The Top 5 Headaches Faced by Talent Acquisition Executives

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Things are never boring in the RPO business, as each of our clients come with its own set of unique challenges based on industry, geography, and technology. While no two situations are ever the same, over time we’ve seen certain trends emerge across the entire Talent Acquisition universe. 

Here are five common headaches Talent Acquisition executives repeatedly face, no matter the industry.

Headache #1 – Balancing compliance with hiring manager service 
Talent Acquisition leaders face a constant tug of war between building a highly compliant delivery process and providing hiring managers with the necessary amount of flexibility.  To hiring managers, a highly rigorous and compliant process can seem like a maze of BFOQs (bona fide occupational qualifications), scoring matrixes, data sampling procedures, forms, checklists, and procedure documents.  Seven Step RPO advises our clients to build a compliant process, but keep as much of the compliance mechanics behind the scenes where the hiring manager doesn’t have to deal with them.  

Headache #2 – Keeping up with new tools and technologies  
New TA technologies are entering the market at a stunning rate, and there are too few hours in the day to demo every tool that’s been released.  Seven Step allocates a pre-determined amount of hours every quarter for each of our sourcing specialists to evaluate the latest tech and report their findings back to the team.  The strongest tools are then considered for broader adoption. 

Headache #3 – Workforce planning and forecasting hiring needs
In my 20 years of recruiting, I have yet to find a Talent Acquisition executive that doesn’t struggle with this on a weekly basis.  Businesses are changing more rapidly than ever – one day you’re ramping up the sales force because the markets are recovering, next thing you know there’s a hiring freeze because the recovery seems to have stalled.  Instead of fighting the highly variable nature of recruiting, we encourage our clients to count on it and plan for unpredictability.  Seven Step continuously develops our recruiters’ skillsets, ensuring that they’re able to adapt to any industry and unforeseen situation without missing a step. 

Headache #4 – Social Recruiting  
Nearly every TA leader I’ve spoken with has had an alarming moment of realization where the social recruiting rubber hits the reality road.  Whichever situation you face, social recruiting, talent communities, and their associated brand building are a marathon, not a sprint.  I always encourage our clients to think of social recruiting as both a long-term investment in the future and an insurance policy for the present.  Even in a case where the measurable ROI is a break-even, you’re still shaping the inevitable online conversation about your brand. 

Headache #5 – Turning data into intelligence
Before the internet, measuring source effectiveness consisted of counting the faxes you received on Monday morning after running a classified ad on Sunday.  Needless to say, things are now much more complicated.  Our clients often find themselves buried in data, but don’t have the time or tools to wade through this mountain of information in order to find the nugget of truth that’ll help them redefine their strategy.  Instead of looking at reports and trying to glean answers, Talent Acquisition executives should ask the big questions and then go to the data to look for validation.  Simply examining your base assumptions can often yield fascinating insights.  

For example, a client of ours believed that certain jobs were hard-to-fill because they had a sourcing problem.  However, after an analysis of candidate flow and drop-out rates through their ATS, they discovered that plenty of candidates were starting the application process but most were dropping out before completing.  A few candidate interviews and application run-throughs by our team later, we implemented changes that dramatically improved the applicant experience and increased candidate throughput by almost 40% overnight.
Are there any headaches that you’ve experience that I missed? Feel free to share in the comments below.


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