The 7 key skills of a talent acquisition specialist

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COVID-19 has changed the labor market much faster than anticipated, according to The Future of Jobs 2020 report by the World Economic Forum: As the economy evolves, experts now expect 97 million new jobs to emerge.[1] 

An expanding workforce with brand new skill sets means hiring teams must get with the times and be more resourceful than ever.

Nearly three in four employers state they hired the wrong person, and a bad hire will cost your company $14,900 on average.[2] So it’s crucial for every business to have skilled talent acquisition specialists.

A talent acquisition specialist manages a big part of the recruiting process. The extent of their involvement depends on variables such as company size; a talent acquisition specialist will bear more responsibility in a smaller business.

Regardless of the company’s size, the talent acquisition specialist’s role is vital for success.

In this article, we will explore talent acquisition specialists’ responsibilities and the top seven skills they need to succeed.

You’ll also learn how to effectively test for these skills when hiring and what an effective Talent Acquisition test looks like.

What are the responsibilities of a talent acquisition specialist? 

A talent acquisition specialist is involved in every step of the hiring cycle. Here are some of the responsibilities that the role includes:

What are the responsibilities of a talent acquisition specialist? 

1. Candidate sourcing

Talent acquisition specialists use various methods to source talent, including posting job descriptions, visiting job fairs, and utilizing their connections in the field. They will also use employee referrals, which 82% of employers claim generates the best return on investment. 

2. Candidate screening

After the talent acquisition specialist has sourced enough candidates, it’s time to determine who is qualified enough to move to the next stage of the hiring process. To help them, they can use applicant-tracking systems, personal screening, or pre-employment tests. Some talent acquisition specialists like to include phone or video screening calls at this stage. 

3. Candidate recommendations

The next step is to send the information about the selected applicants to the hiring manager so they can decide who they would like to interview. The talent acquisition specialist should be able to provide insightful feedback and details that can make the additional screening more effective.

4. Scheduling interviews

Talent acquisition specialists will often take responsibility for this task. And it can be pretty taxing, considering you need to compare schedules and take many things into account when arranging the appointments. 

5. Onboarding management

The talent acquisition specialist is one of the first representatives of the HR team the new employee will have met – as such, they play an important role in helping new staff members feel at home in the company. 

Considering the significant part that the talent acquisition specialist plays in recruiting new employees, you should know what skills to look for and how to evaluate them effectively when hiring for that role.

However, assessing your applicants can be tricky. According to an SHRM study, 83% of HR professionals had difficulty hiring suitable candidates, and 75% of them believe there is a skills shortage among applicants.

Simply evaluating someone’s skills by their resume won’t cut it – a 2022 ResumeLab study shows that 93% of those surveyed know someone who has lied on their CV, while 36% admit that they have lied, too. The second most common lie is about skills. 

One way to identify candidates with the necessary skills for the position is by using skills tests. 

Top 7 talent acquisition specialist skills

Here are the top skills that every talent acquisition specialist should have and how to test for them.

Top 7 talent acquisition specialist skills

1. Talent acquisition 

Talent acquisition is not just about filling a vacancy. It’s about evaluating who can be the best long-term fit for the position and your company.

A suitable talent acquisition candidate must be able to perform well at every step of the hiring process. That means sourcing, evaluating skills, recruiting talent, and onboarding. 

This short Talent Acquisition test can help you identify applicants with talent acquisition experience.

2. Communication

Everyone in your human resources team deals with the organization’s most important assets: the people. And communication is a vital skill when managing people. Talent acquisition specialists must communicate effectively to write clear job descriptions, ask the right interview questions, and understand and solve problems. 

TestGorilla’s Communication test will help you assess your candidates’ written and verbal communication skills, their understanding of non-verbal cues, and their active-listening abilities. 

3. HR Fundamentals

Just like with any other job, human resources requires certain fundamental abilities.

You can evaluate the core competencies of your applicants with the HR Fundamentals test and make sure your talent acquisition specialist is capable of taking care of your employees.

4. Time management

Developing and maintaining an effective time-management strategy is vital for any job requiring you to complete tasks for a set period. This is especially true for talent acquisition specialists since their role involves multitasking, and they frequently have to handle last-minute problems that arise during the hiring process. 

TestGorilla’s Time Management test can help you evaluate how well applicants prioritize, plan, and execute tasks. 

5. Attention to detail 

It’s important to acknowledge subtleties when working with people. This kind of role requires someone who recognizes the importance of accuracy and thoroughness.

The ability to identify errors and potential weaknesses, as well as to manage them until you produce a satisfying result, is key to being efficient and professional. 

Candidates who score well on the Attention to Detail test are thorough and consider the finer details. 

6. Problem-solving skills

Success in task-oriented positions is nearly impossible if you don’t have the skill to solve problems.

This includes identifying issues accurately, breaking them into manageable parts, developing strategies to resolve them effectively, and then executing action plans. It’s a necessary skill for any talent acquisition specialist since this role requires responding to any issues that arise during the hiring process. 

To assess your candidates for their ability to solve problems, try TestGorilla’s Problem Solving test

7. Negotiation

The talent acquisition role involves plenty of communication and the ability to control a conversation, directing it toward the desired outcome. It also involves dealing constructively with emotions that can negatively impact your objective.

This is called negotiation, and our Negotiation test can help you measure this skill in your applicants. 

How to hire your next talent acquisition specialist

Developing a strategy makes the hiring process faster and more efficient. Below, you’ll find a quick step-by-step guide to hiring your next talent acquisition specialist. 

  1. Write and post a job ad: First, you must attract suitable candidates. Writing a clear and detailed job description, and posting it where it’s most likely to meet its target, will help you do that.

  2. Prepare a skills assessment: Pre-employment tests will help you evaluate your candidates’ skills accurately and objectively. With TestGorilla, you can find all the skills tests you need for hiring the best talent acquisition specialist

  3. Administer the skills assessment to all applicants: You can include the link in the job description or send invitations directly to your candidates by email or through your ATS.

  4. Analyze results: Compare the results to the benchmarks or hiring goals you established. Try to take the whole picture into account – scoring low on one or two categories doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate is unqualified, especially if it’s something they can develop on the job. 

  5. Invite your best applicants to an interview: You can personalize the interview by asking questions connected to the candidate’s result and the parts that stood out to you. 

  6. Make a hiring decision: Now that you have compared the scores and noted down your impression from the interviews, making the right choice gets easier. You can also use the results from the assessments to guide your new employee’s training in a way that utilizes their strength and helps them develop any areas of weaknesses.

With the right recruitment process, hiring the right match is easy

Using skill tests can significantly increase the quality of your hires and decrease the time you spend on the recruiting process. 

Getting the data you need to make unbiased and informed decisions can help you acquire and retain better employees and entirely reinvent how you approach recruitment. And if you’re hiring a new team member of your HR team, remember to use our Talent Acquisition test to identify the most suitable candidates.

TestGorilla provides professional skills assessments that are easy to use and evaluate. Give our test library a try and transform your recruitment process! 

Sources:[1] Russo, A. Recession and Automation Changes Our Future of Work, But There are Jobs Coming, Report Says, retrieved on July 27, 2022

[2] Press release – Nearly Three in Four Employers Affected by a Bad Hire, According to a Recent CareerBuilder Survey, retrieved on July 27, 2022

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