Recently, we gathered ten leading TA managers to discuss the status of talent acquisition in the Australian market, with a particular focus on the Tech sector.
During a live, in-person workshop we covered everything from how the market has evolved, how recruitment teams are responding to candidate shortages, and how talent acquisition teams are playing a more significant role in delivering hiring outcomes.
How are teams adapting to the market?
Role volumes are through the roof, but applications are down. This situation presents a unique and challenging problem for recruiters. So how are talent managers adapting?
Many talent leaders are returning to “old-school” recruitment methods, like direct headhunting or referrals.
Counter-offers are more prevent than ever, and can sabotage a placement at the last minute, so many teams are testing the waters earlier than normal to see if it’s something they’ll need to deal with.
For the last 20 years, advertising has been enough to identify suitable candidates; however, a shortage of eligible candidates means teams have had to adapt.
Most candidate sourcing has shifted to outbound, with job postings functioning more as brand awareness.
When candidates are being lost to another offer, recruiters are increasingly keeping them on file and checking in after a few months. By then, candidates are often open to moving or discussing the possibility.
Some longer-term talent acquisition and human resources roles are being put on hold because hiring is taking longer than expected.
How has distribution changed?
How has the recruitment team changed their job ad distribution with candidates in such high demand?
Teams are posting in every available space, like Indeed, AngelList, and even niche specialty groups on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has proven particularly useful, with some managers suggesting that 99% of their hires come through networking and sourcing.
Brands with a high media presence are getting great referrals from those channels.
Talent managers say that they are attracting the right people, but they also receive a large number of unqualified candidates who are interested in what the company is offering.
How has candidate behaviour changed in recent years?
As supply and demand have shifted in the candidate’s favour, how have they changed?
Candidates know they are in high demand, so they are asking for higher and higher salaries.
Talent leaders report that some candidates seem to be attracted to higher salaries, more than a role or company.
Many candidates fail to connect the fact that higher salaries lead to higher expectations and responsibilities.
Many candidates are accepting positions and realise after a few months that the level of expectations is not actually what they want.
How are teams using referrals to identify candidates?
The skills shortage means many employers must implement referral programs to acquire the best staff. But what are they doing?
Most businesses are still rewarding internal staff for successful referrals.
A significant number of referrals come from ex-employees. Businesses can’t award them with cash, leading them to explore other ways to encourage these referrals.
Some smaller businesses are forgoing a TA department and instead are offering their employees $10k for a successful referral. However, some employees are reluctant to put forward a candidate for high-impact roles in case their referral doesn’t work out.
Other employers don’t offer cash for referrals and instead see these programs as a way for employees to refer people who will boost company culture.
Have TA teams changed how they do their job since the pandemic?
The pandemic has changed how many employees think about work. How has this changed the way TA teams approach their role?
Many talent managers suggest that TA has become less transactional and more centred around building relationships.
Getting to know people and building rapport for roles in 3, 6, or 12 months is becoming more commonplace.
Talent managers are far more conscious of the employer experience, so they are employing an empathetic and human approach towards candidates from the moment they apply straight through to rejection or acceptance.
Many talent managers are happy that TA has shifted from “stealing” candidates to building meaningful relationships.
TA leaders have also noted that candidates can access so much information about their company culture that it’s impossible to unintentionally mislead them about what to expect.
How has the relationship between Talent Acquisition and Human Resources changed in recent years?
As Talent Acquisition teams have become more established, relationships with Human Resources are becoming closer.
Time is tight, so talent managers find they don’t have enough time to create talent communities and pipeline candidates.
TA teams are under-resourced; meaning that they are increasingly being assisted by hiring managers.
TA teams are becoming more heard as management and staff feel the challenges of the market impact production.
Many talent managers are using dashboards and analytics to measure hiring managers’ input, which is improving accountability and transparency.
Data points for hiring success have changed and are becoming more inclusive of the hiring managers’ responsibilities.
What is the perception of TA teams in your business now?
Talent acquisition is a relatively new role in many businesses, so how do other employees perceive them?
Some talent managers suggest that their departments are quite junior now but that the work they’re doing now will bring real benefit over the next six months.
As the whole business gets involved in recruitment, there is a new appreciation for the difficulties involved.
Some companies have leaders do secondments with recruiters so they can better understand the difficulties and challenges involved in hiring staff.
What do talent acquisition teams feel hiring managers need to do to thrive in this new market?
While hiring managers are adjusting to the new market conditions, talent managers feel they have more room to grow.
Talent teams should give hiring managers more data-driven feedback to help them understand how difficult recruitment is these days.
Hiring managers need to take more responsibility for selling the company and shift from “why do you want to work with us” to “what do you need from us to want to work here”.
Hiring managers need to be educated or encouraged to move from simply telling candidates that their company is great to work at and thinking more about how to entice candidates that are sitting on multiple job offers.
Are companies becoming more flexible around role requirements?
Competition for talent is so extreme that many businesses are becoming less strict about role requirements.
Some companies, particularly in tech, are happy to take 60% of their requirements and mentor candidates to get them up to speed.
However, some talent teams find that almost everyone they speak to wants a senior role.
Budgets are so stretched already that businesses can’t afford to have underqualified people in senior roles.
Have candidate expectations changed?
Candidate expectations have changed due to increased demand and an overall shift in how people view work.
Talent managers suggest that candidates are becoming more concerned with benefits and, in particular, asking for packages that exceed their current benefits.
Some candidates have begun to ask about private healthcare as a benefit, which is something that only 7% of employers even offer.
Some candidates want to talk about benefits before they even consider salary. This is a relatively new phenomenon for most talent teams.
How have hiring metrics changed in unexpected ways?
Market conditions have shifted considerably; how have hiring metrics changed in response?
KPIs have changed from roles hired to offers accepted because candidates were increasingly pulling out of offers at the last minute.
Some talent leaders are less focused on hiring metrics and are more focused on how candidate experience can impact conversion
Many organisations are using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to evaluate candidate experience.
NPS is also being used for hiring teams and hiring managers’ experiences
One team has a candidate and hiring team NPS that is posted on a general Slack channel, so everyone is accountable.
What steps are talent teams taking to improve the process?
Aside from candidate shortage, some of the biggest blockers for recruitment are low hiring manager quality, a lack of 24hr feedback for candidates, and ensuring the hiring manager is present for the entire recruitment process.
Many teams are outlining the best practices to their stakeholders, which are more about doing quality work rather than X interviews per week.
Many TA teams are working on how to build more transparency for salaries and benefits.
A huge thank you to the amazing people who joined us for this session. We’re already planning the next one, so if you or someone you know would like to be involved, just let us know.