Four Challenges Talent Acquisition Leaders Must Address Now

Mary Lorenz

The movie Nine to Five may be a timeless American treasure, but as a concept, working ‘nine to five’ is – for an increasing number of workers today –  completely outdated.

With more workers setting their own hours, working remotely or choosing freelance and contract work over full-time positions, the traditional 40-hour work week has all but disappeared. This evolution is just one of the many changes affecting talent acquisition practices today, and subsequently forcing HR to re-examine some of their traditional recruiting methods.

“The world of work and recruitment is changing fast, and it’s easy to miss new and critical challenges,” ERE Media CEO Ron Mester told an audience of recruiting professionals at the recent ERE Conference & Expo in San Diego.  “We’re moving from a time where most work was continuous and predictable to discontinuous and unpredictable.”  For these reasons, Mester says, it is imperative that recruiters re-imagine their approach to talent acquisition – rather than simply trying to re-engineer it.

“Seek and embrace innovation,” Mester advised during his session, Make-or-Break: 4 Pivotal Challenges That Talent Acquisition Leaders Must Address NowHe then addressed the four challenges hiring managers must overcome today.

  1. Challenge #1: Volatility – Today’s talent is more demanding than ever, asking for shorter, less predictable business cycles and wanting to focus on projects versus jobs. Solution: Exploit big data to become better predictors, be proactive and fill talent pools instead of simply reacting to reqs, and change your mix of talent sources.
  2. Challenges #2: Transparency – Today’s candidates have more access to employer information than ever before, thanks in large part to social media. Organizations are now an open book, and candidates can easily get a clear picture of your culture – for better or for worse. Solution: ‘Turn the lights on’ and help tidy up. In other words, get in on the conversation and help steer the message. Find out what employees are saying about you by running a search for your company on sites like or Jobvent – where employees can post anonymously about their workplace experiences – or even on Google. Once you have insight into how your company is perceived, you can work to proactively manage your online employer brand reputation.
  3. Challenge #3: Consumerism – “The way candidates search for jobs looks increasingly like their consumer experience,” Mester says. Candidates want the job search experience to be as easy and immediate as their online buying experience. Solution: Adopt consumer marketing best practices and measure candidate satisfaction as it relates to consumer satisfaction.
  4. Challenge #4: Total talent – “How do you make sure you’re circling the right talent pools?” Mester asks. Too many hiring managers are focused on procuring employees, rather than finding the right talent for the organization. As a result, they are limiting their scope and only “swimming in part of the pool” when it comes to sourcing talent. Solution: Don’t just be a ‘hiring manager’ – be a ‘talent manager’: Expand your search to include other sources of talent, such as contingent labor and outsourcing services. Don’t limit yourself to ‘active’ candidates, and widen your scope to include alternative talent pools. “Seek out the whole pool.”

How do you address these challenges? It’s time to rethink/transform the talent acquisition department.


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