Talent Acquisition has changed more in the last 2 years than in the previous 20 — it’s remarkable.
As CCO of Fraser Dove, I have been fortunate enough to meet over 100 TA Directors in Life Sciences over the last 6 months. I managed to gain unique access to the challenges, ideas, and programs that are reshaping the industry.
It’s no secret that larger companies have better talent acquisition resources. Unfortunately, as the talent crunch worsens, small and medium-sized businesses will struggle to acquire top-tier talent unless they fight smart.
To help lower the barrier to talent, we’re sharing some secret information that your business can use to dramatically improve your talent acquisition processes. This information fits into one of three categories:
Commonly referred to as D&I (Diversity and Inclusion), at FDI, we think this is the wrong way round. After all, you can’t be diverse without first being inclusive.
Diversity doesn’t just refer to gender and ethnicity; it also includes disability, neurodiversity, and many other protective characteristics. Due to unconscious attitudes, various things can alienate diverse groups that you may not have considered. We’ll explore a handful below:
One of the biggest ways businesses are cutting themselves off from a wide range of diverse talent happens right at the beginning — job adverts.
From a talent acquisition point of view, perhaps the worst thing you can do is include a long list of requirements for the position. While you may think it whittles down unsuited applicants, these long lists dissuade capable candidates from applying for the job.
For one, “women want to be 100% sure before they take on the next role”. This means the more conditions you have, the less likely women will even apply for the position.
Instead of including a ‘wish list’ of skills (which can make the job ad lengthy and confusing), stick to the essential information and watch a better variety of candidate applications fly in.
A piece of data we came across at the LEAP TA conference is that diverse candidates are 40% more likely to accept a role with an organisation that includes a ‘non-traditional individual’ in their interview process.
Essentially, involving diverse employees in the hiring process makes you more likely to acquire diverse talent.
You also want to have an inclusive assessment process that isn’t constrained by traditional interview formats. Many great candidates don’t perform well under verbal interrogation or when forced to tell stories.
Getting more inclusive at every step is a great way to access diverse, hidden talent pools and stand out from the traditional employers in your space.
In the same way a customer’s online journey is mapped, we’re starting to see the same thing happening for candidates — in 2023 and beyond, talent really will act like a consumer.
As such, companies are quickly wising up to the idea that candidate experience dramatically affects their talent acquisition rates. The most alert leaders have realised that candidates are gaining power and becoming their most important customers.
Digital Hiring Identity
When it comes to talent acquisition, one of the most important things to be aware of is your digital hiring identity. This includes:
- Business Leaders’ LinkedIn Profiles
- Careers Pages
- Well-crafted Job Adverts
- Hiring Leaders’ Recommendations
Your digital hiring identity is a massive selling point when it comes to recruiting new people. Your primary goal should be to get them through the door and sat down for an interview. Of course, how effective you are depends on the attractiveness of your ‘digital shop window’, and the ease with which people can engage with you.
More than ever, people are picking a leader rather than a job. Simply put, we trust people more than we trust company brands. Unlocking the recruitment marketing potential in your executives is a great way to stand out.
The first step is to get their LinkedIn profiles optimised, recommendation-heavy, and full of passion for their current mission. Candidates spend a lot of time reviewing these profiles before deciding whether or not to attend an interview; don’t miss out on this excellent influencing opportunity.
Following that, you should look at personal branding activities such as conference speaking, content production, and podcast appearances. The goal is to stand out as leaders people will want to learn from and work for.
Digital Candidate Experience
Once your leaders’ personal brands have wowed a candidate, it becomes all about the experience. Future employees judge your culture based on every touch point.
For example, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is during the application process. If an applicant uploads their CV, and then has to manually enter the information again into your ATS, they’re unlikely to continue the process.
This should be easy to rectify, yet it’s a widespread pain point for all candidates. If you review your full candidate journey, you will identify various pinch points like this that can be optimised to deliver quick wins.
Digital Touch Points
After a candidate has met you and is progressing along the hiring journey, you need to consider your continued contact methods.
Amid a competitive job market, you need to ensure you stay in contact with a potential candidate regularly. Available individuals in the life sciences are receiving job offers left, right, and centre — and it’ll only get more intense. So if an applicant doesn’t hear from you for two weeks while you’re deciding, they might accept a different offer and leave the market.
Developing and maintaining effective continued contact methods keep you in contact with a candidate, even if they’re unsuccessful. Some candidates may not be suitable right now, but will be in the future. Automation, content, and digital updates which offer transparency on the hiring process can be implemented for huge gains.
For unsuccessful candidates, instead of losing them completely, perhaps invite them to an online community. Keep them engaged with your brand, and once they’ve developed, you can attempt to hire them again.
Data is integral to talent acquisition. Proper use of data can tell you how well certain streams work at attracting talent. It’ll also tell you which areas of your digital identity potential candidates see and interact with most often.
There are two types of data you can use:
Using your internal data effectively and monitoring hiring metrics is an excellent way of limiting your weak points. This data can highlight your company’s hiring speed and efficiency, whilst showing you any gaps that need to be closed.
Some metrics which provide you with a better insight into your business’ hiring functions include:
- Time to Hire
- Days in Stage
- Offer Acceptance Rate
- Probation pass success rate
- Number of high-potential hires
For example, if your ‘Days in Stage’ metric is relatively high, you could lose out on talent before they’ve even progressed to the offer stage. One easy-to-solve issue could be if you’re waiting for a certain number of applicants before starting.
By the time you’ve reached the ‘quota’ of applicants, competitors may have already snapped up some of the best. Instead, start the process as soon as the first candidate applies.
One of the greatest tools available to you is competitor data. By collating and analysing competitor data, you can create ‘scorecards’. In turn, this can give you extraordinary insights into your competitors’ soft spots, and how best to attract their people.
Some good competitor data to consider:
- Drug development cycle
- Flexible working policies
- Compensation and benefits
- D&I stats
Once armed with this competitor data, you should be able to tailor your InMail, emails, and headhunting calls in a way which drastically improves your hit rate.
There is no doubt that Talent Acquisition is harder than ever. Still, as an industry, we have an incredible opportunity to impact our businesses in a way we never have before.
Focus on getting the 3 D’s in place and firing, and you’ll maximise that impact.
Further Developing your Talent Acquisition
Interested in further improving your hiring procedures? Contact Andrew MacAskill.
Andrew has significant experience in helping both applicants and hiring managers improve their attraction. His stellar work on personal branding even earned him LinkedIn’s Top Voice for Careers 2022.
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