The End of "One Size Fits All" Recruiting: Part 1

One Size Does NOT Fit All

The Great Recession changed talent acquisition landscape in big ways. In fact, looking at today’s barebones and often overworked recruiting and HR teams, you might think the recession was still going strong. Don’t worry, the U.S. economy and job growth are solid. However, you might not know it from the state of the talent acquisition landscape.

Many recruiting and HR teams that were cut back years ago to save costs remain small, under-resourced and heavily reliant on technology as well as “one-size-fits-all” approach for every hire. As a business leader, I am all for reducing expenses and increasing efficiency, but this enduring thrift is starting to hurt businesses where it counts: in their ability to attract and hire top talent. Rising generations of workers, from today’s millennials to Gen Z coming up behind them, are looking to invest their careers in businesses that inspire, guide and teach them. As competition for talent increases, it is high time to assess whether the final costs of one-size-fits-all talent acquisition is just too high.

Adding up the High Costs of “One Size Fits All”.

In a one-size-fits all talent acquisition approach, each candidate goes through the same process, from engagement to onboarding. It forces business to do away with the unique and differentiated parts of their recruitment approach, from personal interviews and team introductions to the employment branding and culture showcasing that allows candidates to see what the work and the business are all about. Though we are six-plus years past the recession, the cookie-cutter talent acquisition approach endures and, as a result, there are powerful recruitment assets many businesses have scarified:

1.  The Candidate Experience

Candidates are unique—from their skills and their experience to their education, gender and cultural background. No two candidates are the same, and we live and work at a time when businesses are eager to engage unique, bright employees who can contribute to the diversity and innovation of our organizations. Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all recruitment approach creates a transactional recruiting experience that is impersonal and uninspired.

When businesses engage and recruit candidates using one-size-fits all approaches they are not acknowledging individual career goals, talents and paths. Candidates, rather than experiencing how their skills and contributions will shape the company, are treated like one of many and they know it. The rote and uninspired candidate experience (you know it well—the “apply online and we’ll automate every response to you” ATS approach) will not attract employees looking for something more than a paycheck. Companies that don’t recognize this failing will lose in the competition for top talent.

2.  The Employment Brand

When talent acquisition is overseen by overworked, under-resourced teams (or by technology alone), the employment brand is muted, even suffocated. How can the mission, values and personality of a company shine through without a support team? The health of an employment brand rests on the ability to keep it alive through employees who respect it, share it and carry it forward. Bare bones recruiting teams often rely heavily on technology and automation to manage candidates through the recruitment life cycle. Without careful thought and integration of the employment brand, recruitment and onboarding become impersonal and no brand wins or retains talent by being impersonal.

3.  Recruiting Mobility

We live in a mobile world and for recruitment that means finding candidates where they are, whether that is on social media, in their existing workplace or at events for causes or pastimes they care about. One size fits all recruitment assumes candidates are all in the same space/place, but we know that is not true. We know we need to go where the candidates “hang out.”

Different skills, talents, interests and experiences put you in different places. For example, many techies hang out online while many sales pros go out to networking and business events. A large segment of millennials hang out on social media platforms. To recruit effectively, you have to meet people where they are. Mobility is key. How can bare bones teams vary and adapt their recruiting if they hardly have the time or resources to keep up with their work? They cannot. Instead, they use one-size-fits all searching and the result is a smaller, less diverse and less extraordinary recruiting pool. Adding mobile recruitment techniques to your programs doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, but it does have to be deliberate.

Where Do We Go from Here?

To recover the recruiting assets many businesses have lost, we need to swing the pendulum back to a point where the employment brand, candidate experience and recruiting mobility can thrive. Does that mean saying goodbye to technology and RPO solutions while saying hello to big recruitment spending and administration? Not at all. A blended approach (efficiency plus strategic, personal engagement) is the way forward. Want to hear how it’s done?

Watch for our next post, “The Essential Talent Acquisition Blend: Balancing Efficiency and Engagement” and explore how to bring back talent acquisition energy and excellence.