28 Tips for a Better Talent Management Strategy

1. Build talent pipelines and recruitment strategies to key business groups

Business units love to engage and buy-in to recruitment strategies that are tied to their groups and units vs. the whole company where job requirements and competencies can get watered down to meet all requirements.  Sourcing and recruiting to fill a specific pipeline for a position type vs numerous position types is key. Of course within human resources and recruiting it’s up to us to reduce costs and leverage overall sourcing and recruitment tactics.

2. Have a talent war room

Visually organize yourself so your entire team and clients know the game plan.  In this way everyone knows what information you are looking to gather, key recruitment tactics and pitches, key competitor value propositions and how you compare against them.

3. Attack Defend and Disrupt

Developing an effective talent strategy is all about ensuring you are aggressive in pulling together your hiring strategies. Take no prisoners and go after the best talent available to you. But ensure you defend your talent by putting in place solid compensation plans, mentorship plans and a wide abundance of opportunities for them to grow into. Disrupt competitors and the market by constantly pushing the envelope and innovating new approaches to attracting and keeping talent.

4. Map by geography, skill set and key skill competitors

Have your recruitment numbers by location and key skill (job families work). Developing an effective recruitment strategy requires you do it locally by engaging recruiters that know the market and can effectively engage in that location with that audience. Map out all key sources for the best talent (schools, competitors, universities, feeder pools, etc.) Use a map to do this and preferably put this up in your war room.

5. Lock-in with the business strategy

Amazing how many recruitment groups  build a recruitment strategy solely on job descriptions provided by the business. Many of these job descriptions, are old, outdated and talk about skills and competencies that are sometimes from the past not the future. There is also a lack of discussion around current products and or services and or of the vision where the business is headed. Ensure everything is current and build on the excitement of where the business and it’s people are going, not just a boring job description.

6. Workforce Planning is not a dirty word

Ensuring you develop a tight but modest workforce plan is key to ensuring your recruiters and business partners are working on what’s truly important vs. positions that will be cancelled or where there is no urgency to fill.

7. Develop a brand campaign that lasts at least 1-2 years          

Ensure you develop your  brand campaign hand in hand with corporate so that the message is consistent across the company. They are playing up the service and product side while you're revving up the culture and why people want to work there. Make it fun and exciting and make sure you don’t change campaigns like a dirty shirt. No one will want to engage if the message keeps changing, believe in it, live it.

8. Launch projects to manage key recruitment projects (keep it simple)

Key recruitment drives are best-managed within a project.  But keep it simple as this is not rocket science. All you want to do is ensure you know what your objectives are, how your going to measure it and communicate it and who your executive sponsor is. Ie: Hire 50 sales managers in 50 different states for new product launch, metric: hires per recruiter/hiring manager, hires to date, Communication update sent once a week to executive sponsor and all team recruiters and hiring managers. Include any major obstacles , recommendations, solutions that have been discussed and supported by executive sponsor.

9. Decide how you will deliver services, internal, outsource, self-help centre

How will you organize to deliver on the strategy,  (centralized, decentralized, hybrid). Meld this to your strategy but also more specifically on how your business partners are organized to deliver their own services. Whichever way you choose to go ensure delivery is fast and effective and has solid ROI for your clients. Consult with your clients frequently to find out if you're delivering the ROI you promised.

10. Identify the talent level and competencies required

Every company says they want the best talent but very few can recruit it. You should instead try to recruit the best talent your company can hire based on your reputation, your compensation strategy, competitiveness and attractiveness to candidates. In this way you will focus on that talent segment and not waste time trying to hire individuals who have no interest in coming to your company or whom you could not attract from a financial perspective.

Understanding what competencies you require will also determine how you screen candidates effectively and then get them through the selection process quickly. Will you use CRM technology, on-line testing or some other approaches.

11. Pick a few key colleges and universities and focus on developing strong relationships with them. 

Pick key colleges and universities that will be your feeder pools for new developing talent. Focus your dollars and focus on developing great relationships with these schools and their principals. Have a recruiting ambassador as well as an executive ambassador work with the school. Leverage the schools for intellectual property development, research, communication initiatives and much more. If the school offers COOP placements, look to take advantage of these great programs.

12. Mentor recruiters to become better recruiters themselves.

This is key to ensure everyone’s on the same page and that skills are transferred across the organization. Have a recruiter on boarding program from day one and pair up recruiters on that day with a veteran. Meet with them to see how it’s going and what suggestions they may have on the recruiting program.

13. Make everyone a brand ambassador to attract talent

Give everyone a fact sheet about what it means to be part of your company, what your company stands for and more. Everyone should be selling what your company stands for and directing them to buy its products and services but also to apply for employment.

14. Kick off an employee referral program

The #1 best source for hiring the best talent for your company.  Not only is it cost-effective but employees remain with the company longer. Just make sure you have the program well-defined from the start specifically with company standards.

15. Simplify recruiting processes and policies

Survey candidates, new employees and managers on what they think of the current recruitment process and policies. Are they effective, fast and or fun? Make sure you keep things simple and focused on hiring candidates quickly and effectively. Everything else if fluff.

16. Decide on the right mix of Recruiting programs

Where will your hires come from: ie: 50% experienced hires, 20% New grads, 10% contractors, 10% COOP. It’s key to determine this so you can channel your dollars and resources appropriately. By doing this you can also measure your progress and get executive support for the programs based on shifting business needs.

