Why The Biggest 'Myths' About Talent Acquisition May Actually Be Right

Perfecting their talent acquisition strategy is one of the biggest challenges facing UK employers. The enormity of the task was put into stark focus this week following the release of Hays Global Skills Index in association with Oxford Economics. With a ‘talent mismatch’ score of 9.7 out of 10, Britain has one of the most urgent skills shortages in Europe.

As employers across the UK analyse what’s working and what isn’t in their hiring processes, we look at some of the biggest myths in talent acquisition – and why these myths may be right after all.

Myth One : Salary is the deciding factor in encouraging candidates to accept your job offer

Survey after survey shows that salary is not the deciding factor for candidates accepting a job offer but in some cases that myth may be right. Job hopping is no longer the taboo career progression it used to be. Millennial candidates change jobs more frequently, gaining more skills and experience in each position. For them, salary is often the deciding factor between two prospective employers when all other boxes are ticked to their satisfaction and their career aspirations (such as flexible working, career development and mentoring) and employer values align. To improve the likelihood of a job offer being accepted, salaries must reflect the market rate.

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Myth Two : The more places you post your jobs, the better your hiring success

As many recruiters and hiring managers will testify, the wider your job reach, the more likely it is that your applicant tracking system will be brimming with unsuitable applicants, but in certain circumstances this myth may be right. Businesses new to HR software have no access to historical recruitment analytics and lack an accurate understanding of where their most successful hires have come from.  For these companies, posting vacancies across a broad spectrum of social media feeds and job boards may be their best starting point. Once the source of your best candidates is clear from the data in your recruitment software, future vacancies can be carefully targeted towards those talent pools.

Myth Three : Social media doesn’t make a difference to your talent acquisition strategy

Employers are still reluctant to turn to social recruiting despite its obvious benefits in widening your candidate reach and playing a key part in creating and nurturing a talent pool. Today’s job seekers search for suitable vacancies via social media and job boards. We strongly advocate the benefits of social recruiting but this comes with a caveat. Social recruiting will only improve your hiring success if it forms part of your overall talent acquisition strategy. Setting up multiple accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram and Snapchat and posting a list of vacancies won’t attract qualified candidates.  Successful social recruitment needs a clear brand message, frequent posts directed to your specific candidate pool and regular interaction. Once you understand where your target candidates are to be found – from the data in your recruitment software - begin with just one or two sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter, until you have built up a following, then move on.

Myth Four : Employers still wield power in the jobs market

The Hays Global Skills Index survey suggests otherwise but in some cases there is a degree of truth in this myth, even in today’s competitive employment market. Get your employer branding right and your business will still wield power to attract, hire and retain talent. Glassdoor’s Best Places To Work Survey gives plenty of examples of companies who get it right when it comes to branding. A consistent message is essential, whether that applies to your careers page, job posts or social media feeds. Promoting a positive brand image means creating a flawless candidate experience and engaging frequently with the talent in your pipeline. Recruitment software can take care of the administrative functions of these processes, allowing HR to focus on engaging with passive talent.

Myth Five : The Purple Squirrel Does Exist

The purple squirrel refers to the most elusive of all individuals – the perfect candidate. Often described as a 'game changer' and 'innovator' the  purple squirrel is equipped with the skills and qualifications your business needs. Too many resources are devoted by hiring managers in their quest for the purple squirrel, who lose talented candidates in the process. These candidates undoubtedly exist but their sometimes disruptive effects on your existing team may not be worth the investment. Purple squirrels are often hard to manage, maverick employees. Successful talent acquisition requires a rethink of the candidate assessment process and creating your own definition of a purple squirrel. Creating a candidate persona is a good place to start.  In addition, growing numbers of companies are turning to soft skills in hiring. Deloitte this week announced its intention to focus on blind CVs during candidate assessment to improve diversity and investment in young people.

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