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Recruitment and Talent Management

To understand the challenges faced by hiring professionals today, we have to start by observing the current industry landscape. For instance, in a study by recruitment software provider iCIMS, 61% of tech hiring professionals believe that “a four-year degree is not enough to be successful in today’s workforce.” In the same study, 74% of tech hiring professionals have hired more freelancers or contractors in the past two years because of “lower costs and more access to specialized skills and flexibility.”

Major trends are transforming our labor industry, from greater competition to newer hiring practices. Companies today should consider revisiting their recruitment and talent acquisition strategy to ensure that they bring on only the best talent. That, of course, can be easier said than done.

In this article, we’ll cover the importance of talent management as it relates to recruiting the most qualified individuals.


The 5 Stages of the Recruitment Process

Let’s recap the recruitment process. While each company has a different approach, the general outline and stages remain the same. Understanding the purpose (and flaws) of each stage can help companies improve and retool the process to attract the top talent.



Planning is the first step, not only in recruitment, but in any major business process. The more time you spend planning the recruitment process, the more time you save down the line, and the less risk you’ll face. This stage involves understanding the recruitment objectives of the business, and the criteria for the ideal candidate.

By the end of this stage, recruiters should be clear on the following:

– Job description and responsibilities
– Necessary skills and qualifications
– Salary or hourly rate
– Starting date
– Whether the position is temporary or permanent
– Company background
– Other pertinent information


Strategy development

After the planning phase, recruiters must devise a strategy for finding the candidate. Strategy is distinct from the planning phase, as it involves the actual tactics that will be employed by the company for recruitment. For example, will the company hire externally, or from within the organization? Where will the talent search begin? How long will the hiring period last? This phase mitigates the risk involved with new hires, and ensures that you increase your chances of finding the best candidate.



With your plans in place, recruiters next need to focus on attracting job seekers. Typically, it involves using a specific set of recruitment websites, such as Monster, Indeed, Linkedin and even Craigslist. However, the search phase depends on the position to be filled. For entry-level positions, such as receptionists or salespeople, recruiting via college job boards and fairs may be more appropriate. For positions with more seniority, such as a C-level title, hiring internally can produce better results, particularly if your company has a proven culture. One study from the University of Pennsylvania found that internal hires tend to outperform external hires. Communicate with your hiring managers and consult your strategy to determine which approach to follow.



After successfully attracting a pool of candidates, recruiters face the challenge of sifting through the applicants to select the best person for the role. But selecting the best person is no easy task. Sometimes multiple people are qualified and recruiters are forced to use their best judgment. In these situations, it’s important to thoroughly research and learn about the top candidates. What can they bring to the company culture? Recruiters would benefit greatly from taking additional time to interview candidates on their own goals and aspirations, as well as their listed references. What others say about those candidates is just as important as what the candidates say about themselves.


Evaluation and control

Onboarding the new hire is not the last step! Surveys and post-hire interviews can help companies streamline their recruitment process, while ensuring employee engagement remains high. Recruiters would do well to follow up with new hires a few days or weeks after their onboarding period, just to ensure that they are settling into the team and handling the workload efficiently.


The Importance of Positioning Your Company

You can hire the best recruiters and create the most robust HR strategy, and job seekers still may choose another company. Today, company culture is more important than it’s ever been before. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, 55% of surveyed HR professionals believe company culture helps hire the right people, while 49% believe it draws a greater number of qualified candidates. Promoting your company culture shouldn’t be an afterthought, it should be the main reason why candidates choose your company before your competitors.

Create a unique story that defines your company’s purpose. Simon Sinek, author and organizational consultant, has penned several books, but his most famous by far is “Start with Why”. In the book, Sinek defines the Golden Circle, a diagram that helps leaders understand their personal or organization’s purpose. Three concentric circles make up the diagram. On the outside is the “What”, which defines the actions or tasks that a business or person carries out. The middle layer is “How” which defines the manner in which these tasks are accomplished. Finally, at the center of the circle is “Why”, which is the purpose behind these actions. Sinek argues that if a company wants to sell anything (say, it’s own brand to job seekers, for example), you have to start with why.

Take inspiration from Sinek’s methodology. Identify your key competitors and try to understand their own “why”. How does it differ from yours? What can you do to better stand out against the sea of competition?

For more information on why culture is important, check out our previous blog post.


“Who is Your Audience?”

One of the most important questions a marketer must answer is, “who is your target audience?” Without a definition of the ideal person you’re trying to attract, you could end up chasing individuals that have no interest in your brand. The same goes for recruitment and talent acquisition. Each person in the company (not just the human resources department) should understand the type of people that belong in the organization.

Consider Apple, one of the world’s most popular and influential brands today. Earlier this year, the company posted a $11.5 billion profit for the three months ending in June. They’ve developed products that have revolutionized the phone, music, personal computer, and television industry. But there’s one core value that ties all their work and talent together. According to founder Steve Jobs himself: “we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.” That’s the belief that not only empowers Apple to create iPods and MacBooks, but to hire the greatest and most dedicated artists, engineers, marketers, and other talented individuals.

What core belief ties your business together, and how does it define the type of people you hire? Where can you reach your audience, or in this case, your talent? Understand your prospect and when it comes to choosing between the best applicants, you’ll know how to decide.


Leveraging Employee Connections

Besides work experience, there’s another reason companies favor candidates that have worked at prestigious companies. Usually, these individuals still maintain a connection or several connections at those companies. That can lead to greater business opportunities, such as finding new hires and interns.

