March 13, 2024

It’s official: Business wants a holistic approach to talent acquisition.

When it comes to hiring new staff, today’s employers want more than the transactional. They want to partner with someone who understands their business and actively finds talent with the right cultural fit, not just the best skills. These were the key findings of the Catalina Consultants Talent & Recruitment Survey 2024. 

We asked clients to complete this survey as part of the launch of our new offering, Catalina Talent Advisory. And, the good news for recruiters is that almost all employers reported positive experiences with recruiters, especially when it came to saving time. 

Many, however, also believed there was a compelling role for a Talent Advisory that went beyond simply filling roles. They are looking for an offering that provided an ongoing, holistic partnership, that provocatively searched for talent and kept a pipeline of candidates ready even before a vacancy arose.

With that in mind, here are some of the survey’s key findings.


Attracting quality candidates remains an issue

Our survey found that one of employers’ main concerns was attracting talent when the economy was generally strong and unemployment was low. Many felt that, while not quite as bad as a year or two ago, current labour market conditions remained strongly in favour of employees. As a result, it was difficult to compete for quality candidates.

One employer noted that the “time taken for posting job ads and scrolling through resumes for appropriate talent,” was onerous, and that the “[local] talent pool… was limited for quality candidates.” 

“It is rare we locate staff with prior [industry] experience,” they observed.

Because of this imbalance between employers and candidates, many of the respondents were actively relying on recruiters to attract candidates rather than running recruitment from inhouse.  


There are both advantages and disadvantages of the traditional recruiter model

Most of those using recruiters were able to highlight benefits they brought to their organisation. . 

Some wrote that the recruiters they worked with understood their business and were therefore in a position to send quality candidates. 

“We have a good working relationship with three recruiters who have a good understanding of our business and the type of candidate we seek,” one employer said.

Many also argued that using a recruiter saved time, especially when in-house resources were limited. This was especially true when it came to the initial stages of recruiting.

“It just saves us significant time in the recruitment process,” one employer noted.

Most employers, however, did not view everything about their relationship with recruiters favourably. Many argued that the cost of engaging a recruiter could outweigh any perceived benefit. Several also took the view that recruiters were not delivering better candidates than they could find themselves. 

“Sometimes they throw us a curve ball and provide over-qualified, very expensive candidates,” one respondent observed. 

Another complained that: “The process [was] expensive and the candidates in some instances [were] not true to their label.”

Some employers also argued that, even when recruiters presented quality candidates, signing them on could prove a challenge.

“Good candidates coming through a recruiter generally have more than one job offer and a lot of the time it becomes a bidding war,” said one employer.


Culture the real key

Several employers argued that the real key to using an external recruiter was engaging one that not only understood the requirements of the role, but also the culture of their organisation. 

It really is understanding the team that the individuals would be joining, it’s all about culture and the right team fit for us,” one employer submitted. [It’s] that old saying, ‘technical can be taught – fit and personality cannot’.”

Another employer argued that the business’s “core values and culture” should be embedded in the recruitment process. 


There is a strong case for a talent advisory

When employers were asked what they would like to see as part of a talent advisory, several commented that they wanted a genuine partnership that transcended the traditional employer/recruiter partnership. 

This would be ‘less transactional’ and more holistic, according to some, with an emphasis on proactively scouting and cultivating talent they knew would be a great fit for their organisation.

“A search for talent, rather than just filling a hole,” is how one respondent put it. Another said they would prefer someone who was: “[b]eing proactive, [working to] understand what we need and continually looking for it.”

“When a great candidate comes up we would like to interview them because you can always find openings,” they said.

Others liked the idea of having someone who looked beyond simply candidates, to identify strategic partnerships more generally. “It would be good to know potential businesses that are looking to sell, or partner with [us],” one explained.

More than one employer hoped that a talent advisory could provide overarching rigour to their recruitment processes, hoping they would offer: “[p]rofile testing, salary benchmarking and candidate suitability on a more technical and scientific basis”. 

Others thought it would be useful to have another set of eyes to review and vet candidates before the interview stage, even if recruiters were still involved in the recruitment process.

“Once we have [quality candidates] in the door, we can often get them across the line,” one noted.


In short…

Most employers agreed that recruiters could bring many benefits to the business, especially when it came to saving time. However, they also considered that there were several shortcomings, especially when it came to providing candidates who were a good cultural fit.

By launching our Talent Advisory, Catalina Consultants aims to bridge this gap, bringing a holistic and forward-looking approach to attracting staff that aims to give effect to an organisation’s business goals.

Want more?

If you’d like to know more about how our Talent Advisory can help your business, get in touch.

say hi to our author

Merilyn founded Catalina Consultants in 2012 on the belief that all organisations, regardless of size, should have access to top quality bespoke HR services. She enjoys working closely with her clients and believes that the best results are built on relationships of rapport, trust and authenticity. Growing up, Merilyn had her sight set on stardom and dreamed of becoming an actor. She also sang and played the piano, but ended up studying accounting and HR. Whilst she hasn’t won her Grammy just yet, she still loves a good karaoke night. Merilyn loves to travel with her family, with South Africa being one of her most memorable destinations.

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