A guide on how to improve your talent acquisition process for a better ROI
Attract the best talent for less

A guide on how to improve your talent acquisition process for a better ROI

The changing landscape of recruitment
Growing law firms of all sizes across the UK, battle with several significant issues that are harming their business.  New entrants with dynamic business models such as LegalZoom are taking market share at the expense of traditional firms. Technological developments with AI, automation and blockchain are significantly changing the delivery of legal services.  

Furthermore, workforce demographics are changing with baby boomers leaving the workforce and millennials making up 50% of the workforce, increasing to *75% by 2030. Given this phenomenon, attracting and retaining the best talent is increasingly more challenging. Failure to recognise and adapt to the new landscape will, unfortunately, lead to devastating consequences.

Take advantage of this shift 
How can you take advantage of this shift and gain a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting, hiring and retaining talent? Particularly when talent is scarce. Our ethos is that firms adopt a proactive people-centric approach. This means to have a magnetic employee value proposition and regularly engage with potential candidates that you have identified to have the right skill set for your organisation. 

You need a talent pool
It’s like having your own personal, bespoke LinkedIn of individuals that are ready to fill job roles, reducing the time and cost of your recruitment process; it is estimated that the cost of filling a professional vacancy is on average **£30,000, there is huge potential for cost-saving by reducing the time it takes to recruit the right talent.
Why do you need a talent pool?
A talent pool is central to an effective recruitment strategy. It enables you and your organisation to cast your net and engage individuals, both internally and externally, that meet the future skills required to fill vacancies.

When do you need a talent pool?
If you are using social media, external recruitment agencies, and job boards to attract new talent - you need a talent pool.  If you are a company with less than 20 employees, you could use Excel to manage the data, however, it is limited in its application. Companies with over 20 employees should consider how people analytics and AI can improve their operations.

Current v Talent Pool Approach

Current recruitment process

Vacancy becomes available due to someone leaving or a new role being created
Advertise vacancy on own website, job boards, LinkedIn or via a recruitment agency 
Review CVs and conduct interviews
Hope to fill a vacancy as quickly as possible

This approach is reactive and your reach to potential candidates is limited to only those that are actively seeking a new job.  It’s also costly due to the time it takes to find the right person. 

New process

Develop a continuous sourcing process
Fill vacancies directly from your talent pool
Measure and evaluate

This approach ensures you reach the wider passive market; attracting those who are not actively applying for advertised jobs but are interested in knowing about new opportunities that will develop their career.  In other words, the hidden candidate market. You achieve this by thinking and acting proactively about your recruitment strategy.  For example, when senior managers are attending conferences or continuous practice development (CPD) events, they should invite suitable people they come across to be part of their talent pool. This approach to finding and engaging talent is both personal and cost-efficient.  And from the candidates’ perspective, they can begin to understand more about your business values and opportunities in a discreet way.  This early engagement with a candidate before a job role becomes available builds trust and will minimise any chance of counter offers or the candidate accepting another offer from a competitor.  

Hosting events as part of your recruitment strategy is another way to meet new talent. Consider, a subject with wide appeal, such as the impact of Brexit for businesses clients, prospects and potential employees will attend. After the event, you follow up with a newsletter and invite individuals of your choice to join your talent pool. By showcasing your knowledge and expertise for the benefit of your clients, you will attract people that want to work for your company and help to reduce the cost of recruitment.
Now you are filling your talent pool with individuals who have been handpicked and meet your general skill requirements, next you must engage them. Let them know about the latest breakthrough case you recently won or the latest community project that is changing lives. A monthly or quarterly newsletter will allow you to share the unique characteristics of your company, which is often the reason why a candidate decides to join one company over another. 

This approach goes beyond the HR team, it is now integral to your business objectives, because by involving employees in identifying the talent you will have a team that’s committed to your mission, reducing annual attrition rates and recruitment cost. Your finger will be on the pulse of job creation and future skills and you will be able to move individuals through the recruitment process directly from your talent pool.  

Assess risk using 6 key indicators

To help you make more informed choices on how you choose to acquire talent, here are some of the key indicators to consider when analysing your recruitment strategy, as follows;

Time to accept - this is the number of days it takes for a candidate from applying for an open position to accepting a position with your company.

Consider: Is the process taking a long time? Are there a lack of good candidates?

Reach for hire – calculated by adding up all your followers and subscribers across all of your social media channels and messaging platforms (number of CVs from job boards + number of CVs from recruitment agents + company LinkedIn followers + number of Facebook followers + the number of newsletter subscribers).

Consider: Are the numbers low? Do you need to increase reach? Do you have the right profile of followers and subscribers?

