Hiring Success

How to bring your TA strategy to life with the 3 pillars of Hiring Success

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In previous posts, we’ve covered the core components of Hiring Success and addressed some of the fundamental problems in recruiting it seeks to correct. On paper, it all makes sense—but where do you start? 

Enter the three pillars of Hiring Success.

1. Talent Attraction & Engagement: Inbound and outbound recruiting strategies and tactics that help you reach and engage top talent. 

2. Collaboration & Selection: Simple and efficient workflows that enable your team to hire the best candidates.

3. Management & Operating Model: Robust technology, security, compliance, and reporting that support and scale your hiring process end-to-end.

These three pillars are the foundational strategies and capabilities that support a successful talent acquisition (TA) function. In this article, we’ll cover each pillar in more detail, specifying the specific capabilities TA teams can use to transform Hiring Success from being a concept into a reality. 

Talent Attraction & Engagement 

The first pillar of Hiring Success, Talent Attraction & Engagement, emphasizes an organization’s ability to engage quality talent through deep sourcing, advertising, and internal programs. Companies looking to remain competitive need to ask themselves the following question: How do we differentiate ourselves and effectively capture the attention of talented prospects (both internal and external)?

Before discussing the myriad ways in which companies can attract and engage talent, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the Talent Scarcity-Impact Framework. This will help you to decide which tactics should be employed during the recruiting process, depending on the role you’re trying to fill: 

  • Unicorns: These hires typically possess a rare mix of high impact skills, are hard to find, and offer immense business value. These are your c-suite executives, neurosurgeons, professors, and enterprise account executives. 
  • Specialists: These candidates have less individual impact, but are still difficult to source. Nurses, lab technicians, financial advisors, and software engineers are all examples.
  • Professionals: These hires are relatively easy to find yet drive high organizational impact. For example, mid-level managers, marketers, sales representatives, and consultants. 
  • Core: These hires are relatively easy to find and have limited individual impact. Employees that assist with back office, administrative functions, and support functions are examples.

Returning to the topic at hand, here are a variety of recruiting methods that are standard best practices and highly effective. 

  • Direct sourcing is making direct contact with prospective applicants by telephone, email, and social media. This can be resource-intensive, as it asks recruiters to “cold call” high-quality candidates. As such, this practice is often reserved for high-scarcity roles such as Unicorns (e.g., C-suite & executive positions) and some Specialists (e.g., upper management, technical, and professional positions).
  • Agency sourcing is an option used by companies that don’t have internal teams to source and fill open positions. For those that rely on outside staffing agencies, careful consideration of internal costs and external staffing agency fees is advisable.
  • CRM or candidate relationship management is software used by hiring professionals to manage the early phases of the recruitment process with job candidates. It’s used to identify a talent pool of non-applicants and leverages messaging campaigns to nurture the candidates—keeping them warm, active, and engaged.
  • Job advertising works most effectively among large populations of job seekers. Referring back to the Talent Scarcity-Impact Framework, low-scarcity positions like SDRs, support representatives, administrative assistants, marketers, CSMs, etc. have more individuals searching for new and better jobs, which makes them an ideal group to target through job advertising. You may occasionally get lucky advertising for high-scarcity roles, but it can’t be the main sourcing channel for these segments.
  • Employer branding is extremely influential in attracting candidates. In fact, almost 50% of workers said they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation. Therefore, it’s essential to showcase your organization’s values, mission, and culture—through a well-maintained blog or social media accounts, for example—and give candidates a reason to work for you.
  • Referrals are a highly effective channel for sourcing candidates for many companies. In fact, 82% of employers rated employee referrals above all other sources for generating the best return on investment.
  • Internal mobility allows companies to hold onto talent they’ve already sourced. Hiring internally—through an internal job board, for instance—is a lot easier and less risky than doing so externally, especially for senior roles or high-impact positions. Ideally, as people move up in the organization, you should be able to replace many of your Unicorns with Professionals and hire more Core staff to replace them.
  • Diversity and inclusion efforts have been proven to give businesses a competitive advantage in the marketplace. To attract a diverse workforce, highlight existing diversity at your company and underscore its commitment to D&I on your blog, social media channels, and in job descriptions. Additionally, having a diverse roster of recruiters will allow your company to better engage with a wider array of prospective applicants. 

Collaboration & Selection

The second pillar of Hiring Success, Collaboration & Selection, focuses on creating a simple, yet streamlined hiring workflow, enabling your hiring team to effectively bring the best candidates onboard. Doing so drives participation in the hiring process, as well as make collaboration and analytics much easier to track. 

