Why Hiring the Right Talent Acquisition Leader is Crucial

Aaron Ross of Predictable University and Jason Lemkin from Saastr argue that the most critical hire for a start-up is your VP of Sales.  For the established or developing business I would argue that hiring the right talent acquisition leader should be at the very top of your priority list.

Over the past two years, Hong Kong has been near full employment. Whilst professionals are always happy to keep an open ear for job opportunities, they’ve also shown more caution and awareness when considering to step out and actively speak to the market.

Outbound Urgency

Although some HR teams have been able to meet their talent needs, over the past two years we’ve seen a decreasing effectiveness of inbound and outbound recruiting (your nets – careers pages, traditional job boards and LinkedIn Inmails). Line managers are demanding better talent in their teams, skill requirements are changing and employers are making retention a priority.

Striking up a conversation with a top prospect has become harder. Much harder. Your Inmail is one of 100, your job description isn’t getting seen by the right audiences and your careers page isn’t being adequately distributed via social channels, which can in any case be full of noise and ditraction.

The Solution

Hire a talent acquisition leader who can go to market to get the right candidates. This might be someone from an agency background who knows that complacency is the quickest way to fail at recruiting. A recruiter with a sense of urgency and prospecting ability is your best bet to starting conversations with top talents faster.

Influencing the Line

Talent Acquisition Leader

The disconnect between line managers and human resources teams is common amongst employers in Hong Kong. We’ve observed many hiring processes in Hong Kong and the standard practice is;

  1. Line manager has an ideal candidate profile in mind
  2. Line manager communicates this to the HR/Recruitment team
  3. HR/Recruitment team create a job description
  4. Job description sent to recruitment partners and jobs boards
  5. Wait for candidates

Simple is usually good, but unfortunately with the process above, all of the control is with the line managers. Unlike HR teams, line isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) listening to the job market on a day-to-day basis and understandably lack awareness of the candidate marketplace. However, most HR teams often aren’t adequately equipped with the data or specialist knowledge with which they can use to either inform or push back on hiring managers, who may have unrealistic expectations on the candidates they wish to attract.

Hire a talent acquisition leader who has domain experience within your industry. Instantly you have someone who can disrupt sub-par current hiring practices and get involved at the top of the hiring funnel.

Knowledge = Consultation = More HR Control = Faster Hiring


The more influence you exert over your internal stakeholders the faster you will be able to move in order to fill a vacancy. Knowledge is king!

Specialists vs Generalists

Aaron Ross & Jason Lemkin make an argument for specialists as opposed to generalists when it comes to building winning sales teams. In Hong Kong, most companies have structured their HR departments as a team of generalists. In the past two years we have seen the transition towards business partnering and a segmentation of the HR department into more specialised silos. However change doesn’t happen overnight. Whilst HR teams are quite capable to recruit and engage with candidates, being in a generalist role makes recruiting much harder in a candidate’s market. It is here where agency recruiters can charge nominal fees as the value of convenience is higher. This leads to generalists turning to talent acquisition tools in order to balance their time effectively. Whilst the prospect of automation is too good to turn down, these tools rarely pace with the hiring practices needed in order to be successful.

Get your talent acquisition specialist to double down and build a fluid recruiting machine that can allow the Human Resources team to focus on engagement, development and retention.

Weeding out Pretenders

Retention is much cheaper than acquisition. Having a top performer leave creates uncertainty for the company and hiring a new joiner in the hopes that they can replicate or exceed the departing employee’s performance is never guaranteed. Businesses have realised this and are willing to put more effort into retaining someone if they resign.

Bring in a talent acquisition leader who has a background in closing. Someone who can sniff out a counter-offer before it lands on the table. The very best recruiters, will instinctively know the push and pull factors in any given situation. They guide the business as to whether a salary increase, title change, or expansion of job scope and responsibility is required to ensure the individual flexibility is paramount to a successful counter-offer.

Heavyweights of the business world say it is the people that make or break a business and hiring the right talent acquisition leader is the best way to make this happen.




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