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Which Talent Attraction Strategy is right for you?

Recruitment is not the same industry today as it was a few years ago, or even a few months ago, and definitely not since the major impact of Covid19. The traditional methods and tools for recruiting are being overtaken by new, innovative approaches to talent acquisition and retention.

Given that, a question you no doubt will be asking yourself is, how hard can it be to attract the right talent? After all, you’re an innovative business, with a great culture, funky offices (might not have the importance it once had), fantastic product/service and great leadership, so how hard can this be?

Recruiting and retaining the right people on a regular basis is a lot more complex than it might appear. Behind every good hire is a well-planned recruitment strategy and a well-executed and time-consuming recruitment process.

When you stop to consider the multiple steps involved in hiring the right talent into your organisation, it can seem to be a never-ending list. From creating and articulating your Employer Value Proposition (EVP), writing accurate and appealing job descriptions, building and nurturing talent pools, understanding (often through trial and error) effective advertising channels and techniques, applicant tracking, setting-up and attending interviews, providing interview feedback, managing offers, on-boarding the successful candidate and that’s all before you think of retention and development.

To stay ahead of your competition and ensure you’re attracting and retaining the right talent, you can’t just simply pick and choose from those steps. There are no shortcuts and you need to be doing all those things really well, all of the time, to stay ahead. It’s like having the fastest car for a race but no engine in it, it looks great from the outside but isn’t much use if you want to compete and win races.     

Where do you begin? In our experience, it starts with an honest deep-dive analysis of your current recruitment model, and the short, medium, and long-term goals of your business. As a parallel exercise, I would advise that you reach out to your peers and contacts in the industry to understand what has worked for them and what has not, as Warren Buffet says “it’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes”.

Once you know what your current model (if you have one that’s repeatable) looks like and what you want it to be, only then should you consider establishing your recruitment objectives. With that in mind, you (and the team responsible for choosing the Talent Acquisition strategy) need to be aware of the recruitment models  that exist, so let’s run through those

Recruitment Models:

Contingency - Recruitment Consultancy – Permanent, FTC and Contract

The most traditional of all recruitment models and one that is widely used by the majority of companies looking to hire. This is a straightforward model where you engage with a 3rd party recruitment consultancy who should provide the majority of your recruitment needs outside of your own direct sourcing techniques such as advertising and referrals. The recruitment consultancy will typically engage in sourcing, screening, presentation of CVs, interview preparation, offer management and at times will take on some of the reference and qualification checks. This model can be used in tandem with an internal Talent Acquisition team or not.

Internal Talent Acquisition

A growing trend is for companies to build an internal Talent Acquisition (TA) team. The TA team focuses on identifying, attracting, hiring and (sometimes) retaining talent. A TA team’s focus should not just be on supplying and filling immediate recruitment needs, they should have a broader view and be looking at the company’s longer-term needs when it comes to designing hiring strategies, developing and nurturing talent pools for future requirements and potentially retaining talent. Companies can implement a stand-alone TA team, an outsourced TA function or as a blended function with external recruitment partners.

Recruitment as a Service (RaaS)

This offering is quite new and one that most recruitment consultancies don’t yet offer. This model is different from traditional recruitment offerings and is a pay as you go subscription service. Typically, this model works best for start-ups or companies looking to scale but can be adapted to larger enterprises. We can’t speak for all RaaS offering as they’re relatively new to the market, however, at Talentspot our RaaS offering covers the entire end-to-end recruiting process: from the development of the employer value proposition (EVP) and creation of communication strategies to candidate sourcing, recruitment process management, to on-boarding.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

This recruitment model involves engaging an external service provider who works on your behalf as the company’s outsourced Talent Acquisition team. They will provide experienced staff to work on or off-site and manage your TA process. They will also integrate with your services, technology, and reporting systems, or bring their own. Typically, an RPO partner will be responsible for everything, including sourcing, advertising, branding (EVP), scheduling interviews, managing offers,  and on-boarding of the new hires. As your RPO partner is your voice and conduit to the candidate market, it’s essential they’re deeply knowledgeable about the company’s culture, road map and hiring plans. Again, another reason why your recruitment objectives need to be clear and easy to understand.

Project Recruitment

For those times when you’re going through a hiring peak, rapidly expanding, launching a new product/service or even setting-up operations in Ireland, you can choose to engage a recruitment consultancy that offers project recruitment. Your chosen partner will work with you to understand the landscape for talent, setup a dedicated project team, develop a sourcing and talent attraction strategy, and execute that in harmony with your brand. Typically, with project recruitment, you will then work with your chosen partner to define the best model for you and work together to implement that.

Central to all the models but especially those that involve external partners is to ensure that your partners are deeply knowledgeable about your company, the culture, growth goals and hiring roadmaps. In all cases, they’re an extension of your brand and voice in the market so you need to ensure that your employer brand is being represented in the best possible way.

