The Top 8 Things Keeping Canadian Talent Acquisition Leaders Awake at Night?

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As a former Talent Acquisition leader from a global Fortune 100 company and now an advisor to a large number of organizations around the globe on their recruitment strategies, programs and practices, I spend a great deal of my time meeting, networking and connecting with Talent Acquisition leaders on a daily basis.  I am fortunate to be exposed to many of the top Talent Acquisition thought leaders around the globe and am always keeping my ear to the ground on the latest Recruitment trends, challenges and best practices.

As part of The Talent Company’s core business and our continued commitment to elevate the Talent Acquisition function to higher standards of performance and professionalism, my colleagues and I were very excited to produce an in-depth study, our Pulse on Talent Acquisition.  Over the past 4 months, The Talent Company’s research team, met with 155 Talent Acquisition Leaders from across Canada within organizations of all sizes and across every industry asking them a number of questions related to the current state of their Recruitment function.

This is now the third major study The Talent Company has conducted on the latest trends and challenges within Human Resources.  Our past studies have included the HR Pulse and the Pulse on Leadership

We will be releasing the results from our full Talent Acquisition study over the next few months.  As a preview of our findings, here are the top 8 things keeping Canadian Talent Acquisition Leaders awake at night:

8) Lack of Candidate Pipelines and the Increasing Competition for Talent – There is definitely a growing concern over the current reactive and transactional state of recruitment within organizations. There is a lack of preparedness for the increase hiring demands by the business over the past number of months.  The limited budgets and resources dedicated to recruitment over the past few years have not allowed the function to proactively develop talent pipelines for key positions.  Talent Acquisition Leaders are concerned to see the changing labour market where candidates are in the driver’s seat and the function anticipates more candidates receiving multiple offers and/or counter offers as the market for talent continues to heat up.  The Leaders want to invest more budgets for candidate research solutions and talent sourcing practices but are continuing to be constrained by limited organizational budgets.

7) Lack of Qualitative Hiring Data – Organizational leaders want more quality of hire data and Talent Acquisition leaders are struggling to find the inputs, systems, and reporting platforms to capture, analyse and report the data.  The Recruitment functions are finding it a challenge to move from the traditionally used recruitment process measures (i.e. time-to-fill, interview to hire ratio, source of hire, etc.) to hiring outcome data focused on the quality of candidates hired into the organization.

6) Ineffective Recruitment Technologies & ATS – Talent Acquisition functions spend a large portion of their overall budgets on various technologies including their applicant tracking systems.  A significant number of Talent Acquisition leaders expressed frustration with the technologies currently in place within their function, which they say aren’t helping improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their recruitment practices and are in fact hurting the function.  Over 75% of Talent Acquisition leaders indicated they are not satisfied with their current ATS providers and said they are currently or in the next 12 months will be looking for a new provider.

5) Ineffective Candidate Assessments – Most Talent Acquisition leaders don’t have confidence in the candidate assessment tools their organizations are currently utilizing to predict candidate fit and future performance.  Leaders have tried a number of different candidate assessment tools currently in the market and feel they are often over sold by the assessment organization without meeting the anticipated results/outcomes.  The majority of Talent Acquisition leaders are currently looking for new candidate assessment providers for their organizations.

4) Organization Salary Levels Don’t Match Candidate Expectations in the Current Market – There is a growing frustration amongst Talent Acquisition leaders that the salary levels their teams are being asked to recruit talent for aren’t realistic to what the current talent in the market is looking for.  This challenge is preventing organizations from being competitive in the market for strong talent, particularly for hot and niche skills their business leaders say are critical for their organization.

3) Lack of Hiring Manager Engagement – Hiring Managers are a challenge at every organization.  From their unrealistic expectations on hiring skills and experience for their open roles, to the Talent Acquisition leaders’ lack of confidence in the majority of their Hiring Managers’ abilities to appropriately interview, assess and select the best candidates for their roles, Hiring Managers are doing more damage to the hiring process than good.  Most Talent Acquisition leaders indicate that the education and training of Hiring Managers in recruitment and selection will be top priority over the next few years.

2) Limited Capabilities of their Current Recruiters – Growing and developing their Recruiters into true business partners is the vision of many of the Talent Acquisition leaders we spoke with for this study.  The concern the leaders have is how they can get their Recruiters to be true business partners.   One of the key challenges they have is just the sheer high number of requisitions their recruiters are working on.  From the study, the average Recruiter is currently working on 28 open requisitions; however, that number jumps quickly with Recruiters working for large organizations (working on 40+ open requisitions at present).  There just isn’t the time to focus their Recruiters on being more consultative, influential and effective with the business.

1) Limited Capacity of the Function – Having to do more with less was the general theme amongst all the Talent Acquisition leaders participating in this study.  Tighter organizational budgets and headcount restrictions have greatly reduced the Recruitment functions ability to execute and deliver on the increasing expectations of the business.  Many of the Talent Acquisition leaders continue to look for ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the function while trying to realistically manage the business’s expectations of Recruitment.  But the ability of the Talent Acquisition function to meet the growing hiring demands of the organization without an increase in the overall investment is definitely the number one factor on the minds of Canadian Talent Acquisition leaders.


Stay tuned for more results from our Pulse on Talent Acquisition.   For more information about our recent Talent Acquisition study, please contact Kathleen Jinkerson at The Talent Company at (416) 342-1979 or



Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment, Talent and HR Solutions at The Talent Company –   Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices. Simon’s full profile can be found at

For more information on The Talent Company please visit us at

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