When recruiters turn marketers

Applicants seeking more authenticity, meaning and transparency, the massive use of social media by jobseekers, the war for talent: HR needs to adapt to a fast-changing labour market and society.

Recruitment and marketing

This swift change of paradigm has coincided with a shortage of applicants in certain sectors – especially healthcare and software development, as well as IT, engineering and technical in general.

In this wholly new context, the ‘talent acquisition manager’ function that appeared recently is significant. It is a response to the need for a more efficient, more business-oriented recruitment process that attracts and retains the best applicants at a lower cost. In short, recruiters are turning into marketers.

At the intersection of several internal company functions, these modern-day dowsers go beyond traditional recruitment. They implement a full-on candidate-search strategy that ranges from strengthening the employer brand to marketing, via the employee experience.

What issues does talent acquisition address and what are its main functions?

Facing new HR challenges  

When an environment becomes more complex, it is not uncommon that hybrid worker types emerge to respond to new issues.

For instance, in the IT sector, the massive use of data analysis to feed algorithms and other machine-learning models has led to the emergence of functions such as data scientist or data analyst, designed to enable companies to use data directly in the service of their business and strategy.

The same applies to recruitment. As the economy continues to speed up, it is critical that companies acquire talent whose skills exactly match the company’s needs.

HR professionals are shifting from repetitive transactional recruitment to strategic conversational recruitment.

“It’s no longer a matter of simply filling holes in an organisational chart, posting ads online and conducting interviews. It’s about designing a strategy to genuinely capture the talent that’s essential to an organisation.” Amélie Alleman, founder of Betuned.

Talent acquisition managers differ from traditional recruiters – with whom they share certain tasks – in that they anticipate the needs of a company before and after recruitment.

Strategic analysis

A talent acquisition manager’s actions are not based on a moment of urgency. They collect data, analyse it and optimise the recruitment process by aligning it with the company’s vision.

According to a recent survey, 85% of the jobs of 2030 do not yet exist. No one can predict the future – but that, nevertheless, is what is demanded of a talent acquisition manager. It’s like designing a marketing plan: you have to ask the right questions and know how to find the answers.

What are the company’s new-talent requirements in the short, medium and long term? How will the job market evolve and which candidate pools are likely to dry up? How to keep a level head in such a situation?

The ultimate goal is to create a strong and consistent link between the organisation’s business goals and the setting-up of an efficient, supportive and complementary team.

Branding

The image of the company is in the hands of the talent acquisition manager.  Here again, marketing comes into play, since it is a matter of making the employer brand, i.e. the company’s image, attractive to its staff and potential applicants. This also includes marketing and communications efforts to enhance and communicate it.

83% of recruiters say that employer branding is key to attracting the best talent.

The company values and culture, innovation, work atmosphere, in-house training: nothing should be left to chance, everything needs to be highlighted and the right channels used to reach the right audience.

Talent acquisition managers adjust their media mix like true marketers, who measure the achievement of their goals using carefully selected KPIs: number of views, clicks, shares or relevant applications received.

Specialised platforms, professional social media – such as LinkedIn – or mass media such as Facebook, professional events: nothing must be left to chance to reach the target applicants.

One of the most innovative current media, the recruitment video, makes it easier to get messages across to a wider audience by giving the company an image that is in step with the times. Another advantage is that it enables applicants to be better targeted for a specific position. This means recruiters waste less time sorting them out.

Acquisition

This is the core task of talent acquisition managers: to speed up and fine-tune the recruitment process with a view to profitability.  Talent acquisition differs from traditional recruitment in that it is a proactive approach in which the applicant is supported well before and after the job interview:

  • sourcing: identifying and contacting potential applicants;
  • outsourcing: using specialist headhunting firms;
  • job interview: validate the preliminary selection, determine the applicant’s motives and describe their future tasks;
  • hiring: validate the application internally and offer the candidate a suitable position with related opportunities for development;
  • onboarding: welcome the new recruit enthusiastically and ensure that they are well integrated into the team.

Support change and improve performance

Compartmentalised organisational systems known as ‘silos’ will soon be a thing of the past. Cross-team collaboration and multidisciplinarity are gradually becoming the norm.

The talent acquisition manager function perfectly matches this paradigm shift by taking the HR function beyond its usual tasks to involve all company functions: marketing, communications, IT and business teams.

A talent acquisition manager means that HR is not simply considered to be a support function, but instead ensures that recruitment is more strategic and marketing-oriented.

“In today’s competitive environment, all activity sectors need a talent-acquisition strategy. The best organisations are those that anticipate their future needs and make their HR policy a constant search for the best talent,” Dee Ann Turner, CEO of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain.

Conclusion

It does indeed appear that talent acquisition is a function that the recruitment industry cannot escape. By giving the recruitment business a more strategic, marketing focus, the talent acquisition manager reinstates staff to the core of business performance. This is a crucial vision that has its place in HR departments that aim to anticipate change rather than undergo it.

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