Fight or Flight: What’s Your Talent Acquisition Strategy?

by Dave Lindstrom

In difficult or stressful situations, the natural reaction of all species is generally limited to two choices. This phenomenon is referred to as “fight or flight response.”

Companies seem to follow suit when it comes to talent acquisition in the current market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate in May of 2016 was 4.7%, which is the lowest it has been since August of 2007. Here in Minnesota it is even lower at 3.8%.

These low unemployment rates lead to companies having a difficult time finding and attracting talent. However, it’s not for lack of trying; there simply aren’t as many good candidates readily available today. Hiring managers might post a job and receive either very little response or a lot of unqualified response, leading to a waste of valuable time.

In years past, searching job boards and other avenues that companies use to attract talent, I usually had to navigate through endless pages of postings. Today, I searched one of the more popular job boards and did a quick query that, as recently as 6 months ago, produced several hundred postings. This morning it produced 15 postings total with 6 of those postings being duplicates.

As a recruiter, I see that and get the impression that companies are fleeing from the traditional avenues of attracting talent. I have spoken with several clients over the last 6 months and noticed a repeating theme: hiring managers are tired of not getting results from traditional avenues and no longer view job boards as a viable option to find someone “good.” In fact, many won’t even attempt to use job boards and either give up completely (flight) or look at other options to be successful (fight).

If a company decides to fight, they’ll need to decide on a plan of attack. Many organizations turn to their best assets to help them find and attract top tier talent to their organization – their current employees. Offering current employees referral bonuses for identifying potential candidates, companies can reward employees while building long term loyalty as well. Companies are also more likely to turn to talent acquisition experts such as search firms to help identify passive candidates that are actively listening versus actively looking for a new opportunity. Companies look to partner with firms that have an expertise in the type of role they are looking to fill in order to ensure a valuable return on their investment.

Companies show their true nature when faced with a talent acquisition challenge. What strategy will your company take – fight or flight?

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