Recruitment Marketing

3 Things Talent Acquisition Teams Need to Change in 2020

Acquiring new skills is not the only way that talent acquisition teams need to change to be ready for 2020.

The past few years have seen a steady increase of focus from business leaders on their companies’ talent acquisition strategy. Attracting and retaining the right people is a serious constraint on business success, and talent leaders are tasked with building more mature talent organizations, ones capable of both operational excellence and strategic vision.

What does that look like in terms of actionable, immediate directives? How can talent leaders translate this wholesale transformation mandate into a more manageable set of tasks? We identified three places where they can start.

Talent teams need to compete outside their traditional pools

“All industries are facing more sophisticated and diverse competition—even sports leagues. That’s why reactive recruiting is not enough anymore.” Bryan Lick, Talent Scout - NBA

The most competitive talent organizations are getting creative and stepping outside of their usual hunting grounds to find the people they need. As highlighted by the NBA’s talent scout Bryan Lick in our recent Talent Engagement Summit 2019, companies from industries such as tech, entertainment or content production are competing with sports leagues for the limited pool of available talent to fill a variety of roles.

This is true for many industries and business functions: when pressed to deliver good candidates for a hard-to-fill role, bold teams will step sideways into new territory. A media salesperson might switch into insurance, or a hardware engineer might be introduced to software product management after a couple of training sessions.

With the talent market tightening up across industries, talent teams are naturally strengthening their proactive strategies through better sourcing.

With more powerful CRMs and Talent Marketing solutions at their disposal, they can dive deeper into candidate data and rely less on superficial characteristics such as industry or past job titles. Recruiters can now look at candidates’ ability to learn new skills, their tendency to be generalists or to specialize, their level of interest in the company, to mention only a few examples.

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Talent teams need a better understanding of talent AI

It’s easier than ever to get a basic understanding of the differences between AI, automation machine learning, robots, and everything in between. Talent leaders will keep hearing these buzzwords in every recruiting transformation conversation, so getting a ground definition of AI in recruiting and its surrounding concepts is necessary.

In the immediate future, we will see AI in recruiting taking on the role of assisting and augmenting recruiting activities, and combining its powers of simplification, automation and reporting with human judgment and insights.

Amy Miller, Senior technical recruiter at Google, says that in her team, they see 3 areas where AI can immediately improve recruiting workflows:

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You can find more details about the above in her talk here: “The Transformative Role of AI in Talent Tech.”

Talent acquisition needs to account for reskilling and internal mobility

Reskilling is a big theme everywhere for good reasons. Companies have encouraged their talent teams to hire for hard-to-fill positions by focusing on attracting and retaining top candidates, using everything from long-term proactive strategies to outrageous salaries and perks when needed. Comparatively, they have invested fewer resources in trying to fill those positions by training existing talent.

Internal hires perform much better than external ones in their first two years on the job, are 61% less likely to be terminated, and usually take an 18% lower salary on average. There is a strong case for investing time and resources in training employees into hard-to-fill positions, but it often seems easier to go for the ready-made candidate, even if hiring them away from the competition is expensive.


Talent transformation can be broad and hard to pin down into actionable projects. The list above is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good example of how talent leaders can deconstruct a complex business initiative into projects that can be delegated to a task force, or into directives that managers can implement at their own levels.

As different companies find new ways to adapt to the increased business expectations placed on TA, we will keep seeing more of these examples in practice. This can only make talent transformation more approachable, and help TA progress into a more strategic, future-facing version of itself.