Is it Talent Acquisition OR Talent Attraction?

by Scott Nissen, owner/president of Nissen Staffing Continuum

We’re in a talent shortage market.  We can debate if it’s a talent gap or body count shortage, but there’s no debate when it comes to demand outstripping the readily available supply. I’ll call this our current talent scarcity market.

Most experts agree that job dissatisfaction is about 70 percent among workers, and most recruiters agree that we’re near full employment. We’re operating in a passive job seeker environment—meaning quality talent is working, but passively looking for other job opportunities. The fact is there are a lot of people looking “at work” today. With the resurgence of job seeker confidence due to the high number of job openings and the low risk of making a job change, talent is actively engaged in “watching” out for a perceived better opportunity. (There are some very real employee retention issues wrapped into that, but our focus will remain on recruiting.)

When we operate in a talent scarcity market, we must shift our focus from talent acquisition to a talent attraction strategy. It’s about targeting the talent we want and compelling them to take an interest in us. Here’s the process:

  1. Stop focusing on traditional job descriptions. Put less emphasis on what someone has (HAVING) and more on what they can BECOME.
  2. Soften your hiring decisions around qualifications/criteria, and connect more with the ability of candidates to achieve job performance desired outcomes (DOING).
  3. Focus on the intrinsic motivations and willingness of candidates to DO the job.
  4. Understand and articulate often your employee value proposition. It’s the “What’s in it for me” thought process that passive seekers play toward. It’s how you differentiate yourself from the “sea of sameness” while connecting with passive seekers.

Properly branding your company allows job seekers to match their needs with your employee value proposition. Your brand is the public face of your company culture. Passive job seekers are discerning and take employment decisions and changes more seriously. They research potential employers carefully, looking for a company they can remain happy at for the long-term. Branding will widen and open the front door to providing larger candidate pools of talent.

It’s time that we move off day one considerations (pay, location, job title, duties) and focus on year one and beyond (real job focus, impact, visibility, learning, future compensation and rewards, growth) for effective talent attraction. A high-quality hire connects the meaningful and purposeful mission of the employer with their career aspirations.

The day of talent acquisition is gone. We’re no longer filtering out candidates in a surplus talent market.  The day of talent attraction is now. We must target and build a call to action for quality talent in order to be successful in this candidate scarcity market. Talent attraction is here to stay.