How Talent Acquisition is a Game of Chess

Knowing your ideal candidate is only half the battle. In order to identify, attract and obtain today’s top talent, you should know your competition like the back of your hand. By looking into others’ talent acquisition strategies, you can get a sense of how you stack up, and whether there are any changes that you can make to help you stand apart from the crowd.



The job marketing is hot, which means top talent is in high demand and the best candidates are likely entertaining a number of competitive offers. If you are find that vacancies are taking longer to fill, or your offers are not being accepted, it may be time to reevaluate your talent acquisition strategy.

Attracting top talent to your organization is like playing a game of chess; there needs to be a well-defined strategy for each and every move. One cannot develop an effective recruitment strategy without first understanding the playing field. Knowing the traits of your ideal candidate is important, of course, but knowing your competition and anticipating their strategy is paramount.

Before you begin to implement any new ideas or techniques into your recruiting process, it is important to study your opponents. Not just the obvious ones, such as those in your industry, but anyone who is hiring the same type of talent as your organization. Look at their website, social media pages, job postings, and any other information you can find.

During this investigation, look for the following:

Value Proposition – What are their advantages? Their point of differentiation? What do they bring to the table? See how these measure up against your own organization’s value proposition. If they have the upper hand, ask how you can tailor your offerings to become more competitive. Make adjustments that set your organization apart and make your opportunity more enticing. Consider incentives such as tuition reimbursement, flex time, and other bonuses.

Hiring Process – Study their application process by looking at competitors’ job postings: How are they worded? What’s the call to action? Where are they being placed? If your competitor has an online application, how easy or difficult is it to complete? Gather as much information as possible, and then compare it against your own process. If your application is labor intensive, look for ways to make it easier to help reduce abandoned applications. If your job posts have too little information, too much inconsequential information, or too little personality, edit them accordingly.

Who They Are Hiring – This may be a bit more difficult to track down, but getting a sense of the type of candidate your competition is hiring can be a great indicator to the scope of talent they are attracting. If they are hiring passive A-players, they are the benchmark and the competition to study. If they are hiring active C-players, they may not be a huge rival, but could still an opponent to watch for.

Intelligence is the key to formulating a successful talent acquisition strategy. Studying your competition and how they attract and hire top talent is the best way to gut check your current strategy and determine if a few refinements or a complete revision may be in order.

Gary Vice is sought out by leaders in Software and Services who recognize the need to attract the industry’s best talent.  Through Strategic Recruiting Partners’ extensive network of relationships, they are able to identify high level opportunities for well qualified candidates.  To discover how this process can benefit your job search, simply reply to this email or call Gary at 469.402.4008.