How to Prepare for the Future of the Talent Acquisition Industry

February 9, 2022 by Verified First

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Our first episode of HR at the Table season 2 webinar series featured Stanley Black and Decker’s Chief Talent Office, Minh Hua, in an exploration of talent acquisition (TA) practices titled War for Talent: David vs. Goliath." In our chat, Minh summarized the past two years of the TA and HR industry in three words: “whiskey, tango, foxtrot.” 

To expand on Minh’s summary, the sudden shift from a structured market to a flexible one is surprising. It threw many in the TA industry through a loop, forcing changes to happen quickly in order to adapt. As we embrace 2022, the majority of these changes are here to stay. To come out on top in 2022’s talent market, you have to be willing to bend. 

With Minh's help, we’re breaking down the future of the HR and TA industry and how you can be a flexible participant in the industry’s future. 

Shift the Narrative 

Insights from LinkedIn identified flexibility as the top factor in attracting talent in 2022. HR and TA professionals must bend away from past recruiting standards to be a player in today’s talent game. But what does it mean to be flexible? 

Minh suggests viewing flexibility as the practice of shifting priorities. Move the focus from old standards to include new ideas. He states, “If you’re an HR executive, I would say to start slowly shifting the narrative of your strategy. Shift more towards quality of talent, team productivity, and business continuity. It’s a harder story to tell, but you need to do it.”

By narrative, Minh is describing the story you tell to attract talent. The narrative incorporates the information and outlook you tell candidates about your organization. It creates an inside look into your company that helps them decide if they want to be a part of your team. You can cultivate your narrative in three steps. 

  1. Play to your strengths - Identify what sets you apart from other companies, and highlight those strengths. 
  2. Provide a personal recruiting experience - Tell candidates why you joined the company. 
  3. Tell the story of why they should join the company - Let candidates know the main reasons why they should consider you over everyone else. 

By shifting the narrative to an alternative way to attract talent, you’re setting yourself apart from competition. 

Cater to the Market

Throughout these past two years, we’ve seen a major shift in candidate priorities. According to SHRM, current candidates are negotiating for more personal benefits like family planning, remote or hybrid work, more pay based on market value, and other benefits that were once non-negotiables. 

Minh relayed a quote from a friend on the scope of today’s talent market. “The war for talent is over, and talent has won.” In other words, today’s talent market will continue to cater to the candidate. Talent Acquisition professionals won’t be successful in attracting talent if they don’t know what a candidate is looking for. 

A recent article from Forbes stated that a company’s culture is predicted to be the most attractive element to an applicant. Organizations that are able to cultivate a culture of change are the winners when attracting talent. Cultivating a candidate and employee-focused culture can only happen when businesses are flexible.

Putting flexibility into practice starts in-house, and you don’t have to be a big corporation to flex your strengths. Minh believes small to midsize companies have something that can trump even a big-house name.“A new employee has 1 to 2 degrees of separation from the CEO. They have access to real decision-makers every day… That’s powerful when a top talent wants to hear about mission, culture, and experience.” 

Attract with What’s Here to Stay

With the candidates as the victors in the war for talent, it’s the candidates that are cultivating the new normal for recruiting professionals. The benefits they pushed for are here to stay, indicating that the future of talent acquisition rests with the companies that can keep up.

According to Minh, small companies have just as much stock in the new market as larger corporations. What attracts and retains candidates in today’s market doesn’t include flashy incentives and large budgets. It’s flexing your strategy to what candidates expect. Talent acquisition professionals should consider marketing these initiatives to candidates.

  • Remote work options - Whether it’s fully remote or flexible remote options, working from home will be an expectation for applicable roles. 
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives - Candidates want to see that companies not only have a DE&I policy, but that it’s active in the workplace.
  • Streamlined hiring process - Communication and efficiency are key. Candidates are less likely to stick around when hiring decisions aren’t swiftly communicated.
  • Better pay and better incentives - Candidates know their worth. If compensation and benefits are below average, they’ll head straight to your competition.

Minh believes these initiatives are achievable. For small companies, he advises throwing in something extra. “The successful small companies are paying market price for talent but then closing the deal with a personal touch.” In other words, show them they’re going to be cared for and well valued at your company.

In conclusion

Thanks to Minh Hua, Stanley Black and Decker’s Chief Talent Officer, the future of the TA industry isn’t a shot in the dark. By cultivating a promising narrative, looking to the market’s new normal, and attracting talent with what talent expects, you can prepare and form a winning acquisition strategy. For more insight from Minh Hua, check out season 2 episode 1 of our HR at the Table webinar series, War for Talent: David vs. Goliath."

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