How To Improve Your Talent Acquisition Processes

Aug 11, 2017

Attention all business owners!

Talent acquisition can be tricky for even the most seasoned pros. If that wasn’t the case, recruiters and head hunters would be out of work. Most of the time, busy professionals in small businesses can only devote minimal time and resources to finding the right talent.

But that strategy could backfire leaving a business gutted without its best resource, its people.

Small business owners are known for their drive and perseverance.  They are known for their innovation and creative thinking. That’s why they run a business and aren’t working for someone else.

But we also recognize that if you are being everything to everyone, you often sacrifice the quality of the things you naturally do best. It’s important to have the best people in place to make your business soar.

So, how do you do that? How can you focus your energy on the things you do best and ensure that you have the best talent working for you in other areas?

The answer is simpler than you think.

Mastering the Art of Talent Acquisition

When we master the art of talent acquisition we free ourselves to focus on what is important: our family, our business, our resources, our livelihood.

It sounds lovely, right? Getting the right talent in place could relieve as much stress as giving yourself a vacation. It may even lead to you being able to take one.

But How Do You Start?

Here are some tips to help you quickly master the basics of talent acquisition.

Once you internalize these tricks of the trade, you may even consider hiring someone who’s strengths are handling talent acquisition for you.

Be Smart About Hiring

The first thing you have to know about talent acquisition is to work smarter not harder. To do that, you have to understand and employ some very basic tenants of the industry. That’s because bringing someone into the loop of a new business can be the best or worst decision you ever make.

The Foundation Is the Criteria

If your company doesn’t have standard hiring criteria it’s time to sit down at your computer and make some. If you don’t have a stroke of genius during your planning process, it’s okay. You can take to the internet for a number of ways to come up with great criteria for your next hire.

Sign Up for Job Site Email Lists

There is no shortage of job sites that offer on-demand email lists for a number of positions you may be seeking help for. If you’re having trouble coming up with the best criteria head to a website like Monster and sign up for their email alert for that job category.

Within a day or so you’ll be receiving job alerts with dozens of job descriptions for the position you are looking for.

Use a Template

If you aren’t looking for talent acquisition emails that you may eventually want to unsubscribe to, you can search templates instead. But keep in mind, that in order to access templates you often have to give your email address, too.

Templates are useful because they offer a plug and play approach to creating your job description. If taking the time and resources from your day to create a job description from scratch is not for you, find a good template to model.

Create Swipe Files

Put together a file of resources anyone in your organization can use whenever they want. This is called a swipe file. With a swipe file of job descriptions, anyone in your organization can practice consistent talent acquisition practices.

Don’t Deviate from the Criteria

Once you’ve put together resources that define each position you are hiring for, don’t deviate from your formula for success. This is critical in hiring talent.

You’ve put in the effort and done the research to drive results for your organization, so why would you set them aside for any candidate?

Instead, prioritize the criteria that is necessary for success in this role and let that guide your search. Do this by developing questions out of the criteria and asking the same questions at every interview.

If you need help coming up with quality interview questions, try these three tips.

  1. Remember, your interviewee is intelligent or they wouldn’t be sitting there. Don’t feel like you need to dumb questions down.
  2. Ask lots of open ended questions. These will inspire a response that tells you more about your interviewee than just ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  3. Ask questions that require a response that demonstrates knowledge needed for the job or about your company.

Another way to let your criteria to guide your search is by shortlisting. Shortlisting is when you create a smaller batch of qualified candidates you want to interview from the larger number of applicants.

The best way to do this is to select and eliminate people based on the job criteria, and never look back. Don’t let exceptions lead you to a bad hiring decision.

Remember Your Company Culture

In any business, it’s important that the right candidate meshes with company culture.

A strong leader has to make the hard decisions about talent acquisition. That may mean turning away candidates who have a strong background but don’t seem to share the values or mission of the organization.

For example, if your company has an ambling culture of making work fun by letting employees get up and move around to collaborate, it may not be the best decision to onboard a manager who believes in driving results by keeping employees tethered to a desk.

That doesn’t give hiring managers the right to use talent acquisition to discriminate. Just remember to be discerning.

Desperation Is Not an Attractive Quality in a Manager

If you’re desperate, you are going to move fast and make rushed decisions. A rushed decision could have devastating results for your organization.

Trust the process and make smart decisions. If you’re having some natural anxiety about hiring, don’t start the process until you can iron that out and approach the situation objectively.

Desperate decisions are bad ones. Slow down and it will be okay.

More Isn’t Always Better

When it comes to talent acquisition it isn’t always better to have more people weighing in on the decision. Limit the decision to a key decision maker or two.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t let the candidate interview with multiple people within the organization and get input. That input can be valuable to tell if the person you’re interviewing is a good fit with your company culture.

But limit the decision to the ones in charge of managing the employee.

Check References

It should go without saying that it’s smart to research a candidate.

But let’s just say it.

Check your candidate’s references to make sure they check out.

Use Your Resources

If your company is big enough to have an HR department, you probably have some resources set up for hiring. Use your resources!

Lean on the established guidelines and processes in your company. They are there for a reason.

But if you don’t have access to these things, that’s okay the Internet is here to save the day.

Embrace the resources you find online. We already mentioned how the internet offers help in creating your company swipe files, but it also comes with a number of scorecards and checklists you can use when reviewing candidates.

Don’t feel like you are limited by your resources to go blindly into an interview, look for toolkits that will help you be prepared. And grab them while you can.

Understand the Costs of Bad Hiring Decisions

Lastly, it’s important to be able to understand the cost of bad hiring decisions, and even quantify what that means to you.

Recruitment costs vary, but ultimately they can add up to thousands of dollars when you include training. If that person sticks around for a year, before pursuing other opportunities, that’s a whole year’s salary that could have gone into an employee that wanted to grow with your company and stick around for years to come.

Don’t waste your limited time, resources and money on employees who aren’t a good fit ever again.


When it comes to talent acquisition you’re going to get out of it what you put in. We know that it’s important to find the right candidate.

That’s the one person who can simplify the manager’s work day and solve problems that exist within the organization. It’s also someone who is a great fit with your company culture and exudes the same mission and values. It’s the person who is going to be able to let you ease up a bit, and take a vacation.

With these tips you can find that person, but it’s going to take some work on your part. So, sign up for those job search newsletters, get started on your swipe file, start comparing resumes against criteria and don’t accept substitutes for excellence.

It’s your business. Do it right the first time!



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