Agility Is Key in Finding and Keeping Candidates

Think creatively about meeting job
requirements in a tight labor market

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Article Summary

The ultimate goal for a company, when it comes to
talent acquisition, is finding and retaining quality candidates. But, how does
an organization go about doing this? The article below points out several
different tactics to assist in this area, like keeping up with workforce
trends, incorporating employees in recruiting, being flexible about skill
requirements, developing employees and being transparent about potential career
trajectories. Another vital part of recruiting is making sure your
organizations recruitment team is developing and grows with the business so
there are no gaps. Remember that finding and retaining new talent is important
but don’t forget about the employees you already have, their talent should be
valued and considered as well to avoid over hiring. Learn more tips by reading
the article below!

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As more people find jobs and as candidates grow scarce, HR
professionals who want to create better organizational outcomes should make
sure talent acquisition teams are agile and prepared for the business’s future

At The Conference Board’s recent Talent Acquisition
Conference, speakers stressed the importance of keeping up with workforce
trends, involving employees in recruiting, being flexible about skill
requirements, developing employees and being transparent about potential career
trajectories, especially with Millennials.

Erin Duran, director of talent acquisition for LifeBridge
Health, a Baltimore-based health system, said being agile means “pushing
my people [and] getting them out of their comfort zone” in a rapidly
evolving field.

“Sometimes that means making some hard decisions,”
Duran said. “But it’s also really getting my team to understand the
business piece” so they can be more flexible. “As the business
evolves, it’s really making sure our recruitment team evolves with that as

More Holistic Recruiting Approach

Several speakers said talent acquisition professionals
should really understand the business they are working for. CIA puts recruiters
through six months of training before they ever talk to applicants to ensure
they understand operations, science and technology, support, digital
innovation, and more. 

Principal Financial rotates information technology (IT)
employees into its recruiting organization. At any given time, the company has
two developers on its IT recruiting team.

LifeBridge Heath tries to be flexible by moving employees
with transferable skills into different roles, particularly since burnout among
nurses is a real concern. When the company moved an acute care nurse into
recruitment, results were “phenomenal. Nobody can sell better what they do
as a nurse than a nurse,” Duran said.

Adam Lawrence, vice president of talent acquisition at
McKesson, a San Francisco-based pharmaceutical firm, agreed that rotating staff
from outside talent acquisition into talent acquisition roles pays dividends,
because, “they just think differently” and are often more cost

“There’s a value-add to mixing up your staff”
because if the people representing you to future employees aren’t intimate with
and don’t really understand what you do, you’ve got a big problem, he said.

Flexible About Skill Requirements

Several speakers said organizations should think differently
about required skills and capabilities for their employees. Lawrence said he
thinks most companies over hire by 50 percent of “what they really need to
do the job.” Sure, there are exceptions, like needing a specialized
engineer, but for a typical desk or knowledge worker, Lawrence said, companies
may be better off focusing more on the traits that organizations will
increasingly need, such as agility, the ability to lead through change and

Make It Hard to Move Around

Ron Patrick, deputy director of talent development for the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), encouraged attendees to continue developing
employees by sending them on rotations and externships. After all, a computer
scientist may later transition to be manager of contracts. Providing training
and a way to take risks is just another way to recruit and keep hard-fought

But Lawrence noted that some companies make it hard for
people to move around. Managers who hoard talent aren’t punished while those
good at moving talent aren’t recognized. Often, employees get frustrated if
they know they’re being held back.

“When there are systemic issues, we have to be brave
about talking about them,” he said.

Transparent About Career Paths

Moderator Kara Yarnot, a program director for The Conference
Board and founder and president of Meritage Talent Solutions, noted that
Millennials are a huge force to be reckoned with.

“Love them or hate them, they’re more diverse, highly
collaborative, they’ve very transparent, they want feedback [and] they’re very
good at giving feedback,” Yarnot said.

Lawrence said it’s important to know the velocity at which
talent moves through your organization. If you’re trying to hire a Millennial
for a job he is qualified for today, when will he stop progressing because
there’s a 40- or 50-year-old in the job above him who hasn’t moved and probably
isn’t going to move?

Organizations with stagnant succession plans should be
honest, Patrick said. Tell them, “If you come to work for us, you may not
be at the C-level in your first five years and it may take some time,” but
offer a typical career path and how the employee might progress.

all, in a tight labor market, “the last thing you want to do is mislead or
misinform anyone you are hiring,” Patrick said. “Because they will
vote by walking out.”

your company grows, your HR needs become more complex. We take HR to a whole new
level by partnering with you to achieve your strategic goals for your company whether
that be recruiting, talent development, training or any other HR need. Contact
us for more information at 610-296-8550 or

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