Process Efficiency is so... Yesterday...

What holds Talent Acquisition (TA) back as an industry and how we can approach it differently.

What holds Talent Acquisition (TA) back as an industry and how we can approach it differently.

I spoke at an event recently on “Hiring with Speed and Confidence” and reflected; as a TA industry, we talk a lot about fixing the 'process' and get bogged down in a reactive approach. So, how do we do it differently?

Organisations don’t often come to TQ for support because things are going well. A common scenario is around being overwhelmed by transactional recruitment, wanting to improve operational effectiveness and improving quality. There is no capacity to solve this themselves. As part of our advisory work, we notice some recurring dynamics;

  • TA facing immense business pressure – do more with less, now.
  • Burgeoning hiring funnels triggered by ‘quick apply’ features and legacy Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that weren’t designed to cope with the communication needs.
  • High application volumes but less candidate commitment, creating a drain on resources.
  • Rising expectations for consumer-grade experiences among all stakeholders.
  • TA functions operating too lean. In 11 years of current state reviews, we have not found one that is sufficiently resourced to deal with the volume they experience.

So, we are now in the business of processing rejections and no one likes to play that game. Is it any wonder TA is struggling? Only by moving away from reactive recruitment can TA create the space to start thinking strategically.Here are 5 areas we are talking to businesses about. We believe they point to a better way.

  1. Internal Mobility - The most common reason employees consider leaving an organisation is the lack of career progression, thinking it’s easier to find a job externally. This is perhaps the biggest opportunity for TA functions to fix today. We see organisations that are hamstrung by remuneration banding or promotion cycles that push recruiters to look externally which seems so counter intuitive. We need to start breaking down the functional silos within HR - TA and Talent Development need to spend more time together. Shifting attention internally will create space to focus on other strategic matters.
  2. Experience - The World has entered an 'experience paradigm' – candidates, employees and managers expect more. Put process efficiency and cost realisation to the side for a moment and instead invest in experience-led activities at the front and back end of the process. Things like personalised recruitment marketing, targeted Employer Value Proposition’s (EVP) for business-critical roles and great onboarding will often have the biggest impact.
  3. Technology - When it comes to shifting focus from operational execution to TA enablement, tech can certainly be a big lever. TQ thinks of tech as an enabler but it is not the silver bullet and there is still a long way to go in terms of the market maturity. Tech is great when it is solving a specific pain point, but you need to know the problem statement before thinking about the solution. Make time to envision the aspirational experience that you want to deliver for all stakeholders, then plan the tech that can help you get there. If managers are overloaded with onboarding paperwork and day one logistics, then a whizz bang CRM tool is not going to resonate with the Executive you are trying to secure funding from.
  4. Business Leadership - TA is no longer just a TA problem. Everyone owns experience so whilst it’s important to ‘fix TA' I believe it’s time to also ‘fix the business'. There is NO point trying to fix TA if the leaders in an organisation are not ready or prepared to change themselves. Without a quantum shift in mindset within the broader business, the investment in TA will not deliver the right results. To get leadership driving the journey it is vital that you can demonstrate REAL value.
  5. Building the Business Case - In my experience, HR aren’t great at using data to prepare cases for funding; how many TA leaders have been able to effectively quantify the bottom-line impact of candidate experience? Without this, you end up with high up-front costs and an intangible return on investment. When it comes to building a business case, demonstrating a direct link between experience and value requires an analytical approach. So, a good starting point for any transformation is taking a holistic approach to the measurement of data. Quantitative data will only get you so far though. Seek input from all stakeholders and get to know their pain. When you combine quantitative and qualitative, it will resonate much better with this business and you're more likely to receive the investment dollars


  • Don’t obsess about process efficiency or cost realisation
  • Instead, determine the ‘aspirational experience’ you want to give all users
  • Consider whether the leaders in your organisation are ready or prepared to change themselves
  • Focus on improving internal mobility, reducing the hiring funnel and reactive recruitment
  • Don’t be lured by shiny tech. Consider where tech augmentation can power the human experience and solve a specific problem
  • When it comes to your business case, do the hard work first, the analysis - quantitative and qualitative combined

If you’d like to know more about how TQ can help you fix the Business of TA, get in touch.

Find out more from one of our TQ people today.