Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment: What’s the Difference?

Building relationships and networking with the industry talent are crucial factors to any company’s success. To get a leg up on the competition, employers need to think beyond conventional quick hiring practices to fill vacancies and shift their focus toward developing a talent acquisition strategy.

But what exactly does talent acquisition entail?

Many people consider talent acquisition synonymous with recruiting and hiring new talent; however, these are two distinct processes that aim to achieve different goals with diverse approaches often overlapping without entirely blurring.

With pandemic, growing opportunities of remote work, and entrepreneurial small businesses taking a spotlight, human resource officials—both internal and external—need to take a closer look at what makes talent acquisition different from general recruiting.

If you’re looking to determine which approach is best for your company’s short-term and long-term goals, let us give you a breakdown of the differences and provide insights for effective decision-making. We’ll also lay out a strategy for an impactful talent acquisition process citing critical steps and choosing criteria.



Talent acquisition and recruiting – Learning the difference


It’s easier to see the primary difference between recruitment and talent acquisition when you consider the function of each process.

Conventional recruiting is a reaction to a situation where a company needs to find new talent to fill vacancies immediately and for any period. Talent acquisition requires a proactive approach focused on finding the best industry talent for both positions available and not available. The onboarding of new talent aligns with the company’s long-term goals and is rooted in relationship-building with a strategic approach.

So why do companies need to acquire candidates that may not fit a specific role or fill immediate vacancies?

Industry experts believe that talent acquisition is highly effective for companies operating in IT, STEM, and other advanced fields that require specific skillsets for certain jobs. Unlike recruiting—which is a linear process—talent acquisition strives for candidates that can fill in diverse and specialty positions even three to six months down the road.

In simpler words, to complete an immediate project, you will recruit employees, but to build a brand and establish a pipeline of brilliant candidates, you will look at the bigger picture through the talent acquisition process.

One thing that sets talent acquisition apart from traditional hiring is low turnover rates because employees have plenty of opportunities to learn, grow and stay engaged in various projects through constant mentoring and internal mobility.



Developing dynamic talent acquisition strategies


To measure the success of a talent acquisition process, you have to look at organizational goals and growth indicators. The right strategy will allow you to pace without rushing or dragging once you have the right and consistent pipeline of top industry talent available.

Even though the acquiring process can be long and often involves many complexities, it can save time, money, and hiring efforts once hiring managers understand the fundamentals.

Before we take a look at the stages of the talent acquisition process, let’s determine the scenarios where acquiring should be prioritized over recruiting.

– To find a specific skill set that may not be readily available in the market

– To expand your brand beyond its current scope with a reliable team

– To give your company a solid standing in the market through brand awareness and relationship building

– To fill in leadership roles and redefine human resources planning

– To propel growth by lowering turnover rates and make the environment more productive


If your company fits any of these scenarios, consider using a talent acquisition strategy. It involves:


Planning and sourcing

The very first step is creating a job description and circling it among the right social circle to make your needs known. Identifying the platforms to promote yourself and your requirements is crucial for attracting a promising pool and create a solid pipeline.


Networking and assessing

Networking allows your business to create a name for itself without getting lost in a cluttered market. Your brand and company culture will make or break your reputation. Consider that just how you’re judging and assessing the talent, they’re doing the same for your company. Creating a positive experience through networking is just as important to the potential candidate as for you to represent your company.


Interviewing and recruiting

The interview process is at the core of an effective talent acquisition strategy. Identify three to five essential yet diverse tasks that align with your company’s short-term and long-term goals and build your interview questions around them.

You aim to pinpoint the candidate’s abilities to achieve specific tasks measured against key performance indicators and assess their skillset. This can include reviewing their portfolio, pitch meeting, general and cognitive evaluation, and a demo, among other performance criteria.

Keep the candidates that meet the initial criteria but don’t fit the specialty positions in the pipeline for future projects. This will save you time and prevent the need for repeating a complex hiring process.


Reference checking

HR and acquisition executives need to confirm their choice through reference checking to solidify a candidate’s position in the company. Not only this allows you to get a greater insight into the candidate’s past and current professional behavior but also allows you to build a network and engage with other HR professionals in the industry.


Finalizing and onboarding

It’s entirely possible to find multiple candidates that fit the criteria, which is why you need to create a system to pick the strongest candidate. Technology can play a huge part in making this step easier by automating evaluating and grading criteria.

See Also: Top Tech Recruitment Solutions To Know About

You can make the final recruiting process hassle-free and move toward onboarding. Many companies don’t involve recruiting managers in the onboarding process, which is exclusively reserved for the relevant department heads and team leads. Smooth onboarding is critical to keep the new talent interested and prepare them for challenges that lie ahead.

Effective talent acquisition is a lengthy process that can be made easier if your internal company goals are clearly defined. Mentoring, training, interim trial runs, and regular feedback can further boost the pre and post-acquisition process. Once you put it into practice, you’ll be able to see the difference in your company’s culture.