Has the War for Talent Been Won?


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, February 13, 2017

The current employment landscape is candidate led. Top applicants have a greater choice of employment opportunities, and they can afford to be more selective with prospective employers

Article 4 Minutes
Has the War for Talent Been Won?

Company reviews are readily available and reputations can have a surprising effect on the number of applications a position receives. Interview experiences are shared through word of mouth, creating a positive or negative profile for a company. And job adverts need to effectively attract the right talent.

With candidates spending on average 14.6 seconds reading job requirements and 60% of candidates quitting a job application because it has taken too long, the war on talent has made way for a candidate coup. However, there are methods that companies can adopt to help them improve their employment process, to appeal to candidates via developing a strong and desirable employer brand, and to ensure that they are attracting appropriate applicants.

Read on to find out:

  • How to attract the right individuals
  • How to communicate and improve the recruitment process
  • How to retain and manage talent

Attract the right people and maintain a good reputation

A candidate will be assessing and researching the company before they even click to apply. Ensure that a positive impression is made immediately by creating an interesting job advert rather than just regurgitating previous content.

Before embarking on a recruitment drive, evaluate your current employer brand awareness and reputation. According to Richard Mosley, VP of Strategy and Advisory at the global talent research firm Universum, this can be achieved “through survey research among your key external target audiences”. Employers should also be more active in using social media and other online communication channels to share inside stories that showcase positive business stories on the outside world.

CIPD research that focusses on behavioral science has found that, “even small changes to how you frame a job advert can have a disproportionate effect on who applies,” and subsequently, how they perform on the job.  For example, their research unveiled that specific types of words are more likely to attract female or male candidates and “even simply including more information about how many other people have applied for a job can influence application rates”. Including a button which makes application numbers visible can increase applications by 3 percentage points, “which could lead to thousands of additional applications per day.”

Maintaining a good reputation is of utmost importance. Word of mouth is a powerful tool that can have a positive or negative impact on the company brand. A previous bad interview experience from one interviewee may cause a chain reaction due to negative word of mouth. According to Beamery, if applicants have a poor candidate experience, 64.3% would tell friends and family, whilst 27% would actively discourage others from applying.

The interview process just as much about the applicant interviewing you as a company, to assess whether they can see potential as an employer. But the talent isn’t always going to come to you. Pro-active research and head-hunting on digital platforms such as LinkedIn will help companies identify potential employees.  

Communicate and improve the recruitment experience

The recruitment process creates a first impression of a company. The interviewers become ambassadors of the company. Pre and post-interview, candidates should be communicated with in a professional manner, synonymous with the company brand. Feedback should be given to candidates, whether good or bad. Many companies do not even offer closure to unsuccessful applicants, with some candidates left waiting for feedback weeks after an interview.  

Online platforms now exist where candidates can communicate and leave reviews about company interview experiences. This can be a useful tool for a business. However, “a poor candidate experience can have a negative knock-on effect on the strength of an employer’s brand,” says CIPD. A negative review may put off a talented future candidate from applying. Effective communications and positive applicant experiences should therefore be sustained throughout the whole process.

Retention and talent management

Ensure that prospective employees can see a clear progression path with the company. They will want to know what’s on offer to them, the perks of the job. With top talent often having a few employment options, you will need to sell the company to the candidate. Tell them why they should choose you over other similar companies offering similar employment opportunities.  

Who won the war on talent?

“The war for talent is over. The talent won,” says Josh Bersin, Founder of Bersin by Deloitte. The war for talent has diminished, with the power of preference now being held in the hands of the candidate. The heightened importance of upholding a positive reputation, and the availability of company reviews allows candidates to assess whether a company is worthy of their application. To ensure high quality applications, companies need to control the way they are perceived by current and future talent.

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