Five Strategies for Effective Talent ProcurementToday’s procurement professionals face significant challenges. Increasingly asked to do more with less, these individuals must also move beyond traditional roles focused on cost reductions and streamlined sourcing and become an integral part of an organization’s strategy team.

What does this mean for talent acquisition? Simply put, procurement professionals who seek to lead in their field must re-examine how they approach the hiring process to ensure their organizations remain nimble and competitive. Following are five strategies for effective talent procurement for forward-thinking professionals.

1. Understand the talent situation.
Despite persistently high unemployment levels, many organizations are facing a talent shortage. The competition for talent is expected to increase in the coming years. In a recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey of 235 C-level executives, more than half (53%) of respondents cited talent shortages as their primary area of concern. Meanwhile, the contingent workforce is growing exponentially, driven by advances in technology and the desire of organizations to flex their capabilities based on market demand. Understanding these trends is key to finding a solution.

2. Know who you need.
Talent shortages and hiring challenges are highest in areas that require advanced skills and college degrees, such as IT, professional services, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Hiring talent in these areas therefore requires a different approach than hiring for lower skill sets. To adopt the right approach in hiring, it’s imperative to know the types of roles that need to be filled in an organization.

3. Put systems in their place.
The trend toward a larger contingent workforce and a desire to standardize hiring is leading to an increased adoption of software-enabled, cloud-based, systems-driven staffing solutions. In a recent survey of hiring managers and executives across a range of industries, approximately half currently use vendor management systems (VMS), managed vendor systems (MVS) or managed service providers (MSP). The chief advantages cited by those using the systems are a faster hiring process, lowered costs and decreased workload as well as tracking and reporting capabilities.

In an environment that demands process consistency and in-depth intelligence, these systems present an attractive solution. Indeed, the ability to save time and resources and integrate sophisticated workforce analysis tools can provide a competitive advantage—when these systems are applied in the right way.

4. Understand the limitations of VMS/MVS and MSP solutions.
Despite the benefits of VMS/MVS and MSP solutions, they’re not a “magic bullet” for acquiring talent. When asked about the performance of VMS/MVS and MSP solutions, only one out of four survey participants rated performance across all attributes as very good or excellent. Hiring managers and executives were also neutral on the performance of automated talent acquisition systems in identifying candidates—only one-third rated the quality of candidates that are hired as very good or excellent. The primary challenge cited by those using VMS/MVS and MPS solutions was the sourcing of unqualified candidates or candidates who are a poor fit for the organization. High turnover and a lack of engagement are common. On average, respondents said they work around the established process of a VMS/MVS or MSP 34% of the time.

5. Leverage the value of human involvement.
Approximately half of all respondents prefer to work with a combined hiring solution using both an automated system and a specialized staffing/recruiting agency, noting that both methods have advantages for different requirements. VMS/MVS or MSP solutions can fill positions quickly that require less skilled or less specialized employees, while specialized staffing/recruiting agencies are preferred for higher skill sets and more specialized recruits who require more time and effort to identify.

An additional 23 percent of those surveyed indicated that they prefer to work only with a specialized agency because of the agency’s ability to source high-quality candidates, target specific needs, and provide clear communication and better control of the process.

Standardization and commoditization have their place in the procurement chain. However, when talent matters, human involvement on a personal level is essential. By adopting strategies that recognize the value of personal, professional attention in the hiring process, procurement professionals can play a key role in positioning their organizations to lead in the next workforce paradigm.


Brightwing Market Research Study on Team Member Recruiting and Talent Acquisition, Clear Seas Research, Troy, MI, Dec. 2012.