Next Steps

Once you, and the relevant members of your TA strategy panel, have acquainted themselves with the numerous recruitment models, you can then go about establishing your recruitment objectives.

Your objectives need to be agreed on by the business, TA and Human Resources. If you already work with (or are going to be doing so going forward), engage with your external recruitment partners as they need to be part of the strategy. Before you go past this step it is vital that you have assessed the needs of potential hires and created some hiring personas for the company. You can gather this information from candidate feedback or conducting interviews with candidates you have hired over the past 12 months (we can go into a lot more detail on this element of how to run those feedback interviews but that will take up too much time so we will cover that in another blog). Make sure you include feedback from both successful and unsuccessful processes, requesting brutal honesty from these is crucial. In our experience, it’s a waste of good intentions and time, if you neglect the opportunity to do this. Quite simply, there’s no value in assessing and redesigning your TA model if it’s based solely on analysis through just your own lens. External candidates and 3rd party recruitment partners may hold the most valuable insights in this process. We’ve plenty of experience of new customers coming to Talentspot for assistance having spent lots of time and money on a new TA strategy or system, only for it not to produce the results they expected because this step was missed.

To kick off the process we would recommend that you have a workshop with a set agenda starting with storytelling, desired outcomes, design sprint, etc. Again I will not go into detail here on how that’s done as it could be a whole blog on its own and is something we can cover at a later time. You must have key stakeholders, tech, and business heads involved to ensure their opinions are heard and you’ve buy-in for the eventual solution.  

The outcome of your workshop should be that you’ve narrowed down your TA strategy to 1-3 models of choice. The next steps will be focused on how you meet the preferred outcome of your frameworks, and who needs to be involved. Always start and finish this stage asking everyone on the recruitment decision panel why this model won’t work. It’s important that concerns are voiced at this point and not nine months after the chosen strategy has been implemented. As an example, if you have decided to have a sole internal TA team you need to consider the following, the delta between the current model and this one, the costs of hiring, training and managing a TA function (current and future), ATS (systems) recruitment licences (LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster etc), marketing, advertising jobs etc. Once you have performed the analysis of your shortlist of models, you can run a decision matrix to define which model is best for you.

When this is defined and you have a chosen model, then you can start working on simplifying your recruitment strategy statement. Simplicity at this stage allows for a clearer, collective understanding of the desired TA strategy across your company. Recruitment isn’t confined to HR or TA, you should be able to ask anyone in your company ‘what’s our hiring strategy?’ and they should be able to articulate it (this is a main reason why internal referral programs aren’t ever as effective as they should be, all too often employees can’t articulate in a succinct way why someone should join the company)  

It’s important to note that recruitment is individual to each company and your current and future needs. It is likely your strategy might encompass aspects of a few models but don’t try and over complicate things. Choose the model that best suits your current ambitions and, based on your analysis, will be the easiest to scale for your company. Again, engage with your peers in the industry and if you are partnering with a recruitment consultancy, have them involved in your discussions before choosing a final model. It’s important they are part of your recruitment journey because if your model includes them, they will be an important contributor to its success or failure.

Implementation and Tweaks

To implement your chosen TA strategy, you need to first think of how you will educate your stakeholders, business partners and employees on the new model. The simplest way to do this is to run departmental workshops. These workshops should be focused on a learning aspect, with you explaining and detailing why the model has been chosen, and the role each employee, hiring manager and brand ambassador has in the model’s success. At this stage, it is useful to run through what the candidate experience should look like and the entire recruitment cycle. Educating your staff on this from the outset will save time and money having to rectify rogue operators at a later stage. You don’t need to do interview training, that can be done at a later stage but everyone (even employees who might not currently be involved in the recruitment process) needs to be involved as they might become involved in time due to promotions or simply a second opinion needed. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!! This is vital in ensuring the success of your strategy, and failure to do this properly will skew the data when you evaluate the impact of the new model. In our experience, a half-baked implementation is the reason why all too often new TA strategies fail and companies go back to the old way of recruiting, never truly fixing the problem.   

To summarise, make sure that if you are considering a change or complete rethink of your TA strategy, that you nurture buy-in from all departments affected. That you’re brutally honest in your assessment of the current state of recruitment (even if that means being self-critical). And that when undertaking your analysis and deciding on the best strategy, that you don’t then fall at the final hurdle by not getting the implementation right.

The right TA strategy will positively impact your employer branding, future candidate experience, time spent hiring, quality of people you can hire, retention, and it will also have a positive effect on the people who are already in your business (as they observe a well-run model, hire efficiently and have high-quality staff joining). So, if you’re thinking of a TA strategy change don’t just do it for the people you are going to hire, do it for the people who already work for you and have committed to your business and make it what is it today. As a key indicator for the success of any company is the quality of the people they can hire and retain.

If you’re interested in discussing any of the above or want some more information on how we work with our clients to get their TA strategies right feel free to drop me a line at or connect with me via LinkedIn. 

You can also check out our other blogs on similar topics at