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Applicant Tracking System

The Ultimate Talent Acquisition Guide

By implementing robust talent acquisition and recruitment strategies and utilizing tools in a powerful applicant tracking system, job posters can appeal to highly-qualified candidates, showcase their unique corporate culture, and demonstrate value to create diverse teams full of top-tier talent.

Talent Acquisition and Recruitment. What’s the difference?

Many people use the terms talent acquisition and recruitment synonymously. However, there is a slight difference between  these two terms.

Talent Acquisition
Talent acquisition refers to a broader process in which recruitment plays a part. With talent acquisition, the organization's overall goals are taken into consideration to create a strategy and a repeatable process for accomplishing current and future hiring goals. Such strategy will include various elements: 

  • Identifying current and future need 
  • Defining required job roles
  • Establishing corporate culture with employer branding
  • Attracting candidates with a strategic recruitment process
  • Managing Applicant Tracking Systems and other tools
  • Onboarding candidates
  • Maintaining employee retention

Effective talent acquisition utilizes data analytics to streamline the process and inform hiring decisions. Applicant tracking systems are tools that help gather and analyze the necessary data while also guiding job posters to the best acquisition boards for their needs.

The recruitment process involves filling open positions with a subset of steps as part of a larger talent acquisition strategy. The recruitment process often includes steps:

  • Create a job description 
  • Post job acquisition to job boards, social media, and internally
  • Narrow down the recruitment pool to desired candidates
  • Screen candidates
  • Interview in person or with video conferencing technology
  • Provide a job offer
  • Onboard new employee

TIP: Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) help automate the talent acquisition and recruitment processes, allowing job posters to post to multiple sites at once, track applicants, sort through resumes, organize data, and narrow down applicants to the most qualified.

Talent Acquisition Process

Talent acquisition covers everything from defining recruitment goals to onboarding new employees. Talent acquisition strategies ensure compliance and gather data for future hiring processes.

Here is what a typical talent acquisition process will include:

  • Assessing annual and quarterly hiring needs for each department
  • Working with hiring managers to determine staffing needs and create job descriptions
  • Creating strategy for job posting, interview, and selection processes
  • Conducting talent outreach at networking and recruiting events (job fairs, conferences, etc.)
  • Utilizing social media channels to reach potential candidates
  • Determining criteria for top-tier candidates
  • Preparing interview questions tailored to specific job openings 
  • Analyzing resumes and applications 
  • Working with HR and management to ensure ethical hiring practices
  • Monitoring the onboarding process to ensure a smooth transition and compliance

Talent Acquisition Data Analysis

The first part of talent acquisition requires data analysis and a deep understanding of business goals and future developments.

Talent acquisition analytics collect and use data to inform hiring processes like recruitment and onboarding to find ways to maximize efficiency. A talent acquisition team will need to understand each department’s current hiring needs while ascertaining future needs based on business growth and costs. Typical talent acquisition analytics look at various metrics to determine efficiency:

  • Cost of recruitment ads
  • Total cost per hire
  • Time spent recruiting individual hires
  • Quality of hire
  • Team performance metrics
  • Offer acceptance rates
  • Talent pool size



Recruitment Step-by-Step

Once the talent acquisition team has assessed each department's annual and quarterly hiring needs and analyzed the acquisition data, they work to fill individual positions with the most immediate need while also creating a pool of applicants for later use. 

Here are the usual steps and some tips for recruiting candidates for current job openings.

1. Create a job description.

Work with the talent acquisition team and management to create a job description that details the requirements and responsibilities of the role and highlights the organization's mission and employer brand. Consider the corporate culture you have to offer and ensure that comes through in the job description.

2. Post job acquisition to job boards, social media, and internally.

Research which job boards will be most effective for posting your job description. Don’t forget to post the job opening on your organization’s social media channels and encourage employees to share with friends and family. Referral bonuses are also an effective way to boost recruitment efforts.

3. Narrow down the talent pool to desired candidates.

Most job requisitions get a lot of responses from people who simply don’t meet the minimum requirements for the job. This step removes them from the process so that you are only left with desirable candidates in your talent pool. 

TIP: Applicant tracking systems help you post to multiple job boards at once, saving time and ensuring better placement. 

TIP: This part can be difficult if you aren’t using an applicant tracking system with tools for narrowing down your list of applicants. A typical ATS will have a keyword tool or other search features that will help weed out applicants that don’t meet the minimum requirements for the role.

Check out these articles for more tips on narrowing the applicant pool to find top-tier talent:

4. Screen candidates.

Once you’ve narrowed down your applicants to those who meet the minimum requirements for the job, it’s time to screen candidates to find those who will truly fit the role within the company. A talent acquisition team would work with management to call candidates individually and ask predetermined interview questions to find people that would be a perfect fit.

5. Interview in person or with video conferencing technology.

During this step, management will conduct interviews in person or through video conferencing technology to better understand an individual’s skill set and how they will fit in with the company culture and coworkers. Each organization has a different strategy for conducting interviews that may include multiple interview stages with people from various levels within the company and individual teams. Again, talent acquisition specialists can help managers prepare and keep the big picture in mind.

6. Provide a job offer.

Management, talent acquisition teams, HR specialists, and other team members within an organization should meet and discuss the merits of each candidate and narrow down the list to one finalist and extend a job offer. It is vital to move quickly during this stage to ensure you don’t miss out on the best candidates.

TIP: Maintain communication with your list of desired candidates to ensure you stay top of mind. 

TIP: Utilize applicant tracking software to help decide before the best talent chooses another opportunity.


7. Onboard new employee.

Employee onboarding is where your new hire fills out essential paperwork and learns more about their new role. Onboarding is also where employers make vital first impressions that can determine whether or not their new hire sticks around. 

