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Optimizing the

Talent Pool
Best Practices for Driving a
Successful Talent Acquisition
Strategy in Any Economic Climate
!ith so many out"of"or# people$ fin%ing qualifie% can%i%ates
the num(er of )o(less
people orl%i%e in &**+,
This num(er is e-pecte%
to remain high in &*'*,
" .nternational /a(our Office
shoul% (e easier than ever$ right0 There certainly is no shortage
of in%ivi%uals to choose from, Accor%ing to a recent glo(al tren%
report from the .nternational /a(or Office 1./O2$ the num(er of
)o(less people orl%i%e reache% almost &'& million in &**+$
an% that num(er is e-pecte% to remain high in &*'*,
.n the
3,S,$ the Bureau of /a(or Statistics in%icates that the national
unemployment rate continues to remain high,
4oever$ an influ- of people in the mar#etplace %oes not lessen the
challenge of recruiting the right can%i%ates ith the right s#ills for the
right )o(, !hile the num(er of people availa(le to or#
has increase%$ the size of the talent pool has essentially remaine%
the same, That is (ecause regar%less of the num(er of people
applying for )o(s$ the %istri(ution of average$ goo% an% great
can%i%ates in the talent pool remains unchange%, To illustrate$
a Manpoer Business Solutions client in the manufacturing
sector ha% an open position for a senior level e-ecutive in the
same location in April &**+ an% again in March &*'*, .n &**+$
'+5 applicants applie% ithin &6 %ays$ of hich '',7 percent
ere qualifie%, .n &*'*$ 86 applicants ere receive% in '&
%ays$ of hich '&,6 percent ere qualifie%, !hile the num(er of
applicants varie%$ the availa(ility of qualifie% can%i%ates staye%
relatively the same,
.n a goo% economy it is challenging to fin% qualifie% can%i%ates$
(ut it can actually (e even har%er hen economic con%itions
orsen an% the num(er of people out of or# increases, 9or
recruiters an% hiring managers$ this translates to an increase%
volume of can%i%ates an% :mismatche%; talent to revie an%
screen in or%er to fin% those :right fit; can%i%ates, .n some
cases$ the in%ivi%uals< s#ills %o not match those require% for the
)o(s$ or hen the s#ills are appropriate$ the in%ivi%uals are not
locate% here the )o(s are,
An% it is not )ust the e-ponential groth of availa(le or#ers that is a%%ing to the
evergreen challenge of fin%ing qualifie% talent, .n an uncertain economy$ passive
can%i%ates ho are currently employe% may not consi%er leaving their current
position, 9or one particular Manpoer Business Solutions client$ the num(er of
qualifie% can%i%ates ho ith%re from the intervie process after (eing fully
screene% nearly %ou(le% from &**7 to &**+$ ith can%i%ates citing a :%ecision
to not ma#e a career change at this time; as the reason for %isengaging from
the recruiting process,
As economic con%itions improve$ having a (lueprint for groth an% thin#ing
%ifferently a(out talent acquisition strategies is hat ill help companies %rive their
(usinesses forar%, More than half the respon%ents to a Mc=insey >lo(al Survey
e-pect intensifying competition for talent " an% the increasingly glo(al nature of
that competition " to have a ma)or effect on their companies over the ne-t several
As organizations e-pan% their glo(al footprint$ the nee% for a glo(al talent
pool an% access to quality local talent to facilitate operations across (or%ers an%
cultures is imperative to success, Organizations that un%erstan% ho to optimize
the talent pool " (oth glo(ally an% locally " ill (e a(le to effectively recruit an%
retain$ %riving a sustaina(le competitive a%vantage,
Deconstructing recruiting myths
!ith the a(un%ance of talent in the mar#etplace$ hy has selecting qualifie%
can%i%ates gotten har%er0 Common myths aroun% current recruiting
efforts inclu%e?