For instance, simplified workflows helped Sana—a high-growth eCommerce technology provider—standardize 90% of their processes, which not only doubled their Hiring Velocity, but it also  freed up the hiring team’s time to focus back on their their regular duties, 

As recruiting technology helps automate everything from job ad distribution to interview scheduling, recruiters can spend more time where human interaction matters. Organizations who have matured in this pillar usually have the following processes well structured:

  • Screening and reviewing can be a time-intensive activity. According to one study, 39% of HR managers spend at least 20 or more hours per week on manual tasks. Automating some of the associated tasks with AI screening tools can relieve recruiters of tedious, repetitive responsibilities and allow them to focus on more impactful projects.
  • Hiring team collaboration ensures that the hiring process is streamlined and punctual, which moves candidates through the pipeline in a timely manner, improves the candidate experience, and propels Hiring Velocity. This is largely made possible with technology that allows for intuitive and easy collaboration, such as a talent acquisition suite that comes with a mobile recruiting app, calendar and email integrations, task management, and more. 
  • Interviews and evaluations, when structured well with standardized feedback forms and interview scorecards, help align expectations across hiring teams, reduce bias, and improve the candidate experience. Research has found structured interview formats to be one of the strongest predictors of a candidate’s future success.
  • Offer management that’s automated and gives hiring teams and candidates the ability to approve, view, sign, and accept offers on mobile devices significantly reduces turnaround time, as well as increases acceptance rates. Delays in the offer rollout process open the door to other offers for 39% of candidates. Offer management that is controlled and well-mapped, with defined timelines for stages of negotiations and targets, expedites the necessary steps. Consider defining the workflow for offer management that factors in all possibilities, with actionable next steps to maintain momentum.
  • Onboarding marks the transition from an awesome recruiting experience to becoming a new employee. According to SHRM, 69% of employees are likely to stay with a company for three years if they experience great onboarding. This starts with managers getting involved in building relationships with new hires and setting expectations about their role and responsibilities early on. Context and insight into the company are valuable resources to new hires. Additionally, allowing new employees to integrate with the company culture, language, and processes at a comfortable pace can boost retention considerably.   

Management & Operating Model

Any company looking to adopt new technology should be asking itself: How can we achieve hiring stability and scale in such a diverse and rapidly changing technology landscape? Bersin found that 47% of companies believe they have outdated HR software solutions. What’s more, 81% of companies believe their organizations’ recruitment processes are standard or below standard.

First-generation applicant tracking systems emerged in the late ‘90s as a way to transform the filing cabinet into a digital repository for job applications. These were revolutionary at the time, but as is the case with all technology, it must constantly evolve in order to remain relevant.

Building out a recruitment tech stack starts with determining your organization’s must-have features and functionality for your hiring process. Given the current state of digitalization and innovation, we recommend that the platform you choose supports the entire hiring process from end-to-end, with a focus on:

  • Integrated and connected talent acquisition suites that come with a marketplace of pre-integrated recruiting vendors lower the total cost of ownership and drastically increase productivity. Furthermore, they ensure that your TA team will have as many tools as possible at its disposal, such as the ability to conduct background checks, send secure documents that require signatures electronically, analyze and export data into business intelligence dashboards, and much more.
  • Mobile friendly recruiting technology is a must in 2020. Not only does it make for a better candidate experience during the application process, it also enables hiring teams to collaborate more seamlessly. Mobile-friendly job application processes attract nearly 12% more applicants than non-mobile openings. Additionally, blue collar or mid-career workers primarily rely on mobile devices to aid their job search, yet are at a disadvantage when it comes to applying for jobs on such devices. On average, only 47% of mobile users successfully complete applications, while taking 80% longer to complete each one.
  • Compliant and secure hiring practices are table stakes for all organizations today. In the era of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), consideration for data privacy is a foregone conclusion. The solution to this is to contain all hiring activity in one system where you can enforce proper controls, consent, and retention policies. This includes collecting resumes, EEO survey results, criminal records, feedback notes on candidates, and more.
  • Global and flexible workforces need ways to work together and market to talent across cultures, languages, and customs. Within an organization, globally distributed teams need access to technology, like programmatic job advertising, that operates in accordance with local job market customs and laws without compromising performance.
  • Reporting and analytics are changing the way companies hire, helping to identify unforeseen costs and hiring process deficiencies that prevent positive business outcomes. Moreover, these data points are granting TA leaders more credibility at the executive table. As you begin investing in more robust recruiting technology, you, too, will be able to leverage the power of data analytics to optimize your talent acquisition function.
  • Intelligent hiring solutions are the hallmark of sophisticated TA teams. New technology like applicant screening, candidate matching, recruitment chatbots, and AI assistants can empower you and your teams to spend more of their time with candidates and less with the time consuming tasks.


For TA teams, it’s imperative to build a well-oiled recruiting machine that attracts quality talent on time and within budget. This is attainable by leveraging a diverse mix of tactics for attraction and engagement. Furthermore, hiring teams that are in sync and able to work collaboratively—aided by best in breed recruiting technology—will consistently deliver outcomes that prove, beyond doubt, the merit of TA and help fuel company-wide success.

Interested in learning more about the pillars of Hiring Success and how you can utilize them to drive TA transformation? Be sure to check out The Definitive Guide to Hiring Success as well as our Hiring Success Master Class

Ben Rynja

Ben Rynja is a senior Hiring Success & solutions consultant at SmartRecruiters.