If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in talent acquisition (TA), what would it be?
Talent acquisition is an evolving practice, and leaders in this space are all too familiar with the constant challenges that it involves. To identify the top challenges in this regard today, we quizzed TA leaders, HR managers, and CEOs.
Here are the top 12 things that TA leaders wish they could do with the wave of a magic wand.
Eliminate Multiple Interviews for Entry-level Positions
“I would change the practice of requiring five or more interviews for entry-level positions. I could understand having multiple interviews for an executive-level position. Having candidates for a housekeeping position come in multiple times before a hiring decision is made not only slows down the process, but also creates a bad candidate experience. By the fourth interview, most applicants have already accepted an offer from a competitor or have withdrawn their application due to frustration.”
Alysia Straw, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital-Dartmouth Health
Remind Candidates and Recruiters About the Human Element
“While I would love a magic wand to make changes in TA, I think the one thing about it that frustrates recruiters, hiring managers, and candidates the most is also the element that can be the most endearing about it: the human element.
TA relies on humans to communicate back and forth; there are no bots! I would wave my wand to make candidates understand what it’s like to be bombarded with requisitions, updates to make, online applications, interview follow ups, and hiring managers’ update requests. I would remind recruiters of what it’s like to be a candidate waiting on that job you really, really want. Being reminded of the human element is what could make us all a little more human.
Luckily, there are many recruiters out there that illuminate what it’s like to be a recruiter and a hiring manager, and post ample content to bring transparency to everyone.”
Cassie Sturdevant, Talent Acquisition Director, The Chartis Group
Do Away With the Customary Two-week Notice
“One of the most annoyingly frustrating things about talent acquisition is trying to pin down a start date with new hires once you’ve found the right person. I hate having to play the dance of how-soon-can-you-start. Everyone knows why we’re hiring – because we need someone now! But, whether it’s because people feel beholden to their current employers, or they are simply inured to the two-week notice rule, we have to wait. And wait, and wait, and wait – often for much longer than two weeks.
That is why if I had a magic wand and could change something, it would be doing away with the old custom of two weeks’ notice. Nothing bums me out more than landing the perfect new hire, only to have them say “oh, I need six weeks to wrap up a project I’m currently working on, then I’ll be free to start.” Nothing drives me crazier than trying to coordinate start dates like this. Now, obviously, this could hurt us on the backend when people leave, but in terms of hiring, I could do without it.”
John Ross, Chief Executive Officer, Test Prep Insight
Bridge The Gap Between a Candidate’s Virtual Impression and the Reality of a Company
“While there’s probably no magic formula when it comes to acquiring talent, one thing that could use a jolt is fewer candidates relying solely on review sites — and social media — to decide where to apply. It’s all too easy for a job seeker to form a one-sided (and most likely inaccurate) narrative based on a few reviews or anonymous posts on a discussion board. Bridging the gap between a prospective employee’s virtual impression of a company — and the reality — would go a long way.”
Jessica Arias, Director of People & Culture, OnPay Payroll Services
Job Descriptions Should be Living Documents Designed to Filter Out Unqualified Candidates
“If I had a magic wand and could change one thing in TA, it would be the way we think about job postings. Too often, job postings are treated as static documents that just need to be updated with the latest information. However, a good job posting is much more than that. It’s a living document that should be constantly tweaked and updated to attract the best candidates. It should also be designed to filter out unqualified applicants.
Unfortunately, writing such a description is often easier said than done. It requires a deep understanding of the role in question and the ability to communicate complex ideas in simple language. As someone who has spent countless hours poring over job descriptions, I can attest that this is no easy feat. But if we could all get it right, it would make a world of difference for employers and job seekers alike.”
Travis Lindemoen, Managing Director, nexus IT group
Hire For Passion Over Experience
“We’d get rid of the notion that experience is everything and replace it with the idea that passion for the company’s mission is everything. The ins and outs of day-to-day tasks can largely be learned on the job with the right mentor.
Belief in the goals of the company cannot be taught. Therefore, it’s essential that HR strive to assemble a team that strongly aligns with the vision established by its leaders. There’s no substitute for passion.”