Myth #1
There is no %enying that there are historic num(ers of people out of or#, The
recession too# its toll in the form of )o( cuts$ furloughs$ an% age an% (enefit
re%uctions in )ust a(out every in%ustry$ an% some fiel%s have (een hit har%er
than others, The construction$ manufacturing$ retail$ real estate an% auto
in%ustries have (een %isproportionately affecte% (y the recession$ contri(uting to
significant )o( loss across those sectors,
As e-pecte%$ hiring in those
in%ustries has %roppe% off an% many of those )o(s are li#ely gone for goo%, 9or
)o( see#ers$ this means pursuing other in%ustries or )o(s outsi%e their
realm of e-perience,
4oever$ the s#ill sets availa(le from this population may not necessarily
translate to a more i%esprea% talent pool for positions in other in%ustries,
Although there is an a(un%ance of talent availa(le$ s#ill sets may not align
ith the nee%s of in%ustries that are pre%icte% to e-perience re(oun% or groth
such as e%ucation$ health services$ government$ an% (usiness an% professional
Accor%ing to Manpoer<s annual Talent Shortage Survey$ the top five
positions employers are having most trou(le filling glo(ally remain unchange%?
s#ille% manual tra%es people$ sales representatives$ technicians 1technical or#ers
in the areas of pro%uctionAoperations$ engineering an% maintenance2$ engineers an%
Although there is an
a(un%ance of talent
availa(le$ s#ill sets may
not align ith the nee%s
of in%ustries that are
pre%icte% to e-perience
re(oun% or groth,,,
Changing population %emographics an% the num(er of (a(y (oomers e-iting the
or#force have also impacte% the availa(ility of talent, The 3,S, Census Bureau
forecasts that the B@"an%"over population ill rise from 67,8 million in &**7 to 77,@
million (y &*@*,
Similarly$ several in%ustrial nations$ inclu%ing >ermany$ Capan$
Austria$ Spain$ .taly$ Se%en$ an% >reece ill also e-perience a contraction of their
or#ing populations, The %ecline of (a(y (oomers in the glo(al or#force has le%
some economists to pre%ict la(or shortages of '*"'@ million in the coming %eca%e,
Mar#et research firm .DC pre%icts that in the 3,S, (y &*'B there ill (e a three
million person shortfall to satisfy or#force nee%s,
Escalating num(ers of college
gra%uates are entering the or#force$ (ut they ill not possess the same #nole%ge
an% s#ills as aging or#ers, This requires organizations to invest in training an%
%evelopment to cultivate a or#force ith the s#ills they require,
Take away:
.f you are loo#ing for a foreman or automotive mechanic$ there might (e plenty
of can%i%ates availa(le, 4oever$ the specialize% s#ills possesse% (y this
%emographic ill not necessarily increase the talent pool for organizations
see#ing #nole%ge or#ers, 9or e-ample$ a Manpoer Business Solutions
client that is see#ing an operations technician receive% &67 applicants, Of those$
&& met the minimum qualifications, .n contrast$ a position requiring more specific
s#ills nette% 65 can%i%ates ith only one can%i%ate meeting the minimum
Myth #2
One Manpoer Business
Solutions client has '7$B76
applicants in their applicant
trac#ing system$ (ut only B8
of them have e-perience in
the relevant fiel%,
There is an a(un%ance of people ith the e-act s#ill set require% for
every position,
The truth is there is often a mismatch (eteen the in%ivi%uals availa(le
for or# an% the specific s#ills employers see# hen recruiting for a specific position,
An a%vertisement for an open position may net hun%re%s or even
thousan%s of resumes$ (ut ho many of those applicants actually have the
s#ills require% for success0 One Manpoer Business Solutions client has '7$B76
applicants in their applicant trac#ing system$ (ut only B8 of them have e-perience in
the relevant fiel%, Some people might (e very talente% an% impressive$ (ut lac# the
right com(ination of s#ills require% (y an employer,
>eographic location may also influence the types of s#ills availa(le in a
particular area, 9in%ing someone ith significant life sciences e-perience may (e
