• Frank Gerritzen

Recruitment storm of the century



How to focus on your talent acquisition business


The pace of change in the world is such that it is impossible to know if today’s situation will be valid tomorrow. This is our reality.


Now that the previous pandemic is slowly receding, and despite the eastern European drama, we discover that the pre-covid shortage of talent has only gotten worse: to the chronic lack of internal headcount, you can now add the limited available talents on the market. Why is that? First, the world is enjoying a post-Covid-19 economic rebound. Second, some professionals, under the duress of home office, lockdowns, and uncertainty, have decided to quit the corporate world altogether. This leaves most organizations in need to recruit with a difficult choice: how to tackle the talent acquisition issue. In which direction should the head of HR focus the attention of the recruitment manager? On the one hand, there is a – growing – need to fill open positions in operations, i.e., the day-to-day tactical recruitment whose goal is to keep up with natural attrition, and/or growth in the company’s operations.

The perfect storm: falling birthrates, fewer graduates on the market, post-Covid 19 economic rebound, and personal career choices by the younger generations.

On the other hand, the world evolves, and companies, whatever their field, size, geographical location, age, and ambition, need to gear up for a future that is approaching a lot quicker than anyone can predict or expect. So, on this front as well, what we call strategic recruitment – or talent acquisition – the situation is dire. Strategic recruitment aims to prepare the organization for tomorrow’s challenges. It serves the identification and recruitment of people who have the ability, talent, training, and willingness to bring the company to the next level, to prepare it to confront the oncoming necessary evolution. A structural lack of new graduates on the market - due to a worldwide falling birthrate - coupled with some personal career choices the younger generation is making, are obstacles for the recruitment team.

The average rate of offer rejection has jumped from 5% to 30%! This translates into a list of open positions that have grown by the same percentage, as a third of all positions need a second full recruitment process.

Candidates today can pick between several highly attractive offers at the same time. The average rate of offer rejection has jumped from the normal 5% to 25% – 30%! This translates concretely into a list of open positions that have grown from 25% to 30%, because almost a third of all positions need a second full recruitment process, up to the job offer. Another factor is giving recruitment managers sleepless nights.


And to make things even more complicated, higher needs in recruitment staff can rarely be supported by a reinforced internal recruitment department: it is facing budget restrictions of its own and the same difficulties in identifying and attracting the right talent for its own needs.


Caught between a rock and a hard place, what are HR Directors and Managers to do? Privileging the short-term, tactical positions? Or preparing and building the staffing needs of tomorrow? Or a mix of both?

The current overload in operational recruitment does not allow allocating resources to strategic development, and vice-versa

Tactical vs strategic recruitment

If tactical recruitment is an obvious activity for most professionals in a recruitment department, let’s review what strategic recruitment entails:

  • Strengthening employer branding: in times like these, the image of the company is essential so that candidates, at the very least, consider applying. Included in employer branding is the management of social media campaigns, a job in and of itself, at the crossroads of marketing, public relations, and human resources. If you have not geared up for that yet, it is high time!

  • Make sure your line managers are after the right profiles: it is one thing to replace a leaver, taking the same job description and going on a search. The real question should be: what skills, experience, and attitude do we really need in this position, and, more importantly, what are the needs for the future? The conclusion may be that you leave things as they are, but merely asking the question, and deciding on it, is a time-consuming activity.

  • Is your sourcing strategy in place? According to LinkedIn’s research, 70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent. Have you got a system in place to chase the talent that is NOT waiting to work for you?

  • Are your KPIs up to speed? Do you have (access) to sourcing data (channels, education, geography, skills, etc.)? Do you know the average length of stay of your staff, by department, age, and training? KPIs are necessary if you want to be ready to recruit with intelligence and not waste your energy. Read more about our take on recruitment KPIs here.

  • Have you started building a talent pool so that all those interviews that have been initiated but not concluded, and those offers that have been rejected do not go to waste?

  • Is your recruitment process well-oiled? Are there gaps? Is the number of candidates in relation to the number of recruits acceptable? It is too bad if you attract enough potential hires, and their subsequent recruitment process is aborted merely because your reaction time is too slow, say, after the first interview.

  • Have you set up all the attraction mechanisms, old and new, that narrow the mesh of your net? A few examples: networking in alumni associations, employee referrals programs, videos on your website, testimonials of existing employees, you name it.

  • Digging even deeper, have you considered that the benefits your company is offering are up to par with that of competitors, and the market in general? Again, in recessionary times, a decent salary is a convincing argument. We are not in recessionary times, not even in normal times, everything but!

  • It may come as a surprise, but all measures aimed at reducing attrition are part of strategic recruitment. Just imagine if every leaver stayed an average of six more months - or one or two years, depending on the industry - how that would impact your recruitment workload.

  • And finally, have you got the right technology in place?

In strategic recruitment you need a long-term mindset, being able to focus on your company’s challenges and opportunities of tomorrow, and the day after.


A possible solution: sharing the workload


It should be clear by now that setting up, refining, or keeping a strategic recruitment activity in the times we are experiencing is a huge task. Given its importance, it can simply not be neglected or delegated, it must be the focus of your attention. It has a direct impact on the state of your company’s future.

The solution: focus your attention and means on strategic recruitment whilst delegating the operational recruitment.

One solution, the solution? is for you to focus your attention and means on strategic recruitment whilst delegating the operational recruitment to an external provider, such as Serendi. An external talent acquisition partner can do the run-of-the-mill recruitment, filling the gaps in your daily recruitment needs, while you concentrate on the strategic part.


Not only does such a solution alleviate your daily headache, but it contributes to some of your strategic needs: for example, Serendi will source efficiently thanks to its multi-channel strategy, build your talent pool, and improve the recruitment process, all issues you are grappling with at the moment.


Spinning your head in all directions is counterproductive, focus instead!