Michael Van, CEO, Furnishr
Fix The Unfairness of Rescinded Offers
“Rescinded offers are the grimy underbelly of the staffing industry that no one talks about. There’s nothing worse than candidates putting in a two-week notice with their current employer only to have the offer rescinded, leaving them jobless and at square one of a job hunt. Even worse is a candidate between jobs, getting their hopes up and then crushing them with a rescinded offer. This happened to a candidate of mine and despite my best effort to help him find another new job, I couldn’t better his and his family’s situation in the short term, nor could I make peace with the notion that “Sometimes this just happens.”
Some C-suite executives get a year’s severance pay even if they work for a day and then resign. But few employers assist victims of their rescinded offers. That lack of accountability hurts the integrity of the business world at large, and should be addressed. Coinbase recently led by example and offered severance pay (2 months) to those whom they rescinded offers from. I hope to see this adopted by more companies.”
Matthew Jones, Senior IT Recruiter, VIP Staffing
Change How HR Departments Operate
“If I could change one thing about talent acquisition, it would be how HR departments operate. Too often, HR is seen as a necessary evil by both employers and employees. Employers view HR as a cost center, and employees see it as a bureaucracy that gets in the way of getting things done.
As a result, talent acquisition is often left to crumble under its weight. I believe that if HR departments were more proactive and focused on developing relationships with both employers and employees, they could make a real difference in talent search and acquisition.
By understanding the needs of both sides, HR could help build bridges and connect workers with the right opportunities. Talent acquisition is critical to the success of any organization. HR has the potential to play a vital role in ensuring that organizations can attract and retain top talent. However, this can only happen if HR is willing to change its operations.”
Tracey Beveridge, HR Director, Personnel Checks
Eliminate Ghosting by Providing Closure for Candidates and Recruiters
“I’d change how recruiters and applicants/candidates handle closure. Recruiters would magically have the time to message applicants and candidates when they’ve been dropped from a job. This would save the other person time and allow them to move on to other opportunities, effectively reducing the number of things on their mind.
On the other side, applicants and candidates would send out some sort of BCC’ed email to the places they’ve applied once someone has hired them. This would save recruiters the trouble of reaching out to people who are already working. It would effectively eliminate ghosting on both sides and allow everyone to move on without being confused as to why the other person has stopped replying to them.”
Iohan Chan, Senior Content Editor, Clark Staff
See Who’s Serious About the Role vs Who’s Looking for Short-Term Employment
“I would give myself special vision to see which candidates are serious about working for my company, versus ones who are just looking for the best paying position on the way to their next job. I have no problem with upward mobility, but it is hard to go through the process of hiring, onboarding, and training only to have the person move on to another company after a few months. It would be great to be able to only hire folks who are serious about making a career with us.”
Drake Ballew, Founder & CEO, Practice Health
Offer Salary Transparency in All Job Descriptions
“All job descriptions should provide salary transparency. Congress is pushing for this to be implemented fully. There are often LinkedIn job posts asking for credentials, listing requirements, and describing all the responsibilities of a role – without clearly defining a numeric value to indicate pay. As a result, the applicant is left perplexed, since they need to determine if the application and process are worth their time before discovering all the benefits of the position. Companies should disclose this pertinent information to the public if they expect to attract qualified candidates and want to represent a brand that emphasizes communication and transparency.”
Haley Wood, Founder, The Look
Accelerate Adoption of HR Tech
With $18B invested in HR Tech in 2021 (and $10B so far in 2022), there’s never been a higher quantity and quality of companies offering solutions for talent acquisition professionals. However, HR as an industry, is typically a late adopter of new technologies due to things like budget constraints, resource limitations, or just not being willing to adopt new solutions.
If I could change one thing for TA professionals, I would ask them to spend one hour speaking with startups and exhibitors in the expo hall of an HR conference like HR Tech, Transform, or annual SHRM. There’s incredible innovation happening in the space, with lots of noise and competition.
Find the tech solutions that can amplify talent acquisition efforts to help you do more with less.”
Brett Farmiloe, CEO, Terkel
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