achieva(le in a metropolitan area li#e De Eor# City or Dorth Carolina<s
Triangle Par#$ (ut impro(a(le in more remote locations ithout incurring
significant relocation costs, Plus$ if the in%ustry in hich you are recruiting %oes not
have high turnover or has not (een significantly affecte% (y the economic
%onturn$ there is a goo% chance potential can%i%ates are employe% elsehere
an% not actively loo#ing,
Fegar%less of relevant s#ill fit$ most human resources e-ecutives are sampe%
(y a floo% of applicants (ecause the sheer volume of people applying for open
positions has %ramatically increase%, The num(er of :average; performers in
the mar#etplace is also significantly higher, Sorting through a large volume of
can%i%ates is ta-ing to 4F %epartments that have re%uce% their on resources
in response to loer hiring rates, The en% result " can%i%ates cannot (e effectively
screene% an% on(oar%e%,
Take away:
Cust (ecause millions of people are unemploye%$ it %oes not mean the s#ills$
e%ucation an% e-perience that your company requires are availa(le, !ith an
a(un%ance of can%i%ates applying for each open position$ recruiting gets har%er$
not easier,
Myth #3
.t<s o#ay to (e pic#y (ecause talent is plentiful,
Defining or#force nee%s an% here there are s#ill gaps is critical to successful
recruiting, 4oever$ the pursuit of perfection is li#ely to paralyze recruiting
efforts$ yiel% feer can%i%ates an% elongate the time to fill open positions,
4iring managers are focuse% on fin%ing the person ith the right fit " matching
roles an% responsi(ilities ith requisite s#ill sets$ competencies$ an% e-periences
along ith (ehaviors an% values that align ith the organization<s mission$ vision
an% values,
!hen the %efinition of require% s#ills is too narro or restrictive it
can significantly limit the qualifie% talent pool,
Structural unemployment as %efine% (y economists is a %isconnection (eteen
the s#ill sets prevalent in the la(or pool an% those %eman%e% (y employers,
Employers may (e intent on only hiring can%i%ates hose (ac#groun% an%
capa(ilities are an e-act match$ (ut to (roa%en the talent pool they nee% to (e
realistic in assessing hat is availa(le in the mar#etplace, !hat<s more$ it is not
)ust the s#ills on a resume that %efine an i%eal can%i%ate$ (ut their :soft s#ills; as
ell, Determining cultural fit an% a(ility to learn is not something that can (e
gleane% %uring initial resume screening,
.nstea%$ Gfish here the fish are< an% consi%er those can%i%ates ith transferra(le
s#ills$ #nole%ge an% capa(ilities, Since )o(s in manufacturing$ construction$
an% professional an% (usiness services ere hit har%est$ there are li#ely more
can%i%ates from those in%ustries applying for open positions, Thin# a(out ho
those types of s#ills might (e a(le to (enefit your organization, 9or e-ample$
someone ho or#e% as a )ourneyman carpenter has %evelope% supervisory
s#ills an% spent time training ne employees, A construction foreman is li#ely
to have e-perience ith purchasing an% materials management$ pro)ect analysis
an% planning$ an% transportation an% logistics, E-pan%ing the talent pool requires
loo#ing at the talent that is availa(le an% i%entifying compara(le s#ills that ill
meet (usiness nee%s,
,,,it is not )ust the s#ills on a
resume that %efine an i%eal
can%i%ate$ (ut their :soft
s#ills; as ell,
Take away:
Consi%er hich competencies are require% for open positions, Then ta#e into
account the other in%ustries an% occupations that coul% (e the source of these
porta(le s#ills,
Myth #4
>etting an e-tremely %iverse or#force for every position is easily o(taina(le,
More organizations are a%opting the practice of increasing %iversity$ (ut " as ith
the size of the talent pool " the proportion of %iverse can%i%ates %oes not change
in tur(ulent times, As note% earlier$ as (a(y (oomers leave the or#force$
#nole%ge an% s#ills ill leave ith the retirees an% the or#force is e-pecte% to
stea%ily %ecline through &*@*,