Set up an employee referral program that encourages and reward employees for getting highly qualified candidates to apply. Your employees have already done half the legwork- they’ve screened them and determined whether they’re culturally fit and qualified for the job. All that’s left is to find out whether they would be interested in working at the company, something you can usually find out through interviews.

A study by Everyone Social found that employees have 5x more reach than corporate accounts. It goes without saying that relying on your employee connections can also bolster your social media recruiting efforts. Instead of simply posting a status update or tweet by from your company describing the job, ask your employees to share the opening. Employee social connections are more organic, their interactions more natural, which means leveraging their profiles can boost your social recruiting.


Tips on Working with a Talent Acquisition Agency

So far, we’ve mostly been covering recruitment, as it’s typically the most common way to fill openings in a company. But if you want to focus on attracting the top talent, you need to work on talent acquisition. What’s the difference between the two? While recruitment aims to fill vacancies, talent acquisition is about hiring specialists and leaders. One way to do so is to work with a talent acquisition agency. Here are a few tips for doing so:

  • Assess your options. Not every talent acquisition agency will be worth their salt. Don’t just go with the first option you find or the one with the flashiest ads. Conduct some research— try to find out more about their various clients, read through past testimonials. Above all, you should treat these talent acquisition agencies as you would your top candidates.
  • Have company branding and information ready. You’re not just selling your brand to customers, you’re selling to potential new hires. If your branding material doesn’t reflect the professionalism of your company, then why should others bother to research you any further? Make sure you have a presentable website, relevant handouts and marketing materials. Besides enticing applicants further, these branded documents can help talent acquisition agencies better define your company and inform candidates.
  • Communicate your needs clearly. Talent acquisition agencies operate best when they know exactly the type of talent you’re looking for. This is where your initial planning and strategy comes in. Be clear about the necessary skills and qualifications, as well as the type of personality that would best fit and contribute to the company culture.
  • Analyze tracking acquisition metrics. One of the most useful aspects of using a talent acquisition agency is the different insights you can gather based on their work. Metrics such as cost per hire, time to fill, offer-acceptance rate, and time in process step (time a candidate spends in each step) can help you evaluate and improve your talent acquisition process.


Tips on Hiring Freelancers

Some of the top talent you’ll find won’t be C-level executives, but freelancers and contractors that you hire on an as-needed basis. According to an Upwork study, 35 percent of the U.S. workforce (55 million people) freelanced in 2016. By 2027, more than half of all American workers will have some experience as an independent contractor. Here are a few tips on hiring freelancers:

  • Use freelancer marketplaces. Places like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer have made it more convenient to find freelancers online. All you need to do is define the project, pay, due date, and you’ll have a handful of freelancers bidding to do your work. However, it’s important that your brand maintains a good reputation on these platforms. That means paying your freelancers on time and interacting with them in a friendly way.
  • Define your project scope. One of the biggest challenges in working with freelancers is communicating the scope of their work. Since they’re not in regular contact as full-time employees, it’s much easier for a miscommunication to occur and potentially throw a project off the rails. Be absolutely clear about the deliverables, the method in which they are to be completed, and deadlines.
  • Ask them to sign NDAs and non-competition agreements. Freelancers aren’t bound by the same rules as full-time employees, but they still have a similar level of access to sensitive data. That’s why it’s crucial to ask your freelancers to sign agreements preventing them from sharing this information with competitors. It may seem minor, but you could prevent your company’s IP from being stolen or customer data from a significant breach.
  • Check the freelancer’s timeline. Freelancers can have dozens of clients at a time, and they may not be particularly adept at juggling all their assignments and responsibilities. Before assigning a major project, check in with them regarding their availability and the project timeline. You could potentially avoid a late submission or work conflict.


Tips on Finding Remote Workers

Last but not least, your company may want to look into hiring remote talent. These remote workers can be particularly helpful on projects that need continuous work- while your team sleeps, they can continue development in their timezone. Here are a few tips for finding remote workers.

  • Hold in-person or video interviews. Even though remote workers don’t necessarily operate in the same building or office as the rest of the team, the initial meeting should still be held in person. The reason for this is it gives a clearer understanding of a person’s character, such as their tone of voice or personality, that isn’t always conveyed in a call. But if that’s not possible, a video interview may suffice (especially if they live in a different country).
  • Give them skill assessments. The only way to find out whether remote workers are reputable or capable of doing the work is to give them a skills assessment. For writers, this may be a writing prompt for a brief essay. For developers, it may involve a coding challenge.
  • Set expectations. Similar to freelancers, it’s easy for the project scope to become muddled in communication. Make sure you clearly convey the deliverables and due date for remote workers so there’s nothing amiss.
  • Schedule regular check-ins. Timing is one of the biggest challenges with remote workers. Usually, when they’re resting, you’re working, and vice versa. Schedule a day and time in the week that works for the both of you to wrap on certain tasks and projects.

Recruiting can be a challenging process already, but when you focus on attracting the best talent, that process becomes even more complex. You not only need to consider your recruitment and onboarding process, you also have to think as an applicant yourself, and the qualities and characteristics of a company that would compel you to apply.


The more planning and consideration you give to the process, the more your company (and team) gets out of it. Over time, your business’s mentality will shift from filling vacancies to attracting the best talent. That’s when your business can truly begin to grow and thrive.

To read the Novel Coworking guide to talent management, check out our post here.

Want to improve your strategy for talent management, we break it down in this article.

Looking to find more content about talent management and acquisition? Visit Novel Coworking’s blog for more information.