Build, Buy, Borrow and Bridge – A New Way of Channeling Your Hiring

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Build, Buy, Borrow and Bridge – A New Way of Channeling Your Hiring

The war for talent is here to stay. The top priority for Chief Talent Officers is to ensure that their organization’s hiring is done on time, and in accordance with all their quality parameters. Often, this means that it should be done at a faster pace, and without compromising its quality.

As a result of the large transformation within the industry, we are seeing a significant movement towards the use of Artificial Intelligence (Machine learning, Deep Learning, Computer Vision) and Data Science in the Talent Acquisition Process. Organizations that are located globally experience additional challenges in enabling their workforce in the various geographies they are operating in, as the operating philosophy is slightly different in each region. 

Build, Buy, Borrow, and Bridge
On a final note

Build, Buy, Borrow, and Bridge

While hiring on time with great quality is important, over the past few years, we have seen a complete transformation in hiring avenues, expectations regarding the candidate experience, and business leader satisfaction. Being ahead of the competition is now just as important as giving a great experience to both the candidates and the business team experience.

There is a 4 B method – Buy, Borrow, Build, and Bridge – that can be used to solve the talent shortage. We’ll discuss this model as we go along.


This is an interesting model. As it becomes increasingly difficult for organizations to find specialist professionals, many companies are starting to build their own talent in-house. We have three ways to look at this.

1) Early Talent Program –  Hiring high-quality talent from renowned (engineering) colleges. Several interventions like a student mentoring program, a faculty engagement program, intern hiring, remote internships, or a graduate hiring program will enable great partnerships with different colleges and universities. As an added bonus, this will bridge the skill gap between universities and companies.

2) Finishing Schools – Here, organizations are partnering with a few schools that are in the business of building capabilities in specific areas that the company is interested in. 

3) Internal capability development – The company’s Learning and Development team plays a big role in this, starting with a skills gap analysis and training people based on that. Trained individuals are able to pick up new roles and are given larger responsibilities.

Both Early Talent program Employees and Finishing school Employees will still need to complete a foundation training program to enable (cultural) orientation.

Suitable for what kind of organization?
Large, US-based tech companies and many IT services firms in India and South East Asia have been able to get a lot of benefits from these kinds of programs. As they continue to see the results they are still investing in this Build model.


No matter how agile you are in terms of understanding and working on what you need vs. what is available internally – and what can be available after a certain period of training, you will still need to hire from the external market. The organization’s requirements are ever-changing and the reaction time tends to be very low.

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This is why we need to look at a Buy strategy for these kinds of positions while keeping our L&D partner abreast of these changing requirements so that they can build a plan for future demands. With the help of AI and market intelligence, we need to quickly assess the various hiring avenues and competitive intelligence and enable our sourcing strategy.

Suitable for what kind of organization?
The Buy strategy is most suitable for early-stage startups and rapidly growing companies as they will usually have a larger amount of intake of new hires vs. what then can build Internally.


Sometimes the job requirements are very unique but as a company, you may not have larger visibility and do not want to invest in those competencies. Think, for example, about when you need talent for a short-term project. In that case, you may want to opt for a Borrow strategy that enables you to tap into a partner ecosystem and leverage hiring through strategic partners.

In order to fully benefit from your Borrow strategy, it’s important to cultivate communities of talent outside the organization, including part-time, freelance, contract, and temporary workers to complement existing skills. This strategy can also be useful in a Buy strategy when you have less time to initiate a large project.

Suitable for what kind of organization?
Staffing companies and those who are experimenting with projects in addition to those large companies who are planning to hire but not very sure of how to utilize these competencies (yet) are the once who use this model the most.


This one is similar to the Build strategy but with a twist. Instead of building a competence from Beginner to Expert, we need to allow employees to increase their breadth of competencies. Here, again, the company’s Learning and Development program plays an important role. Enterprises that work with a learning platform will have the possibility to (automatically) offer their employees training in adjacent areas. L&D talent analytics can be brought in to use to consider these people for (future) opportunities.

The systems should be interactive which enables individuals to learn whenever it is most convenient for them. They can also choose to do minor projects to harness the academic learning that they get and eventually move to new roles that require new competencies. The ‘Bridge’ is also a great retention strategy.

Suitable for what kind of organization?
Stable organizations and IT product engineering organizations deploy this model as this is a great strategy to invest in their own people and in increasing the stickiness of employees.  

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A final note (on AI)

While there is no best formula for how much of your new hires should come from which strategy – after all, this will be different for each type of organization – any 4 B combination that yields a great cost advantage, candidate experience, and business performance for your company will be the best one.

A word about Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in order. Over the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about AI disrupting the talent acquisition space. Companies are using applications of AI to make the hiring process easier, and are adapting the ways to engage with and enable candidates to join them.

Competitive intelligence also plays a big role in how the recruiting process is formulated. We have gender decoding job description management systems, sourcing and screening algorithms, chatbots for assessments, and engagement algorithms that primarily use machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and natural language processing (NLP) technology.

AI can help in saving a lot of time for both the candidate and the company. And while there is some speculation that AI will make recruiters jobless, in my opinion, AI is (just) a great enabler and artificial intelligence coupled with human intelligence is the future.

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