These %emographic changes can impact the
availa(ility of a %iverse talent pool,
Some organizations may vie %iversity as synonymous ith minority hires or
complying ith Affirmative Action, .nstea%$ they nee% to encourage an
environment of inclusivity an% consi%er ho provi%ing culturally appropriate
practices ill increase recruitment an% retention an% %eliver a competitive
a%vantage, E-pan%ing the pool of %iverse can%i%ates requires %efining the
rationale for having a %iverse or#force an% consi%ering strategic hires from
other in%ustries to (uil% organizational capa(ilities,
Organizations also nee% to un%erstan% the time it ta#es to pro%uce a
heterogeneous pool of can%i%ates$ particularly as %emographics shift, 9or
E-pan%ing the pool of
%iverse can%i%ates requires
%efining the rationale for
having a %iverse or#force
an% consi%ering strategic
hires from other in%ustries
to (uil% organizational
e-ample$ as in most countries$ the fiel% of engineering in the 3,S, has (een
pre%ominantly %ominate% (y men, 4oever$ as a result of government an%
in%ustry influence$ e%ucational institutions have (een encourage% to increase
the num(ers of omen an% minorities pursing careers in engineering, To%ay
omen no earn almost half of the (accalaureate %egrees aar%e% in
science an% engineering$ more than 5* percent of the master<s %egrees$
an% more than one"thir% of the %octoral %egrees$ accor%ing to a report from
the DS9,
!omen in general are a%%ing a ne %imension to the glo(al talent pool,
Accor%ing to research from the Center of !or#"/ife Policy$ in emerging
mar#ets such as Brazil$ Fussia$ .n%ia$ China$ an% the 3nite% Ara( Emirates
omen constitute a pool of highly qualifie% talent )ust aiting to (e tappe%,
Organizations that loo# to the female talent pool as they e-pan% into ne
mar#ets can uncover vast ne talent sources$ support %iversity goals an%
recruit more effectively,
Take away:
.t ta#es longer to cultivate a %iverse talent pool, Diverse can%i%ate %emographics
nee% to e-ist for organizations to (e a(le to tap in an% attract an% retain
can%i%ates ith varie% origins$ perspectives an% life e-periences, Ma#e sure
you un%erstan% the (usiness rationale for having a %iverse or#force an% create a
culture that is inclusive,
Developing strong or#force strategies
Appreciating that the fun%amentals of the talent pool %o not change quic#ly$ even
in the face of a glo(al recession$ means you can then implement strategies to
optimize the talent that is availa(le, To harness the talent that is availa(le aroun%
the orl% an% %evelop a pool of right"fit can%i%ates that meet your (usiness
Know what you need, but be fexible.
Define hat you nee% (ut (e illing to (roa%en the scope of s#ills an% talents
you are loo#ing for (ase% on hat is availa(le, Consi%er re%esigning )o(s so they
(ecome more engaging for the people un%erta#ing them,
Identify individual with t!anfe!able kill.
Thin# a(out can%i%ates ith compara(le s#ills from other in%ustries or e-pan%
your search (y sourcing can%i%ates in %ifferent geographies,
"i!e fo! innate talent and be willin# to invet in t!ainin#.
Eou may fin% a can%i%ate ith the right attitu%e$ e-perience$ an% pro(lem"solving
s#ills (ut ho is lac#ing a certain certification or s#ill set, Once you have %efine%
the s#ills an% talents require% for a position$ prioritize the characteristics most
important to get the )o( %one an% areas that can (e successfully achieve%
through training,
$!aw f!o% the in&houe talent 'ool.
.%entify internal resources you can gro an% nurture, Cross train your or#force so
they are a(le to perform a (roa%er variety of tas#s,
Make dive!ity a !eality.
To (olster %iversity$ ma#e sure the organization culture ill ena(le %iverse
employees to thrive, Be illing to invest in training so you can meet %iversity
goals, .%entify an% create alliances ith national minority organizations or tra%e
associations an% target recruitment a%vertising to minority pu(lications,
(uild a )andidate 'i'eline.
