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6 Secrets of Talent Attraction in 2024 [Data + Expert Tips]

Job boards, referrals, CRMs, career sites, chatbots, AI-based matching—where do you start in the quest to attract skilled talent to the business so you can fill roles on time? With so many options, there might not be one easy answer to effortless talent attraction, but in a recent webinar, we uncovered a few. 

Webinar with Kevin Grossman, Warren Davidson and Lee Ann Prescott

In the Research Webinar: Tactics and Strategies for Winning Hard-To-Find Talent in 2024, I met with Warren Davidson, Director, SmartJobs at SmartRecruiters, and Kevin Grossman, VP of Research at ERE Media to uncover the tactics and strategies working for talent leaders today. Here are our key takeaways.

1. Communicate with the business

For 60% of survey respondents, it’s taking longer to hire talent with hard-to-find skill sets than it did a year ago. At the same time, 35% are meeting most of their hiring targets and 46% are exceeding or meeting all of their targets. 

The fact that a majority are saying it’s taking longer than a year ago, and a majority [81%] are also saying that they’re meeting most if not all of their targets indicates that their targets have changed. It shows that TA teams are communicating with the business, and LinkedIn data from earlier in the year backs this up: 70% of TA pros say the team can claim a seat at the table.

Pro Tip: Analyze data on time to hire and time in stage, and break it down by department and role. Share with the appropriate stakeholders to uncover process roadblocks and set achievable hiring targets.

2. Take a long-term approach with a smart career site

Smart career sites are the #1 recruiting technology for engaging with hard-to-find talent, as mentioned by 36% of Talent Board survey respondents. An additional 26% plan to implement an upgraded career site in the next year. 

When it comes to attraction activities, posting to job boards (51%) and employer branding (41%) ranked #2 and #3 respectively. On job boards, you’re competing against other employers. By contrast, the career site is where your company gets to shine.

Job boards can help you generate the volume of candidates, but they might not be the right quality. One of the ways to solve that and drive quality is to engage passive talent. Thinking strategically about your employer brand and engaging passive talent on an intelligent career site is a more strategic, long-term approach.

– Warren Davidson, Director, SmartJobs, SmartRecruiters

Pro Tip: Understand exactly how a career site can engage passive talent by learning about the features of intelligent career sites on our blog Four Amazing Career Sites and Why We Love Them

3. Take a skills-based approach

Nearly all—92%—of respondents surveyed are relying on upskilling and reskilling to some degree in their quest to fill specialized roles. Talent shortages in some locations have led companies to engage in upskilling internal talent and investing in internal mobility.

  • Companies that are exceeding hiring goals and targets have a 120% greater reliance on reskilling and upskilling than companies that aren’t exceeding their hiring goals and targets.

With reskilling and upskilling on the rise, it’s important for companies to apply rigor in how they uncover and identify candidates’ skills as early in the hiring process as possible. 

Pro Tip: Leverage AI-based candidate discovery tools like SmartAssistant that enable recruiters to uncover candidate profiles with the most appropriate skills for each job.

4. Invest in referrals

Employee referrals may be one of the oldest sourcing channels in the book, but they are still one of the most effective, particularly when it comes to scarce talent. Referrals were the #1 talent attraction activity for hard-to-find talent, mentioned by 59% of respondents.

SmartRecruiters customer CityFibre implemented a structured referral and internal mobility program, and within three months, these channels represented 40% of their hires. Referrals are low-hanging fruit for companies that want to grow their ability to attract skilled talent.

Pro Tip: Track source of hire and applicant-to-hire conversion ratios for all sources, including individual job boards, CRM, referrals, and internal applicants. Use this information to adjust your investments by channel.

5. Provide a consumer-grade experience to hiring teams

There’s a historical disconnect in the perceptions of management and the people who do the daily work of recruiting. The Talent Board study revealed that more than half of executives are very satisfied with their team’s ability to source and attract talent with hard-to-find skill sets, yet only 38% of directors and managers agree, and a sparse 21% of recruiters can say the same.

Teams should be equipped with easy-to-use tools that improve efficiency. The experiences of recruiters and hiring managers matter just as much as the candidate’s experience.

By making the technology more usable for hiring teams, candidates have a better experience overall. If recruiters can screen more accurately, respond faster, and hiring teams have tighter feedback loops, the candidate gets closure faster.

– Shefali Netke, Global Director, Design, SmartRecruiters

According to the Talent Board, companies have a 78% higher “very satisfied” rating when they exceed goals and targets and fill jobs faster. This correlation suggests that equipping teams with the tools they need to be efficient promotes satisfaction.

Pro Tip: Schedule a usability discussion to uncover the pain points in your recruiting technology. Determine where you can adjust processes or implement new systems to move your team to “very satisfied.” 

6. Diversify your approach to talent attraction

There’s no single approach that makes engaging specialized talent easier. The Talent Board survey found the following:

When CRMs, ATSs, AI-based candidate matching and sourcing, chatbots, and texting systems are used to attract and engage candidates, the ability to exceed goals and targets for positions requiring specialized and hard-to-find skill sets increases by 29%. – The Talent Board

It takes a combination of technologies to deliver quality talent to the business, on time and within budget. When it comes to attracting candidates, career sites and job distribution platforms are the top strategies for hiring specialized talent. 

Your candidate pool won’t be as diverse if you’re using the same job boards as everyone else. When you invest in your brand with a great career site, digital recruitment marketing, and good job distribution, you can spend less on advertising and still attract high-quality candidates.

– Warren Davidson, Director, SmartJobs, SmartRecruiters

Pro Tip: Map out how all the elements of your recruiting process work together and identify the most obvious areas where applying technology or improving processes can win quality talent faster. The Hiring Success Business Assessment is a great place to start.

In the end, it’s all about the candidates

Attracting talent is not just about filling a certain number of roles, it’s about building a future organization. Therefore, your company has to care about its candidates as much as it cares about employees. Every single step you take to attract the right talent and improve the candidate experience can have a ripple effect.

When companies improve their candidate experience, the candidates’ willingness to refer can increase by 30-50%—whether or not they got the job.

– Kevin Grossman, VP Research, ERE Media

If you’re inspired by these stats and tips, there’s more to uncover in the Talent Board Recruitment Survey Report: Tactics & Strategies for Winning Hard-to-Find Talent in 2024. If you’re ready to get started implementing recruiting technology, get in touch with us for a demo.

SmartRecruiters Talent Board joint research

Lee Ann Prescott