Landing top talent

Talent is the lifeblood of any business. Regardless of whether it is a for-profit or nonprofit enterprise, recruiting the best people is vital to short, medium, and long-term success.

 How are HR managers recruiting their best new people? What are the latest trends in landing top talent? What new recruitment methods are being used in the digital age?

 LinkedIn, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM®), and several local experts with extensive experience in talent recruitment have keen insight on these questions.

 How are HR managers recruiting their best new people?

 According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2017 report, which surveyed several thousand talent acquisition leaders in nearly three dozen countries, there were five main sources of top talent. They were as follows:

  1. Employee referrals
  2. Third-party website or online job boards
  3. Social professional networks
  4. A third-party recruiter/staffing firm
  5. Internal hires

What are the latest trends in landing top talent?

The SHRM® 2013 Workplace Forecast survey of HR professionals identified the most effective methods for recruiting, retaining, and rewarding top talent over the next ten years. The top five were as follows:

  1. Providing flexible work arrangements
  2. Maintaining a culture of trust, open communication and fairness
  3. Offering a higher total rewards package than competitors
  4. Providing employees with opportunities for career advancement
  5. Demonstrating a commitment to employee development.

What new recruitment methods are being used in the digital age?

Donna Burdge, President and CEO of, a provider of the Predictive Index, said “The use of integrity tests, and online assessments used to discover the cognitive capabilities and behavioral fit of job applicants is really trending in HR.”  

“As HR works towards aligning itself with the mobile world, and leveraging one-click technologies to effectively source and process candidates, HR strives to make job hires more accurate while being less time consuming,” added Ms. Burdge.  

Ms. Burdge is a member of the board of directors of the North Central Florida SHRM® and has more than three decades of human capital management experience. She is counted on by inspiring leaders to provide thoughtful and candid insights to help them maximize their impact and the value they create.

The Job Description Matters…

How you begin can determine how you finish. A leading HR manager in the region believes a recruitment process starting with a solid job description, especially when recruiting for skilled technical positions, is essential to finding the right person.

“The first step is a thorough and rigorous job analysis to create a valid job description. This creates the critical blueprint of the skills needed in the position and the context the position will operate within. Once the job description is created, recruiting strategy is determined based upon the type of job.” said Brian Soucek, Human Resources Manager for SiVance, LLC and a twenty year HR veteran.

…As Well As Convenience

Making the application process as convenient and user-friendly as possible is also important.  “There are many ways to recruit, and for active job seekers, the job application process must be quick, easy to use and accessible via a mobile phone app. Clunky and lengthy online candidate application programs are the easiest way to discourage the high performing candidate from applying, added Mr. Soucek.

SiVance is a Gainesville-based subsidiary of Milliken & Company. It is a chemical manufacturer employing over 130 associates in North Central Florida from the GED to the PhD levels of education. SiVance produces high tech materials for the electronics industry, surface treatments and many other custom applications.    

Contracting Talent is a Rising Trend…

Securing top talent can happen through contractor arrangements. According to Frank Avery, Executive Director of CareerSource North Central Florida, “Savvy businesses are figuring out that there are more options than ever to help them cultivate talent their own way. With the increased interest by younger generations in working for themselves, businesses, chief executives, and HR managers are realizing that hiring contractors and freelancers is a cost-efficient way to expand the team without expanding liabilities.”

…And So Is Recruiting Through Digital Platforms

“More and more industries are moving to digital platforms to find work. While Employ Florida, Monster, and Indeed are natural destinations, we’re seeing more and more hiring and contracting activity moving towards full service digital platforms. They specialize in industries and skillsets from TaskRabbit for on-demand quick projects to 99designs for logos and designs to for home care,” added Mr. Avery.

CareerSource North Central Florida is the regional workforce board for Alachua and Bradford Counties. Gainesville was named the Region of Excellence by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for a Competitive Workforce for its sustained, collaborative approach to economic development through education and workforce development.

Both Social Media and In-Person Methods Are Utilized

The current digital-age has yielded new approaches to identifying top candidates. “Many HR personnel are using social media platforms such as LinkedIn to recruit talent as well as online databases with algorithms to screen applicants,” according to Ian Fletcher, Vice President of Education and Talent Alignment at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Traditional methods are still being used as personal interfaces continue to have value. “HR managers have moved towards online recruiting methods but have not eliminated face-to-face encounters,” said Mr. Fletcher. “Large-scale job and career fairs are still being attended by employers because these events provide an in-person opportunity for them to orient potential candidates with their products, services, and culture,” added Mr. Fletcher.

The Gainesville Area Chamber is five-star accredited by the U.S. Chamber, which places it in the top one percent of chambers nationwide. It has over 1,300 members who employ more than 80,000 people. Talent and education are key focal points for the Chamber.

Securing top talent is core to the success of any organization. Understanding current recruitment tactics and trends is important as it can give employers a leg-up in the global competition for talent.

By Kamal I. Latham

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