Top skills for HR professionals Working in Talent Acquisition

What is talent acquisition? Simply put, it refers to the process of bringing onboard the right person for an available job. Typically a part of the responsibilities of HR, is different from recruitment in that the latter is a way of dealing with short-term hiring needs of the organization. Talent acquisition, on the other hand, is a strategic function for the business, giving due consideration to the role that the right talent plays in attaining the long-term goals of the organization.

What are the steps in talent acquisition?

For HR professionals, the process of getting the right people on board involves the following steps:

• Sourcing candidates and generating leads

• Attracting and recruiting: also, maintaining contact with good prospects for future positions

• Interview and assessment

• Background and reference checks

• Final shortlisting and selection

• Hiring and onboarding

How is talent acquisition changing?

Technological advancements, market and business dynamics, and evolving needs for talent are leading to a new mandate for talent acquisition by HR leaders. Workplaces have become more competitive and workforces more diverse, which when combined with changing personalities of workers means that a new hiring strategy is of the essence.

Which skills do talent acquisition specialists need?

The changing workplace and workforce require new skills from talent acquisition specialists in the future. They need skills in the following categories:

• Professional skills: hands-on experience in the particular industry with knowledge of techniques of sourcing candidates

• Core skills: Experience in recruitment, HR tools, and technologies, usage of common software

• Advanced skills: a talent acquisition specialist certification, long-term experience in particular sectors, conversant with applicant tracking systems (ATS)

Here are the top skills they must develop:

Good listening and communication

One of the top requirements for an HR professional working in talent acquisition, the importance comes from the basic people-centricity of the role. It is important to communicate effectively with candidates, using both written and verbal modes. This is useful when putting together an attractive job posting, sharing it via social media, and engaging with candidates.

A key aspect is understanding body language and other non-verbal cues, which often communicate more than the written or spoken word does. This is important to understand the behavior of others, especially in interviews.

Active listening is especially important, beginning at the first stage of the interview and continuing through to the face-to-face interaction. There are also cues to be taken from the online presence of the candidates, which helps to develop a holistic understanding of the person.

Networking and relationship-building

Successfully acquiring the right talent rests on great candidate experience. Several companies have brought out software solutions for candidate relationship management, covering sustainable engagement with candidates, recruitment consultants, vendors, and other parties relevant to the recruitment process. It is important to maintain a strong network with these entities as they could prove to be useful beyond just the current engagement.

Social skills

HR leaders know how important it is for a talent acquisition specialist to have empathy and other social skills. Technology is taking over many parts of day-to-day life, yet for people matters, the emotional quotient (EQ) still trumps the intelligence quotient (IQ). It is important to develop and hone social skills and to show empathy for the challenges, emotions, and motivations that a candidate is dealing with.

Curiosity and a desire to learn

To acquire the right talent, it is important to be open to learning new things and to consider different thought perspectives, even though those may differ from what one is habituated to doing. This helps to adapt to new situations and to bring in new practices in work and hiring. It is especially important given the inroads artificial intelligence (AI) is making into recruitment and how knowing how to work with technology could prove to be invaluable.

Analytical skills

The world of today is driven by data; hence recruitment decisions too must be driven the same way. A talent acquisition specialist must be able to work with data, analyzing it, and using the insights to improve people’s practices of the organization. Such data skills help to create better branding as an employer and to more effectively market the job requirements.

Planning and multitasking

To acquire the right talent, it is important for HR professionals to plan smart. What helps is to be able to look at the big picture of evolving talent requirements, and to build a talent pipeline as per current and future needs. This is especially useful for succession planning, which must keep sight of future goals and the vision of the organization.

Along with planning, there are many work demands from multiple points of contact at the workplace. Multitasking is imperative, given the need to manage the expectations of different entities. This helps to improve different processes while driving toward the long-term goals of the organization.

To take on the skills required for effective talent acquisition, it is helpful to pick a good talent acquisition specialist certification. This is a testament to the candidate possessing the requisite skills for effectively acquiring talent for the organization, and shows the person is willing to invest in continuous learning and wants to grow in the organization.