Conversion rate - the conversion rate, measures the drop-off between each of the stages a candidate passes through the recruitment process.  The steps being:  1) new CV received 2) screening 3) interview 4) offer 5) hire, (number of applicants who can move forward / total number of applicants x 100)

Consider: Are you attracting the right people?  Do you have an efficient screening process? Are desired candidates accepting?

Cost per hire – this is your return on investment of your recruiting efforts by determining exactly how much of your budget was spent on each new hire?  Cost per hire = (total internal costs + total external costs / total number of hires)

Consider: If costs are increasing can they be justified?

First-year churn – the attrition rate of new hires within their first year, (first year churn = number of hires who leave within a year / total number of hires)

Consider: If this is high you may need to re-evaluate 1) your on-boarding process 2) your organisation’s culture

Success ratio - method of calculating the quality of hire, (success ratio = number of satisfactory new hires/number of total new hires X 100)

Consider: A successful ratio is a figure close to 100

Having an accurate analysis of your recruitment process will help identify bottlenecks. Using technology will take the strain out of the process, plus you could go deeper by looking at other metrics such as candidate net promoter score and offer or acceptance rates. The overall picture will help you allocate resources to ensure you are attracting, hiring, and retaining staff to meet your business objectives. 
5 steps to building a talent pool  

1) Add all candidates that you find into your talent pool

You want to reach both passive and active candidates.  According to LinkedIn, 70% percent of the global workforce are passive candidates. A passive candidate is someone who is already employed, and not actively looking for a new job, but they are open to having a conversation about their next career step.    
Review all advertising channels, such as your social media accounts, job boards (i.e. The Law Gazette and Indeed), plus delegate lists from events you may have hosted and invite potential candidates to your talent pool. When attending conferences, CPD events or any other networking opportunity and you come across individuals that you believe have the right skills to do well in your company, invite them to be part of your talent pool.  Once they are in your talent pool, you must engage them.  For example, a company newsletter and, send an invite to an event you are hosting.

2) Reengage unsuccessful applicants

You may have CVs in email inboxes across the company, but all potential candidates need to be in one central repository and it is important to reengage them.

Up until now senior managers and partners would have received CVs and conducted interviews with many candidates for only one vacancy. So, what happened to those individuals that managed to get through to the final round but were pipped at the post?  These silver medallists should make your talent pool.  You may find that these individuals have developed themselves since interviewing with you, therefore, they may just be the perfect candidate when another role comes up.  

You may have received CVs from agencies.  It’s worth checking in the terms of the business agreement or contract you have with them when the candidates become yours without incurring a fee.  

3) Host events 

The aim is to engage your talent pool offline, so they can meet team members and gain a better feel for the company, culture, and values. The size and frequency are down to your time and resource, but once a quarter is a starting point.  Many law firms are missing out on a great opportunity to raise brand awareness, attracting both candidates and clients. It also has the added benefit of including associates and paralegals in planning and delivery.   

4) Assess your employee’s skills and stretch   

Dave Miller, founder of the Story Brand, said that when he was looking to hire a rookie, he also considered their suitability to lead a team.  This approach proves to employees that he takes talent development seriously.  
Josh Bersin of Deloitte conducted extensive research into talent acquisition and it’s now accepted that the average cost of recruiting an experienced professional is 1.5 to 2 x their basic salary.   Therefore, developing skills in-house is a great solution to filling new roles.  Not to mention that the employee feels great about their employer and is likely to commit for longer, increasing productivity whilst also strengthening your employee value proposition.  

5) The measure of key data

Figures on the number of people joining the talent pool, retention rate and cost per hire will ensure you have a snapshot of the key metrics when analysing your new recruitment model with the major benefits being: 

It encourages you to keep asking important questions about your industry, future and current talent and whether you are creating the right jobs 
You have high-quality talent on tap
You save time and money because you no longer need a recruitment agency, plus it reduces the time it takes to recruit someone

A different approach to recruitment

The rules of recruitment are transforming because we have a changing workforce demographic.  Millennials are taking a different approach to where and how they choose a company to work for. This presents new opportunities to be ahead of the curve, requiring a shift in mindset to be proactive, instead of reactive, when analysing your recruitment strategy. Be sure however, as night follows day, that if you continue to recruit in a conventional way, you will not be hiring the right candidates which will cause you financial pain. Altering your approach today will give you a significant competitive advantage in improving your working culture and talent acquisition.  

**HR Review, Acas and Hundred5

If you would like to learn more about how you can improve your talent acquisition strategy please schedule a call for a free consultation.