What’s Most Driving Talent Acquisition Performance

A new report examines 16 factors that drive the performance of a talent acquisition department. The big winner is four times as influential as the second-place factor.

In a study of 297 talent-acquisition professionals, Bersin by Deloitte Consulting LLP looked at what moves talent acquisition departments from being transactional and reactive to being stronger, with branding, pipeline building, strong assessment practices, and a nice integration with the business.

The biggest driver was “developing strong relationships with hiring managers.” In next place was “developing candidate pools,” which was two times more influential than many other factors. After that came “effective social media campaigns” followed by the governance of the recruiting department and its decision making.

Back to managers: Robin Erickson, the vice president of talent acquisition research at Bersin by Deloitte Consulting LLP, said that a number of things can contribute to these strong relationships. One is having a good service level agreement, so both recruiters and hiring managers know what to expect. Managers may get frustrated if they’re waiting on a recruiter; meanwhile, a recruiter may not even know someone’s waiting to hear from them.

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Another contributor, she says, is a general mindset that the hiring manager is a client. This tends to improve communication. Recruiters, she says, also can have better relationships with managers if they’re assigned to a separate business unit they get to know.

One of the things that hiring managers can do to help their recruiters, she says, is to open up their social networks.


7 Comments on “What’s Most Driving Talent Acquisition Performance

  1. Is the ‘report’ available to be read at all? Was this a survey of what people liked in terms of recruiting buzzwords, or was this an actual study of what practices drove tangible results in terms of better quality of hire, lower time to fill, etc.?

    1. We conducted an on-line survey with 297 senior Talent Acquisition (TA) leaders and found that organizations with mature TA functions, on average, perform 30 percent better than their peers on business outcomes, including the ability to meet or exceed customer expectations, create new products and services faster than competitors, and meet or exceed financial targets. In addition, mature TA functions performed 160% better than less mature TA functions in terms of TA performance outcomes (hiring the right people and filling open positions in a timely manner). For more information, please see the complimentary WhatWorks® brief (http://marketing.bersin.com/high-impact-talent-acquisition-2014.html) that summarizes the research.

  2. “developing candidate pools” and “relationships with hiring managers” are the daily core activities of third party recruiters, and both of those key functions are supported by recruiting technology platforms. Easier to type than execute; relationships and talent pipelines require maintenance and technology only increases the scale and pace of the demands.

  3. Thanks to Todd and Dr. Erickson. This looks like it was a well designed survey and the conclusions, while probably not revelatory to those who have been involved in talent acquisition for a while, are an appreciated reminder and affirmation of the importance of communication and relationship management in recruiting. As the survey highlights, the relationship with the hiring manager should be at the center of every step in the sourcing, recruiting, and hiring process. IMO, developing strong relationships with every stakeholder involved (managers, executive leadership, candidates, vendors, etc.) is one of the most straightforward best practices that a TA department can implement and improve. I also think that many new technological solutions in recruiting and sourcing fail because they don’t consider the importance of relationship management in recruiting execution (often this is intentionally overlooked because of a desire to be highly scalable). Scalability is an important concept in both software and business process design, but in recruiting it should never be optimized be at the expense of relationships.

    Doug Friedman
    My LinkedIn Profile

  4. Excellent observations Douglas. High quality person to person communication does not scale. It can’t scale. Watson and his decedents will provide useful, scalable simulacra, but roles of significant value likely will require the real thing for a long time to come….

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