9in%ing qualifie% talent is comple- an% time consuming, Buil% (ench strength (y
cultivating relationships ith can%i%ates hose s#ills align ith your organization<s
future nee%s, This ay$ hen you have an open position$ you can tap into a
rea%ily accessi(le talent pool,
*ain a))e to ex'e!tie
Consi%er partnering ith a recruitment process outsourcing 1FPO2
provi%er to manage the influ- of resumes$ improve processes
an% %eliver a (etter can%i%ate e-perience, Fecruitment process
outsourcing is a form of (usiness process outsourcing 1BPO2 here
an employer elects to outsource all or part of its recruiting function,
FPO ena(les organizations to tap into e-pertise an% a%%itional
resources to efficiently fin% right"fit can%i%ates, !ith e-perience across
a (roa% range of in%ustries$ an FPO partner has valua(le insight into a
variety of compara(le s#ill sets an% can alleviate the (ur%en of sorting
through mismatche% can%i%ates to fin% those in%ivi%uals ith the right
har% an% soft s#ills,
FPO provi%ers can scale up or %on to meet fluctuating (usiness
nee%s an% have insight into the most effective recruiting strategies$
helping organizations optimize the talent pool to meet their hiring
nee%s, An FPO can con%uct mar#et analysis on population
%emographics to %eliver insight on %iversity opportunities, !ith
glo(al capa(ilities$ more companies are turning to FPO (ecause
it ma#es the recruiting process less e-pensive an% more effective
an% efficient,
Optimizing the Talent Pool
Boom or (ust$ the strategic fun%amentals of the overall talent pool
change sloly "" an% that means the challenges of hiring in a :(uyer<s
mar#et; for talent are every (it as great to%ay as they are %uring
stronger economic times, By leveraging the e-isting talent pool$
nurturing glo(al netor#s an% investing in %iversity$ organizations
can effectively mine ne talent sources$ (uil% multicultural talent
an% (e ell"positione% for mar#et success,
Effective recruitment results in hiring the right can%i%ate for the right )o(
an% plays a strategic role in a company<s a(ility to %evelop ne pro%ucts
an% services an% e-pan% into ne mar#ets, 4aving the right resources
to i%entify ne sources of talent$ efficiently screen out
mismatche% can%i%ates an% (uil% a strong talent pipeline is critical to the
success of every organization<s recruiting efforts, By optimizing the
talent pool$ organizations can gain access to s#ills that support (usiness
goals$ (uil% (ench strength an% recruit effectively to enhance
competitive a%vantage,
+bout the +utho!
SAFA4 PE.=EF has over '8 years recruiting e-pertise in %esigning$
implementing an% %elivering recruiting solutions, She )oine% Manpoer
Business Solutions in April &**7 through the acquisition of CF.$ a pure"play
FPO company$ here she le% the CF. Consulting (usiness an% manage%
large FPO accounts, Sarah hol%s a Bachelor<s %egree from Michigan
State 3niversity,
.nternational /a(our Office$
>lo(al Employment Tren%s report$ &**+
Manpoer .nc,$ Confronting the Talent
Crunch$ &**7
The Organizational Challenges of >lo(al
Tren%s$ Mc=insey Huarterly$ &**8
Bureau of /a(or Statistics$ 3,S, Department of
/a(or$ The Employment Situation$
Canuary &*'*
Bureau of /a(or Statistics$ 3,S, Department
of /a(or$ The 6* occupations ith the
largest employment groth$ &**7"'7$
Decem(er &**+
Manpoer .nc,$ &**+ Talent Shortage
Survey$ May &**+
3,S, Department of Commerce$ 3,S,
Census Bureau$ August &**7
Sloan Center on Aging I !or# at Boston
College$ Talent Management Stu%y$
Octo(er &**+
.DC$ .T Training 3p%ate? 3p%ate 9orecast
an% Training Pre%ictions$ April &**8
Ernst an% Eoung$ >lo(al human
resources ris#? from the %anger zone to
the value zone$ &**7
Monthly /a(or Fevie$ Dovem(er &**B
Dational Science 9oun%ation$ De
3n%ergra%uate Degrees$ Master<s Degrees
an% Doctoral Degrees$ Dovem(er &**+
Center of !or#"/ife Policy$ The >lo(al
Talent Pipeline in Emerging Mar#ets$ &*'*