Top 5 Talent Acquisition Priorities in 2022
As many a meme has suggested, many of us are shying away from bold declarations about 2022 being “our year,” as if optimism has become a dangerous mindset. While there’s certainly cause to remain cautious, talent acquisition professionals actually have a lot to look forward to in the coming year—namely, a variety of unique opportunities to focus on areas that may have been overlooked and foster the kinds of growth and progress that can make work more meaningful.
The pandemic forced us to change many things about how we work and live. For many organizations, this began with an overnight transition to fully remote work and 100% virtual recruiting, and later shifted to a period of creating policies and practices to support a hybrid workforce. For others, the shift may still be ongoing, as TA teams continue to explore how technology can help them accomplish their goals, even amid challenging times.
Wherever your organization is in your journey, there are five key priorities every talent acquisition team needs to focus on in 2022. Here’s a look at these areas, and some advice on how to make the most of them in the coming year.
Priority #1: Candidate Experience
Once a ‘nice to have,’ candidate experience is now crucial to whether or not you can recruit and hire effectively. Organizations that proactively manage, measure, and improve candidate experience are able to attract more (and better qualified) candidates, speed up time to hire, and tend to experience lower turnover.
Your first step is to audit your candidate experience and learn more about how you’re doing right now. Get feedback from current candidates, recent hires, and employees who have been around for a while—and use their insights to adjust your recruiting process for better outcomes. This includes planning and preparing for virtual events ahead of time, adding live video and recorded presentations, and communicating clearly with candidates before, during, and after events.
It’s also become essential to consider how your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is reflected in the candidate experience. It’s the right thing to do, for sure, and candidates are paying attention. Most (76%) job seekers and employees say that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating potential employers—and they want to learn about what you’re doing to make progress if you’re currently lacking diversity.
Priority #2: Shorten the Application Process
As we head into the new year, the number of open jobs outpaces available job seekers by 2.8 million, a gap that has steadily increased throughout 2021. The worker shortage may worsen before the gap begins to shrink, meaning job seekers have the upper hand over employees in search of top talent. Organizations that want to accelerate the hiring process and land high quality candidates before competing employers will revamp their application process. Applications need to be short, easy to complete, and compatible with mobile devices. That last part is increasingly important, as mobile applications surpassed desktop usage in 2020 and continue to climb, with 61% of all job applications completed on mobile devices.
Consider this: stop using applications as gatekeepers. Instead, use a recruiting chatbot to do an initial screening, offer live recruiter chat on your career site and/or direct candidates to a virtual recruiting event where they can engage in a text or video chat with a recruiter or hiring manager without having to complete a cumbersome application form first. By offering more opportunities for engagement earlier in the recruiting funnel, you can improve the candidate experience and reduce your abandon rates at the same time.
Priority #3: Develop a Talent Pipeline
Deprioritizing the job application lays a foundation for a different kind of candidate experience, and helps you build a recruiting pipeline. You want to create a community of candidates you can nurture until they are ready to work for you. It starts by finding ways for people to connect with your organization outside of a formal job application. A two-minute contact form can drive active and passive candidates into your TA database, which allows you to use recruitment marketing strategies to communicate about virtual events they may be interested in, such as educational sessions or expert Q&As. You can also promote job opportunities and virtual hiring events within your talent community, targeting candidates who might fit your criteria to improve your results.
Priority #4: Strengthen your Employer Brand
Much like candidate experience, actively working on employer branding may have felt like a ‘nice to have’ in pre-pandemic times. But now it’s brass tacks for organizations in all industries and sizes. Candidates increasingly look for employers that align with their personal values and more than half (57%) of job seekers say company culture is as important as pay when they evaluate potential employers.
Today, every organization must tell stories that compel job seekers to join their ranks. It’s not just about a competitive salary and benefits package anymore. And job seekers often pass judgment on your company culture based on your reputation, sometimes without ever interacting with your organization firsthand. This is all the more reason to proactively invest in and manage your employer brand—and this alone can improve your results. According to Glassdoor research, three-quarters (75%) of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand.
Organizations with a strong employer brand simply get better TA results—it’s easier to attract candidates, keep them engaged, and likely to lead to a higher offer acceptance rate. Effective strategies for building a strong employer brand involve targeting the right candidates, engaging with candidates early in the process, and using recruitment marketing strategies to get the word out.
Priority #5: Invest in recruitment marketing
In a talent market with millions more jobs than job seekers, employers have to cast wider nets to find the right talent for their open positions. Recruitment marketing helps build awareness, attract candidates and bring them into your talent community (see #3 above). Employers had to double down on RM in 2021 to remain competitive, and 2022 will see that trend continue.
One valuable prong of your recruitment marketing strategy involves leveraging the relationship between virtual hiring events and your talent sourcing efforts. Building a combined strategy helps you reap even more benefits of virtual events, by expanding your reach, tapping into new talent markets, and creating more (and more meaningful) opportunities for candidates to engage with you.
Shift your Priorities for Better Results in 2022
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to talent acquisition that will yield success for every organization. But, the trends we’ll see continue in 2022 are driven by strong demands from job seekers, and offer employers a variety of opportunities to differentiate their organization from the competition. Ultimately, this is what talent acquisition in 2022 is all about—getting in front of the right candidates, grabbing their attention, and engaging with them as quickly and effectively as possible. This is how TA teams will be able to find quality candidates for job openings throughout the year, and continue making great hires despite record-high talent mobility.
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