“Talent Acquisition is Hard!” Resourcing Your Recruiting Team

A new search entrepreneur said something I’ll never forget at a webinar roundtable discussion:“Talent acquisition is hard.”  He had been the hiring manager for the majority of his career and was now helping recruiting firms with research services. He said this with an air of authority, yes, but also exhaustion.

He said he never knew how time consuming and challenging identifying and engaging talent was.  He’s right.  The hours it takes to identify all the candidates aligned with a search is mind-boggling.  And that is only the first of many steps to get to a hire.   

I won’t get into the recruiting process here (but look for that in future blogs!).  Today I want to discuss how to properly resource talent acquisition so your organization can achieve consistent hiring results. Let’s explore some ways to enhance your talent acquisition capabilities.

Search Operations Coordinator

You’ve hired an internal recruiter.  You now believe the amazing resumes will start flowing in, your hiring managers will have a plethora of top candidates to choose from, and your organization land those unicorn uber-talents who will drive new company growth.  You’re all set, right?    Unfortunately it never seems to roll-out that way.  Things are better with a recruiter for sure, but there are still gaps.  What’s going on?

A single internal recruiter can make a big difference and elevate a company from the post-and-pray days, but a well-resourced and supported internal recruiter can move mountains.

That’s why successful companies pair their internal recruiters with a Search Operations Coordinator (SOC).  One SOC per 2-3 recruiters can really elevate your internal recruiting game.  Qualified SOC’s bring stellar research and email marketing chops.  They assemble candidate target lists and execute the communications plan.  SOC’s also help with clerical work like scheduling and contract management, freeing up your recruiters’ time to manage candidates and the entire hiring process. 

Recruiting Software

Ultimately, most recruiting is a high-touch, person-to-person endeavor, but software assistance can aid in capturing data, managing the process, and communicating to the candidate audience.  

Ask recruiting professionals about their software support tools, however, and you’ll get mixed reviews. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly evaluate and vest applicant tracking systems, candidate sourcing and tracking tools, and LinkedIn membership options before adding them to your toolkit. 

Outsourced Support

There are a myriad of off-shore recruiting process consultants on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, as well as dedicated companies who provide this support.  Your mileage may vary, but if you find a strong virtual sourcer their impact can be significant.  

Know exactly when you need help

Understanding the scenarios when a third-party recruiting partner is required can save time, ensure the entire eligible candidate pool has been approached, and free up your recruiting staff to focus on other easier-to-fill hires.  There are three common scenarios when a third party recruiting partner could enhance your internal recruiting team’s efforts.  

When certainty is required:  Leadership, critical account, and strategic lead roles often require knowing you’ve approached the entire eligible field and that your candidate pool is a thorough representation of the leaders that are available at that time.  Retained search firms are the best fit in this scenario.  

When the hiring load is just too high:  Knowing your internal talent acquisition (TA) team’s capacity and engaging a search firm to fill in the gaps can help keep your TA team happy and productive — keep hiring times down.  Contingency search firms are the traditional go-to, but more and more search firms are now using a retained search strategy for all levels and delivering quick, productive results.

Niche & tight talent pool searches: Typically difficult-to-fill searches are a good reason to engage a third party.  Finding those niche recruits that your TA team doesn’t typically hire regularly or filling a functional role with a tight talent pool is a great reason to engage a niche recruiting partner with experience in those spaces.  Consider using a retained approach so your partner is focused on closing the search quickly.  

Understand the costs of not hiring quickly

Few organizations realize the true costs of not hiring quickly.  There can be significant opportunity-loss costs to your organization by not having that employee in place.  Understanding the delta between your TA expenses and lost revenue/opportunity resulting from a slow hiring process is crucial.  That number can represent the budgetary level you need to additionally fund talent acquisition.  

Thank your currently under-resourced TA team

As a third-party recruiter, I understand how difficult the internal recruiting function is.  Be aware of overloading your TA team with internal meetings and unrelated tasks.  Time in meetings is time away from recruiting and candidate engagement work.  Remember what our new search entrepreneur said, “Talent acquisition is hard!”.  Thank your TA team every day, and remember to ask them what they need to be successful.  

Drop me a line. I am always happy to jump on a call and talk through these issues with you and how to implement them successfully. 

[email protected]


Photo by Pascal Swier on Unsplash


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Ciera is a born-and-raised Duluthian who recently graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh. When she isn’t designing the Salmela website or sending emails, she doubles as an actress! With over 15 years of acting experience, Ciera brings her creative artistry and understanding of people to her work at Salmela.

Madison is a marketing maven with a mastery of magnificent messaging. She brightens every room with her positive attitude and joins Salmela to explore the digital corners on every search. If you’re having a first conversation with one of us, Madison is probably the reason why!

Ryan is an Emmy-award winning news producer with a strong history in the performing arts. Funny and outgoing, he’ll meet you with a journalist’s curiosity and actor’s joie de vivre.

Meghan brings her previous advertising agency experience to Salmela. She is a natural-born conversationalist and delights in every interaction with candidates and clients alike. Meghan can find something in common or a shared interest with just about anyone. (No really, it’s AMAZING.) She is also a foodie, loves cooking, and is always looking for the next opportunity to try an adventurous recipe.

Kate joins Salmela after a decade of non-profit arts leadership, where she shared her passion for building community, education, inclusiveness, and arts access. Her superpower is helping professionals identify their strengths and set them on a course for greater success. After work, she can be found reading Shakespeare, doing yoga, or prepping the next generation of theatre stars for college.

Cory spends his day advising senior leaders on talent acquisition strategy. He is happiest on his bike, skis, or helping his daughters rehearse lines. He began his career as a National Team Coach for the U.S. Ski Biathlon Team, followed by experience in pharma sales. In 2005, he founded Salmela. Today, Salmela places leaders across the healthcare industry. Salmela is the go-to vendor across marcomm disciplines in healthcare and beyond.

Chief Financial Officer, Olympian, and Health Coach, what can’t she do? When Kara is not managing the Salmela Financials, she spends her days educating and supporting people as a health coach. If that wasn’t cool enough, she also competed as an American biathlete at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics.

Megan focuses on individual career wellness and team development for the healthcare advertising industry. As a natural networker, and with a career background in health/wellness and international corporate project management, Megan has the experience necessary to understand your needs. She enjoys being outside with her family, volunteering in the community, trail running and practicing yoga.

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