Check out our employee onboarding guide for strategies and tips that will help facilitate a great experience for new hires. 

Benefits of Effective Recruitment

Establishing an effective recruitment strategy and hiring the right people for the right job is vital to the overall success of any organization.

Other benefits of effective recruitment include:

  • Faster business growth
  • Improved employee retention
  • Higher quality new hires
  • Greater employee productivity
  • Better company culture
  • Lower hiring costs


Tips and Trends for Talent Acquisition

According to a 2017 CareerBuilder Survey, 74% of employers say they hired the wrong person for a position, and employers lost an average of $14,900 per bad hire in 2017.

A bad hire can cost a lot more depending on the type of job, especially when you factor in time spent training and investing in them during the first month or so. Just think about how many hours and resources are put into onboarding a new employee. Making a wrong hiring decision can also lead to loss of productivity, decreased revenue, and poor morale among team members. 

Here are some tips and trends for talent acquisition to ensure you attract the best talent and don’t make a bad hiring decision in the future.

Tip 1: Create a memorable employee experience to attract and retain the best talent.
Creating a positive employee experience is crucial if you want to attract applicants and retain your star talent. Many businesses have been updating their benefits, but people are looking for more from their employers these days.

According to HR experts, employees that are looking to change jobs want these things from their new employers:

  • Flexibility in working hours
  • Higher pay
  • Job security
  • More paid time off
  • More inclusive work culture

Today’s job hunter is looking for a different experience, and employers need to focus on more than just higher pay and the usual benefits. Instead, brand your company as an organization that cares about human needs and emphasize this aspect in your job descriptions. 

Tip 2: Apply gamification to your recruitment efforts.
The U.S. is full of gamers. Almost two-thirds of all Americans play video games, and recruitment experts have noticed. In recent years, many companies have started to apply elements of gaming to their recruitment strategies, including big-name companies like Google and Cisco. 

Gamifying recruitment efforts helps employers appear innovative and attract more applicants while allowing recruiters to preview an applicant’s skills. Here are some examples of recruitment gamification:

  • Skill assessment quizzes
  • Role-playing 
  • Simulations
  • Puzzles
  • Coding challenges
  • Hackathon
  • Quick-write story challenge

Gamification helps size up applicants and test their skill sets before an interview, weeding out the wrong candidates well before a hiring decision.


Tip 3: Define your employer brand and establish your business as a great place to work.
Creating an employer brand is a vital part of talent acquisition. According to HubSpot, good employer branding can cut cost-to-hire in half, so you want to make it clear to potential applicants what it is like to work for your company while also positioning your organization as a great place to work.

Think about your employer branding as a way to tell your company’s story and include the following elements to ensure you paint a clear picture for job seekers:

  • Create a clear mission statement that describes your company’s values, vision, and culture. 
  • Conduct research to find out what employees like about working at your company and highlight those aspects. 
  • Explain how working for your company provides opportunities for meaningful experiences by writing a value proposition. 
  • Gather employee interviews and testimonials to share on social media and your website.
  • Ask employees to complete Glassdoor reviews, but don’t incentivize or make it a requirement. 
  • Be transparent about what you have to offer and be competitive. Your compensation package should be competitive with other company types in your industry.


Tip 4: Create an efficient and enjoyable onboarding process. 

Creating an efficient and enjoyable onboarding process ensures an easy transition and a great first impression. According to experts, a successful onboarding strategy will reduce attrition and increase employee engagement. Onboarding software helps by streamlining the process and ensuring paperwork is completed before an employee’s first work day.


Tip 5: Automate and make processes repeatable.

Effective talent acquisition strategies are process-oriented and repeatable. For example, applicant tracking systems help employers, talent acquisition specialists, and managers automate and work through the entire talent acquisition and recruitment processes, reducing cost-per-hire and ensuring employers find the best talent.

Talent Acquisition Technology: How Applicant Tracking Systems Benefit the Talent Acquisition Process

Applicant tracking systems are talent acquisition technology that makes the entire process easier for employers and job seekers. An ATS helps employers manage job applications, organize data, and hire faster.

Utilizing an easy-to-use and mobile-friendly ATS like the one offered by Proliant ensures employers can attract the best talent and weed out those who don’t fit what they are looking for in their teams. Here are the features to look for in an ATS:

Job Board Management
Post a job requisition to multiple job boards with just one click and view analytics to see which job boards perform best. Proliant’s ATS allows you to view performance analytics for metrics like resumes received, number of candidates in the process, hiring rate per job board, etc. You can also view overall feedback on job posts, click-through rates, applications received, and interview offers.

Resume Sorting
You know how quickly resumes and applications can pile up if you've ever posted a job. An ATS will help sort through the pile with the help of keywords. Proliant’s ATS has a feature known as Passive Candidate Sourcing that lets you use keywords to sort applicants by job titles, years of experience, industry knowledge, and more.

Resume Database
If you have a lot of applicants for a job and some of them barely missed the cut, you may want to save them for later. Proliant’s ATS allows you to store those resumes in the database and sort them using the same keywords from the initial search.

Candidate Stage Tracking
Candidate stage tracking will let you see at a glance where candidates are in the hiring process. In addition, you can see status updates such as applicants waiting for email responses, scheduled interviews, rejected applicants, and more.

Interview Feedback
With applicant interview feedback, an automatic score is generated for an applicant before the interview using a resume grading system that checks how relevant an applicant’s resume is to your job requisition. Interviewers can then provide feedback after the interview and apply another score to the applicant, making it easy to see applicants you may want to call in for that second interview.

More Applicant Tracking Resources