Talent Management Trends 2017

Securing the best candidate: Beyond best practice is next practice

Attracting the right talent is becoming increasingly more competitive – and sophisticated. How do organisations know whether their adaptation is fast or effective enough? We look at what ahead-of-the-game sourcing strategies look like.

In the last twelve months, we’ve seen a significant uplift in best practice standards, that are both strategic and inventive.

What’s driving these changes? The usual suspects: new skills requirements in a dynamic market, consolidation of functions, rapid growth in businesses, globalisation, millennial expectations, merger and acquisition activity and big data usage.

What does doing it better now look like? Here are the questions the best in class organisations are asking themselves?

1. Do we have superior brand to our rivals?

We know that employer branding is a critical success factor in attracting talent. And that the weighting between remuneration and more aesthetic aspects of the brand have shifted towards the latter. For example, millennials in particular are looking for organisations who make a difference, and have a purpose beyond profit.

But a polished EVP – employee value proposition – even if it was, developed even as recently as six months ago, might not be enough. Are we being blinded by organisational bias into believing ours is better than our competition? Are we really clear about what our rival EVP’s look like and how they are promoting it? Is our intelligence accurate and up to date?

If our objective is to beat the competition, EVP is a critical place to start. With the best talent, our chances of success double.

What’s important to candidates should shape the EVP. Research from around the globe suggests that what’s important to candidates in this order is:

  • company culture that is high performing, inclusive and flexible;
  • career progression that is visible and rapid for those qualified, and addresses technical expertise not just people leadership;
  • benefits packages that are competitive and well balanced;
  • the company brand and reputation;
  • and alignment to a compelling vision and laudable values.

2. Are we measuring and hiring for potential and agility from day one?

Current performance is not a strong or valid indicator of future performance at a higher level (or for a more complex role). Most large and sophisticated organisations that invest in profiling to uncover potential and learning agility, undertake these measures among existing employees, some months or years after they arrive.

At the sourcing stage, it used to be that validation of technical skills outweighed these considerations. The ahead-of-the-game players today have switched this weighting on its head – a candidates’ ability to learn new things rapidly outweighs what they know today. Ahead-of-the-game organisations are now using advanced tools to evaluate future potential, before the employee is hired.

This situation generates many questions. Do our sourcing systems and strategies accommodate this new requirement? Do our hiring managers understand what to look for and why? Are we sourcing “talent” from both internal and external domains consistently? If not, how do we go about doing this? How, for example, would we know that one of our competitors’ rising stars is likely to be frustrated in nine months’ time? Do we have a system to start a conversation with such a person, that is compelling? Does our EVP have the right mix to attract this candidate?

3. How does our CX – The Candidate Experience - compare with our rivals?

By CX we don’t mean Customer Experience – we mean Candidate Experience. We have noticed over the last two years a strong trend in candidates evaluating rival offers by assessing how robust, comprehensive, and candidate focused the recruitment process is. Poor engagement and management of candidates has diminished, and more critical talent is acquired by search strategies rather than broadcast strategies. This more passive and collaborative approach to sourcing is just as well, because first impressions have never been more important.

What are the crucial elements of a first-rate candidate experience? How do we measure ourselves in this regard – anecdotal passing comments, or real intelligence independently gathered? How does our CX compare with our rivals? What real data do we have? What will candidates who don’t get the role say about our company and our process?

HFL has several clients that invest heavily in candidates whom they don’t hire, ensuring unsuccessful candidates get independent feedback, access to test results, and an opportunity to provide the employer with feedback. These clients are focused on long term brand and reputation, knowing that unsuccessful candidates, treated so well, will share their experiences with their extensive professional networks.

4. The rise of sourcing data analytics

We’ve focused on just three areas where we see challenges for human capital sourcing teams, and all three lead into a broader trend: using data analytics to assess the effectiveness and competitiveness of current sourcing strategies. Gathering the data has become a full-time role, within some companies.  For others it is driving a consolidation of the HR function so that the constituent parts can see the full sourcing cycle more holistically.

The advent of high touch on-boarding, and using the data and experiences of the sourcing journey, are now commanding great attention and investment.

We’ve hired the best candidate, but how do we get that individual making a meaningful contribution as quickly as possible? What can we do to drive the “ready to perform well” date three months earlier? How does our “ready to perform” data compare with competitors?


Best practice is no longer enough, particularly if your competitors for talent have moved on to next practice.

Is it time for you to start a new project – a Sourcing Strategy Audit?


We help organisations understand the talent they need, the talent they have, and how to map – and fill – the gaps. The Battle for Talent has never been so fierce. Organisations that develop strategically aligned talent strategies, and the tools and templates that enable them to identify the right people for the right roles (both internally and externally) create a competitive advantage. We help you in a timely and cost effective way.

Contact us for an obligation free discussion.

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