17. Candidate attraction and sourcing techniques

Make sure your leveraging your employees skills and suggestions. Use all the technology available understanding that although some technology can speed up the recruitment process many actually slow down the sourcing/identification process. Picking up a phone and engaging with potential clients is still the key. So make sure you hire recruiters that have this skill set.

18. Make your career website tacky

Simplify, reduce the number of clicks for candidates to access your jobs and to leave you a resume. Make it a place candidates can come for more than jobs but also to find out what it means to be a part of this company.

19. Recruiting technology that meets your strategic needs

Technology should meet the needs of your recruiting strategy, it should not drive your recruiting strategy. Don't get bogged down with an ATS that cuts and slices every which way but prevents you from making changes to your talent strategy. Ensure technology is flexible and does not become a boat anchor on your budget limiting your future options.

20. Kill The Form

Eliminate the candidate application form. Do you know how many candidates skip your website if this is here. Answer: A ton. Use CRM to screen quickly, engage candidates via email once they have left their email coordinates on your site.

21. Speed up the time to hire

Some companies take months to make a hire. Get real, make it two to three weeks. Be rigorous by recoming time wasters and getting hiring managers to meet candidates quickly and to give feedback asap.

22. Hire based on skill not only on work experience

Do not overlook candidates that may not have a ton of work experience, look at their skills and how they may grow into the role. Some of the gems may be rough but with a little polishing, they will shine and remember your role in finding and grooming them.

23. Throw out barrier requirements and look to the skills required.

Sometimes you have to toss out the college degree or the professional designation and hire someone who has all the tools and more. Great candidates may have the experience but not the accreditation, who cares if they can make your company shine and make it money (unless legally required of course).

24. Hire from unusual sources

Look to get top talent from new sources, ie: a failed start-up or new highly trained immigrants. Skip traditional career fairs and go to other types of business events where you can engage with candidates on a different level. Always look to new venues to hire talent, it will always surprise you how effective some are.

25. Launch a unique skill contest

Be innovative and work with your business to develop a unique engineering or product/service focused skill contest where you can create a buzz that will attract talent that normally may not have surfaced.

26. Nix the ATS

Forgot that complex maze of Applicant Tracking Systems, forms and procedures and actually engage and talk to real people. The old techniques of recruiting are still the most effective ones. Pick up a phone, meet promising people and engage.

27. Axe the Losers to Hire more Winners

If you want to increase your companies potential axe some of those low potentials or individuals that cause more destruction within your company than produce value. Then you have available capital to make some better hires to help your business.

28. Get the right culture fit

Try group interaction interviews for certain types of hire. Invite a group of potential employees to interview with a number of recruiters and staff at the same time. How they interact together vs compete will tell a lot about them and how they will fit in your current company culture.


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Views: 2851

Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on November 14, 2011 at 5:15pm

First of all, regarding #26 and "Nix the ATS" as a purveyor of an ATS you might be surprised that I agree completely. I've seen too many recruiters use the ATS as a black hole where resumes go to die, and its set to automate everything to the extent of sucking all the human out of human resources. Any organization where process trumps results and takes the place of human interaction is bound to have no actual talent community/pool from which to source, identify and engage top talent.

Second, these "helpful tips" are obviously more needed an a corporate environment which would do well to adopt a business-minded, proactive approach to recruiting - by creating an executive search level function in the HR environment. There is an interesting article & subsequent discussion posted on ERE on this topic http://www.ere.net/2011/11/09/stranger-in-a-strange-land-agency-ski...

Comment by Luke Collard on November 14, 2011 at 8:34pm

Individually each point is valid but are you suggesting that people adopt a 28 point strategy to talent management?  28 tips to do anything is a bit over complicating the issue. Surely would be better to concentrate on a few key areas ?

Comment by Francois Guay on November 16, 2011 at 4:24pm
Thanks for your thought but it's amazing to get naysayers to tips. Tips are there to be used or not used depending on what your strategy needs are.
Comment by Valentino Martinez on November 16, 2011 at 4:44pm


You're actually right.  I will remove my earlier objection (was in a lazy mood at the time I read "28 tips" and thought 28 tips to slog through). It wasn't bad after all. 

As you suggest, a good tip, whether it is #1 or #28, is a good tip.  And your "Tips" are concise, brief and to the point--actually all well stated and of strategic value...except for #26...if you nix your ATS you have to got to a manual read system of thousands of resumes.  The invention of the scanning system in the ATS has saved eye sight for thousands and sanity as well...+ some headaches...nothing is perfect.

Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on November 17, 2011 at 9:49pm

@Valentino I think what is meant by "nix the ATS" is not to let it become a barrier & so process bound that it diminishes the human interaction... or at least that's what I meant.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on November 18, 2011 at 4:03am



Interfacing effectively with candidates under employment consideration is a given priority--but Francois is suggesting that nixing your ATS is ok as long as you’re focusing on candidates.  I agree if hemeans not to become tethered to ATS input and output demands at the expense of candidate contact.  But ignoring, underutilizing or not leveraging your ATS to its fullest (it can be an important tracking and candidate management tool), particularly for employers with government contracts is inviting trouble.

EEOC/OFCCP audits go first to your applicant/candidate flow management and hire results to see if compliance or non-compliance is happening.  The excuse that you were concentrating on your candidate interface efforts rather than your documentation efforts never impresses them.  So appreciating and making your ATS an asset rather than a burden would be the better management strategy rather than nixing it would.




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