Evolving Your Talent Acquisition Strategy for 2019

As you think about your role in 2019, which words come to mind? You may be excited, enthusiastic or maybe even a little stressed, but we believe there’s one word that should define everyone's approach to talent acquisition in 2019: strategic.

We recently invited Jason Putnam, Senior Vice President at BountyJobs, to lead a fireside chat with David Lucey, VP of Talent Acquisition at Epsilon, and Dan Tran, Recruiter at Greenhouse. In this webinar, "Talent Acquisition Evolved: When Talent Acquisition Takes a Strategic Seat at the Table,” the three panelists discussed the changing landscape of talent acquisition and offered their advice on shifting to a more strategic approach.

We’ll share a few highlights from their conversation below, or you can watch the full on-demand webinar here.

Where We Are Today

There’s no denying that today’s talent acquisition landscape is changing. Compared to years past, 2018 has been challenging. There are a number of external factors (low unemployment rate, skills gap, etc.) that impact the pool of talent that’s available. At the same time, many companies are facing internal difficulties such as limited resources coupled with a growing number of reqs to fill.

2018 is different from what we’ve experienced in the past in talent acquisition, and 2019 will probably be even more challenging.” –Jason Putnam, Senior Vice President at BountyJobs

The purpose of the webinar was not to impose a sense of doom and gloom—Jason simply wanted to share that if you’re feeling squeezed by the current talent landscape, you’re not alone. Your peers are right there with you. But there are some changes you can make to take control of the situation.

What Does It Take to Win in This Environment?

After acknowledging that today’s recruiting landscape has drastically changed from years past, the panelists turned the discussion to how recruiters can adapt and succeed. For some teams, this might mean enlisting agencies to help fill urgent roles more quickly. Jason made the observation that around 20–25% of companies are now engaging with agencies, recognizing that this can be an effective way to find qualified candidates quickly.

Dan shared a few strategies that the Greenhouse Talent Acquisition team has put in place, including creating a structured hiring process, engaging with the community both online and in person, and taking a candidate-first mentality. Anticipate candidates’ needs during every step of the process. How will they be feeling and what type of support will they need? For example, Dan recommended giving them a tour of your office and scheduling some downtime for breaks during a lengthy onsite interview, as well as reading and responding to reviews on Glassdoor. Taking steps like these to put candidates first can help you differentiate yourself from the competition.

Dave and Dan also talked about removing college degree qualifications from a number of roles in order to make their hiring processes more inclusive and open to people from unconventional backgrounds. Large companies like Google and Apple have also recently taken the same step.

What Does Alignment Between Talent Acquisition and the Business Look Like?

Alignment between talent acquisition and the rest of the business isn’t just a "nice to have"—it’s the foundation of a strategic approach. So how can talent acquisition teams promote this type of alignment? Dave believes consistency is key. Make sure that every touchpoint candidates have with your company sends the same message. Dave also recommends outlining who in your company is most vital to the hiring process and establishing strong relationships internally with them. Taking this approach ensures that everyone understands their expectations and responsibilities.

Dan had a few practical tips on how to achieve this type of alignment: it starts with a strong kick-off meeting between the recruiter and hiring manager to define the business need for the role, the high-level objectives for what the person will be accomplishing, the skills and attributes they’ll need, and who should be involved in the hiring process and why. Once the role is opened, Dan also recommends establishing a regular cadence of communication with the hiring manager—this could be a weekly email report or an in-person check-in, depending on what works best for your team.

What’s Data Got to Do with It?

There has traditionally been a clear distinction between the talent acquisition team and the executives, and it all comes down to one thing: data.

"Executives bring an Excel spreadsheet to meetings and talent acquisition brings a PowerPoint presentation.” –Jason Putnam, Senior Vice President at BountyJobs

Luckily, talent acquisition professionals now have a wide array of data at their fingertips. Dan outlines some of the metrics that help the Greenhouse Talent Acquisition team stay on track, including pass-through rates at each stage, time to hire, candidate experience and offer acceptance rate. These metrics provide insight into different stages of the recruiting process and make it easier to identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies.

Dave’s team also relies heavily on data. They created a simple dashboard that they can access at any time to help them keep metrics top of mind. By empowering the talent acquisition team to access data, Dave explains, you help them become trusted advisors to others in the organization.


As you plan what your 2019 will look like, consider how you can take a more strategic approach to your role. Try the techniques we’ve recommended here: Understand where we are today, consider how you can align with others in your company, and don’t shy away from data and metrics.

Want even more practical tips for taking a strategic approach to talent acquisition in 2019? Be sure to watch the full webinar here.

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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