How to create a talent acquisition strategy

A talent acquisition strategy is a long-term plan for attracting high calibre candidates. It documents the ways that your business will identify and entice well-qualified, high performing individuals, using both inward and outward facing tactics. As the recruitment arena becomes increasingly competitive, it’s crucial that businesses are focussed on keeping their talent pool well-stocked, as well as working hard to retain top talent.

While specific recruitment campaigns can be short term, filling roles when they appear or become vacant, talent acquisition is a long-term approach that will raise your profile in front of the candidates that will positively impact your business and nurture your relationships with them, regardless of whether there are current positions available. A talent acquisition strategy can work particularly well in competitive and niche industries, and for high-level, executive roles, but is applicable across businesses that are thinking about the bigger picture when it comes to talent resource and securing lucrative candidates.

So, what elements should feed into your talent acquisition strategy? Below we outline the areas and processes that will help you shape your organisations approach.

Assess your current talent acquisition data

Like all critical business decisions, you should strive to be data-led when it comes to talent acquisition. By calculating your staff turnover and retention rates, you can see just how effective your current strategy is.

Other sources of data that you can leverage are exit interview data; this will provide insights into the value of your employee engagement and training and whether you need to revisit these elements. It could be that your company’s brand mission, purpose and values are prominent within your business.

These sources of data will highlight different areas that need to be addressed. For instance, if people are staying with the company for just a matter of months, it could be down to a poor onboarding experience. If they are leaving after remaining in the same position for a number of years, it could be deemed that your business isn’t offering opportunities for employees to grow and progress.

How does this relate to talent acquisition? Because retaining top talent and empowering them to climb the career ladder within your firm through proper onboarding, learning and development is just as important as hiring them.

What does your current recruitment process look like?

What are the barriers for people entering these roles? Are you specifying a defined number of years of experience or certain level of education? How does this fit in to the supply and demand model within your industry? By creating such strict criteria, you could be ostracising great potential candidates.

Do these requirements align with the current top performing employees within the company, or is just criteria that has always been used within the business? We are now operating in a job seekers market, and you must make your company as accessible as possible to potential candidates.

Knowing where your potential candidates are online, and the values and messages that resonate with them is key when it comes to attracting them to your business. Take the same due care and attention to market yourself to this audience as you would market your business to prospects and customers.

Onboarding and employee training

It’s fair to say that many firms have a legacy of simply playing lip service to both elements, with training in particular, becoming little more than a tick-box exercise.

Once you have analysed the aforementioned data, you can review your current onboarding and training processes and make the necessary improvements. While there may be broad business training that your workforce needs to undergo, there should also be personalised training that is focused on individuals’ job roles, and the direction they want to take, to encourage employee growth and progression.

By setting clear objectives and timeframes and allowing employees the adequate time needed to complete the training, it will become ingrained in your company culture, and you will become known as an employer that supports and empowers their employees, qualities and values that attract top talent. In fact, a report by the REC found that 80% of millennials say the opportunity to learn new skills is an important factor when considering a new job.

Employer brand

Employer branding is an entity that we discuss in more detail.

Essentially, it is successfully cultivating and defining your brand before proactively marketing it. As previously mentioned, by defining your company mission statement, purpose and values, showcasing your companies’ culture and leveraging the story of successful and high performing employees and brand advocates, you will naturally attract attention.

How do you really treat your employees and what is the environment and culture that they work in? Are they happy, loyal and content, and if the answer is ‘yes’, then why? Find out what it is that they love about working for you and make sure that you are outwardly pushing these messages.

Invite your employees to share your company culture on their personal platforms such as LinkedIn, as this will be perceived as authentic and genuine, rather than a sales message. If they truly are happy and motivated, this will naturally happen anyway. Think to the ‘Google culture’, remote working, regular employee social events, modern offices with enviable break out spaces; they are constantly striving to improve the lives of their employees, both inside and outside of work.

These perks naturally create conversation and attract attention. It’s clear that Google have quite the budget to dedicate to their employer brand, and while this isn’t true for every business, there are always ways that you can take an employee-centric approach.

In essence, in order to create a successful talent acquisition strategy, you must know what it is that is driving your high performing employees, and nurture these elements, while working to understand any forces that are having a negative impact on your ability to retain staff and in turn, your employer brand. Once you have analysed that data that relate to both of these elements, you can successfully construct  plan that addresses, and leverages them.

About the Author

Anne Corder

Anne Corder


Whilst still actively handling recruitment assignments, Anne specialises in Human Resources with many years of experience in that sector. She blogs on wider recruitment issues affecting both candidates and clients, commenting and offering tips and advice to help achieve the right outcomes.