget that it is equally helpful for their colleagues working in HR departments.

No matter how thoroughly defined, each company has its own culture, which non-employees cannot fully understand. With that in mind, there is always a risk of hiring a person who, despite being highly qualified, doesn’t fit into the org’s values and atmosphere.

But, the referral system eliminates this problem. The employees, familiar with the company’s particularities, can sense whether their acquaintance’s personality suits the workplace atmosphere. Contrary to hard skills and experience, traditional recruitment can only partially verify this factor.

The efficiency of this strategy lies in its simplicity. The perfect job candidate might be at arm’s length. I have saved considerable time by reaching out to my colleagues for recommendations.

Not all of your talent acquisition strategies need to (or should be) executed by your in-house TA team.

Learn how NXTThing RPO’s premier recruitment process outsourcing services can help your org with candidate sourcing and engagement for critical roles your business needs to fill with top-tier talent.

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