Corporate Eye

Talent Acquisition 2009: No Surprises

Big 2

Looking over Talent Acquisition Strategies 2009: Cutting through the Clutter and Proactively Managing Quality Candidates, a new report from the Aberdeen Group, there’s a definite sense of familiarity.  Almost every finding and every recommendation is related to strategies and tactics that have been covered here on Corporate Eye and widely discussed among recruiting professionals.  So the value of the report is not so much in big news as in validation of the conventional wisdom–and some ideas for strategic fine-tuning.

As mentioned in the introductory post for this series, the report covers a lot of territory.  So I will focus on highlighting the information that pertains to corporate websites, social media, and employer branding.  By way of introduction:

  • The report defines three “maturity classes”—Best in Class (20% of respondents), Industry Average (50%), and Laggards (30%)
  • Class placement is assessed on four measures—percentage of new hires that were top choice; year-over-year increase in candidate quality; year-over-year increase in retention; percentage of new hires meeting or exceeding requirements on first review
  • Differences between Best in Class and Laggards were fairly dramatic in some cases—with BiCs getting 90% of their first choice hires, Laggards only 27%, but . . .
  • Laggards were not as far off in employee success measured by first reviews, with the BiCs showing 90%, the Laggards 71%

So what do we learn about Best in Class practices?  Among other things:

  • BICs are much more likely than Laggards to have a well-defined candidate relationship management process in place
  • As a preferred response to economic stress, expanding the candidate pipeline proactively was the top choice for BiCs (39%) and scaling back on recruiting efforts was the bottom choice (14%)
  • BiCs are significantly more likely than Averages and Laggards to use a variety of pre-hire assessments

In terms of how to build/expand the pipeline of quality candidates, the top two BiC choices were:

  • Cultivating employee referrals (which entails the need to increase employee engagement)
  • Maintaining “an engaging and informative company career portal”

As for other aspect of technology–large percentages (70% to 90%) of all three maturity classes have adopted:

  • Applicant tracking systems
  • Hiring management systems
  • Background screening solutions, and
  • Online career portals (both external- and internal-facing)

The gap between BiCs and all others is also relatively small when it comes to the use of “Web 2.0 and social networking,” but in this case the percentages are all low rather than high.  Less than 30% of companies in each maturity class utilize these capabilities now, with another 30% “planning to use.”

Note that (a) this assessment leaves about 40% with neither implementation nor plan, and (b) BiCs are no further along than Laggards.  (Though of the BiCs that do use social networking tools, three-quarters say their recruiters are trained on use of the tools, while just under half of Laggard users have training in place.)

In a related Aberdeen report (HR Executive’s Guide to Web 2.0: Cracking the Code for Talent Management), a survey of more than 500 companies found that less than half were using Web 2.0 and social networking tools for talent acquisition, but noted a 105% rate of growth in use over the the previous year’s figures.  Respondents in that study identified the greatest value of Web 2.0 tools in recruitment as “[giving] the candidate a sense of the company’s culture.”

I hope anyone who gleans further insights from the Aberdeen report will share—and in the meantime, I’ll offer an additional line of thought in the next post.

(Thanks to gthomasbower for the visual mash-up of Number 2.)

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.