Did you know that today's top talent may only be on the market for as little as 10 days? That means when you need to make a key hire, you've got to act fast. But if making that hire is going to require you to create a job description from scratch, post it online and wait for the resumes to roll in, you're probably going to lose out on the best candidates available. They'll likely be snapped up by a competitor with a more sophisticated approach to staffing and a streamlined hiring process — and that's why having a talent acquisition strategy is important.

proactive, not reactive

In simplest terms, the primary reason a talent acquisition strategy is key to successful hiring is because it enables your organization to hire proactively, rather than reactively. With a talent acquisition strategy in place, you'll know exactly where to go to find a great hire, rather than racing to fill a position when a key player leaves.

Think about it like this: your office manager doesn't wait until you're completely out of printer paper before ordering more. He or she knows how much paper your office goes through in a given month and always keeps new paper in the pipeline. That's precisely the same approach you should take to hiring. Instead of waiting for employees to leave, use the data at your disposal to understand your turnover and retention rates, have a clear picture of the average employee tenure at your organization and know which skills will be most in-demand, the hardest to find in the talent landscape.

This mix of data analysis and proactive planning will help ensure your workforce is never caught short by the sudden departure of a team member.

enabling growth at every level

Hiring isn't just about maintaining your existing workforce. It's also about enabling your organization to grow quickly and effectively. To do this, your talent acquisition team will need to work closely with other business leaders to understand the organization's strategic direction over the next year. By having a clear picture of which products or services your business is launching or prioritizing over the near term, you'll be able to know which teams are expected to grow and the key roles they'll need to add.

This will allow you to begin building a pipeline for candidates with the necessary skills — keeping your time-to-fill rates down and your hiring managers happy.

earning a seat at the table

Your people are your most critical asset. Without them, your business simply wouldn't operate. But in many organizations, the HR and talent acquisition functions are seen as little more than cost centers that exist simply to fill open positions. That's unfortunate, because the most effective organizations know that talent is key to effective growth — and the people in charge of securing that talent deserve a place in the strategic planning process.

If your organization still has an old-fashioned view of talent acquisition, you have the opportunity to change that. By showing that your function is engaged and involved in business-focused activities like planning for attrition, developing retention initiatives and building pipelines to support growth, you can demonstrate to leadership that talent plays a business-critical role within your organization. Showcasing your initiatives' effectiveness through measurable data is the perfect way to change your leadership's perception of the talent acquisition function — something you can't accomplish without an effective talent acquisition strategy.

If you're still not convinced that a talent acquisition strategy is needed within your organization, take a look at review the steps needed to get started. You may be surprised at what you find out.