Talent Acquisition Survey Results

We surveyed over 200 corporate human resource managers throughout March and April 2021 to understand their perspective on talent acquisition and talent management topics. Below are the key findings and a summary. To download the full results with all details, please scroll to the bottom of the page.

Key Findings


77% of participants in this corporate HR manager survey thought their company’s hiring decisions miss the goal of “very good.”

The majority of survey respondents said talent acquisition was their most important responsibility. But roughly 1 out of 5 said they weren’t involved in selecting the recruiting software solution.

Employee referrals are vastly undervalued. Despite well-documented evidence to the contrary, less than 30% responded that employee referrals are their best source for finding quality candidates.

75% of corporate HR managers believe that helping their hiring managers select the right candidates is the biggest need for their hiring managers. Augmented intelligence and machine learning would help with decision making. However, only 20% of the respondents have no issue with AI and are willing to use it.

The cost of employee turnover doesn’t seem to be well understood. Two out of three survey respondents did not think a 10-percentage point improvement in turnover would make a material impact on the company’s finances. And it’s plausible that 60% of survey respondents don’t know their employee turnover rate.

Over 80% of corporate HR managers responded that they are very involved with those in their company making hiring decisions.

The Results are In...

A Summary


This survey is a companion to another recent survey conducted by Cadient Talent. Last year Cadient Talent published results from a survey titled “Hourly Hiring Manager Survey 2020”. In that survey, 1,127 local hiring managers responded to issues similar to the questions posed in this corporate HR manager survey.

Our objective in completing these two surveys was three-fold: (1) understand perspectives and viewpoints on talent acquisition from corporate HR managers, (2) understand the perspectives and viewpoints on the same issues from local hiring managers, and (3) find out where and why these viewpoints may differ between these two symbiotic groups. As you read the results, we have attempted to highlight where the two groups view issues in the same or a different manner.

The Results are In... A Summary

Corporate HR managers take talent acquisition very seriously. Only 14% of respondents said they do not spend a lot of time on it. It’s obvious that hiring the right person is one of the most valuable things a company can do. It leads to longer tenure, improved employee engagement, better customer service, increased revenue, and cost savings over time.

But we have a problem. Although we put a lot of time, money, and effort into talent acquisition, we’re not meeting our hiring goals. In our survey, 77% of respondents said their company does not meet the goal of making “very good” hiring decisions. Their colleagues in hiring manager positions aren’t very optimistic either. 71% of them felt that they missed the mark of making a very good hire.

What’s causing this? It’s not a lack of effort. 80% of corporate HR managers said they are very involved in the hiring process. But in comparing responses from corporate HR managers to prior survey responses from hiring managers, there are some disconnects. It raises the question as to whether the needs of hiring managers are really aligned with people in corporate HR positions who architect, construct and oversee talent acquisition programs.

One area where both groups agree is the need to help hiring managers make better, more informed hiring decisions. People seem to understand that simply increasing applicant flow is not a panacea for all talent acquisition challenges. Only 35% of corporate HR managers believe that attracting more candidates is their most pressing talent acquisition need. In our companion survey of hiring managers, only 20% said their candidate flow was insufficient.

When comparing the importance of talent management vs. talent acquisition, respondents in only two industries, consumer goods & education, answered that talent management was more important than talent acquisition. If this is the case, shouldn’t more effort be placed on hiring the right person, or do organizations simply rely on training and coaching? Our respondents chose the former, hire the right person.

Regarding responses on who is responsible for employee turnover, 48% said that responsibility is equally shared between the HR organization and operations. Sometimes when it’s everyone’s job, it’s really nobody’s job, and it’s difficult to make improvements. Employee turnover happens for many reasons. But the number one reason is hiring the wrong person and having them accept the job knowing it’s not a good fit. The cost of employee turnover may be killing your business, and it’s very possible that no one in your company understands the true cost of turnover. The remedy? Find the right person first and then invest in their development.

A number of people said they weren’t involved in the company’s decision as to which talent acquisition or talent management system to deploy. Considering how valuable it is to hire the right person in the first place, this is unfortunate and needs to change. When it comes to choosing a recruiting solution, if it’s not designed to select the best people for your business who will help your company prosper in tangible ways, it’s the wrong system regardless of whether it’s a best-of-breed or HCM suite.

Finding a way to evaluate candidates more effectively is a huge step in the right direction for any employer. At Cadient Talent, we believe that the optimal method to accomplish this is through machine learning and augmented intelligence. It’s not as difficult as you might think, and stigmas associated with AI are rapidly being overcome through education, experience, and understanding. To learn more about how Cadient Talent uses machine learning and augmented intelligence to improve quality-ofhire, visit our Cadient Decision Point™ page.

In the downloable PDF, we detail the results and key findings from the Talent Acquisition Survey. We have broken the results into six topics: Job Responsibilities; Talent Acquisition Needs; Applicant Sourcing; Hiring; Terminations; Recruiting Solutions; and Survey Methodology.

We hope you find the results informative and educational, and inspiration to transform your hiring process. To access the full 2021 Talent Acquisition Survey results, click on the download button below.