HR Book Club Excerpt: ‘The Talent Fix’

Tim Sackett is one of the most famous HR bloggers leaders in the game, and, also, the godfather of talent acquisition. In his new book, Timmy helps recruiters and human resources leaders “fix” recruiting and hire the best talent in a sub-4% unemployment market.

Our second book of the month is all about helping you make better hiring decisions. Here’s an excerpt from “The Talent Fix: A Leader’s Guide to Recruiting Great Talent.


Posting and Praying Is Dead

There is one primary recruiting strategy that is by far more popular than any other. It’s used by 100 percent of organizations and is the primary, single strategy for roughly 90 percent of corporate talent acquisition shops. What is it? Post and pray!

Let me explain because most people reading this right now are saying to themselves, “Well, our team doesn’t post and pray!” And the reality is, you’re probably lying to yourself, or just don’t know any better.

Post and pray means that your talent acquisition team:

  • Meets with hiring managers and get job specs;
  • Posts the job in your ATS, which then posts it to your career site and other integrated job board type sites (LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Indeed, Google for Jobs, etc.);
  • Accepts all of those applications and résumés that come in from those postings;
  • Reaches out to those who applied and does some level of basic screening for your hiring manager;
  • Contacts recruitment agencies when your hiring managers start getting antsy; and
  • Rinses and repeats for every position you have.

That’s 90 percent of corporate talent acquisition, at least in the United States, across all size enterprises. If this is most of your team’s activity, you will eventually lose your job in talent acquisition, because this is not talent acquisition. This is posting and praying.

The next level beyond post and pray is where your recruiters will go onto a job board site and try to reach out for some candidates who have posted their profile or résumé on the site, but haven’t applied to your job. Congratulations if your team does this consistently: you’ve now reached the top 25 percent of corporate talent acquisition shops.

This is “sourcing light.” Not real sourcing, but at least you’re not just sitting around praying someone will apply to your job. Take credit for getting to this point, seriously! You have no idea how many TA shops never will. If you really want to up your game, start having them go back into your ATS database and contact candidates who applied previously. Then you’ll fully be running with scissors!

I only joke about this a little. It does not take much to be considered “good” at talent acquisition because we’ve set the bar so low for so long. It would be safe to say that 20 percent of corporate TA shops only post their jobs to their own career site and nowhere else. I call this the “lost dog strategy” of recruiting.

The lost dog recruiting strategy is based on how an eight-year-old child would find their lost dog. Have you ever lost a pet? I have; it’s an awful feeling. What’s the first thing a parent tells a child when a pet runs away from home? First, “Don’t worry, we’ll find them,” and then, “Let’s make some posters to put around the neighborhood!”

If you lose your dog, you need to make the lost dog posters! It’s lost-dog-finding strategy 101. Take a big box of crayons, construction paper, pictures of Fido, and bam! You’ve got a strategy already in the works.

An eight-year-old instinctively knows how to find his dog when it runs away. Kids don’t sit in their house or on the front porch and wait for Fido to come home. They go out and advertise and search in the area where more than likely they or someone else would have seen the dog.

When you only post your jobs on your career site, you’re basically saying an eight-year-old child knows how to find talent better than you. Only posting on your website is like losing your dog and making one poster and placing that poster on the front door of your house.

Your only hope of finding your dog is if someone finds your dog, begins walking around your neighborhood, and happens to spot your house and your poster. Your job posting on your career site is that one poster hanging on your front door.

We tend to overestimate how popular we are with candidates within our marketplace, and become perplexed when we post a position, and great talent doesn’t immediately come out of the woodwork and apply.

Even talent in the market who want to work for us don’t apply because they have no idea you posted the job.

It’s really hard when you work every day to better your organization to believe no one is really looking at your career site and visiting your jobs, but for the most part that’s true.There are over 6 million companies in the United States alone.5

In your own market, candidates have hundreds, if not thousands, of options to work. Do you truly think they’re visiting your career page every day, week, even year? They’re not.

We want to believe we work at the best place and everyone wants to come work for us, but our reality is less sexy. Which means you can’t rely on your career site to drive great talent to your company. Sure, it’s one factor that can help, but if it’s your major factor, you’re in big trouble. The lost dog recruitment strategy is alive and well, and it’s a little sad.

In the coming chapters, I’ll explain how you go beyond post and pray, and for sure lost dog strategy. There isn’t one perfect approach, but there are foundational approaches to recruiting that can set up every organization for success. Also, for the skill sets it will take to be successful in talent acquisition in the future, posting and praying is not a future-looking skill set for great talent acquisition.

We started this chapter by saying talent acquisition is the new HR. I want to amend that by saying that talent acquisition has grown into its own function as a peer to HR. I don’t want to be HR; I want to be better than HR. I don’t want to the stereotypical redheaded stepchild of the organization. (By the way, if that offends you, I’m sorry. I’m just giving you an accurate description of myself: redheaded stepchild. What I usually find is no one gets offended at ginger jokes, not even gingers.)

Talent acquisition has the opportunity to be the driving force behind every company, but only if we become dynamic and change the way we go about taking care of our business. Our business is people. We’re the real “people business.” We find the talent that will help our companies grow and succeed. Without us, the entire organization is just praying for a miracle.


Excerpted from THE TALENT FIX by Tim Sackett. Copyright © 2018 by Tim Sackett. Excerpted by permission of SHRM. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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