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12th May, 2024

Craig Lewis
Craig Lewis
Job Title
Senior Content Writer

Talent acquisition encompasses more than recruitment - it requires companies to take a more proactive and strategic approach to hiring, working to locate and nurture the very best people. 

But how is it different from good, old-fashioned recruitment and what should your business be doing to develop and improve the process. 

What is the difference between talent acquisition and recruitment? 

Talent acquisition vs recruitment – some companies approach both in the same way, but there are in fact key differences. Organisations which focus on recruitment will actively look out for talent, evaluating and hiring candidates based on their skills and experience with the ultimate aim of filling a job opening. 

They will often follow a standardised recruitment process, making appointments to fill immediate needs within their business. 

Conversely, talent acquisition is focused on more long-term goals and hiring needs. While the bottom line remains the same - ultimately finding the best talent for your organisation - a talent acquisition strategy will need to be more dynamic and flexible. 

A strong talent acquisition proposition will evaluate a company’s long-term goals, making sure that any strategy aligns with those aims. 

The main differences in talent acquisition vs recruitment are that recruiting is reactive, aiming to fill a position which has become available and needs to be filled. Whereas, talent acquisition focuses on finding qualified and skilled candidates for positions which will arise in the future. 

The strategic nature of talent acquisition means it is often used in niche industries that require a greater level of expertise meaning hiring may take longer, such as technology, legal, engineering or medical. 

Leaders in talent acquisition will focus on making sure they have the right person in place for a long-term position, helping organisations to make the correct hiring decisions when important roles become available and increasing employee retention. 

Is talent acquisition more important than recruitment? 

The simple answer to this question is no. Organisations that want to be truly successful should have both talent acquisition and recruitment strategies in place. 

Recruitment is vital for short-term hiring and for making quick appointments to fill specific business needs. 

Conversely, talent acquisition is more beneficial when addressing long-term goals. Following a talent acquisition strategy will allow businesses to approach the hiring of candidates as an investment. 

An effective talent acquisition strategy will consider hiring, engaging, attracting and moving candidates into job roles, allowing your organisation to thrive as a result. The extra flexibility of talent acquisition means it is the best method to use to scale and grow your business. 

Focusing on both recruitment and talent acquisition will allow companies to attract, hire, and retain top talent while also planning for future workforce growth and needs.  

How can talent acquisition benefit your business? 

A talent acquisition strategy can help organisations create a compelling employer brand, develop a strong talent pipeline, and ultimately hire the very best talent. 

Talent acquisition specialists often recruit for high-level, executive positions or people with specialised skills. These are the hires that can really affect your business’ performance and it is vital to get them right. Talent acquisition professionals will be able to efficiently fill complex or vital job roles which require specific skill sets, as well as senior leadership positions. 

Niche roles are often best filled by following a talent acquisition strategy, along with jobs in a sector where there are skills gaps. 

By making talent acquisition a business priority, organisations can align their hiring with their goals, culture, people, and processes. In doing so, they will dramatically increase their chances of bringing the right people in leading to higher levels of employee satisfaction, better retention and boosting your bottom line.  

Tips to improve your talent acquisition strategy 

With the modern workplace constantly changing, it is increasingly important for organisations to fine-tune their talent acquisition strategies. Here are four top tips to improve your talent acquisition strategy: 

Build your brand 

To attract the best people to your business, you need to ensure your brand is as compelling as possible. It is important to be clear about who you are and have an authentic message which communicates what candidates can expect from your company. 

Having a consistent brand message across all your communications and being able to put your own brand ambassadors – also known as your current employees – to work on your behalf, will strengthen your relationship with potential employees. 

A clear company culture will also help organisations to bring in those candidates who fit that culture and can enhance it. 

Be diverse and inclusive 

The best talent acquisition teams will embrace diversity. Of course, it is easy to say all the right things when it comes to promoting diversity and equality in the workplace and as part of your recruitment strategy, but actually living those values is another matter. 

The importance of having a diverse team can’t be over-emphasised. Research by consultants McKinsey & Company shows organisations with a diverse workforce are 35% more likely to have higher financial returns than non-diverse ones. 

It is therefore important to educate recruiters and hiring managers about how to make the talent acquisition process more inclusive, creating diverse hiring panels and educating them about bias and how to avoid it. Ensuring inclusion is part of your company culture will filter into your talent acquisition procedures making them more robust and more likely to result in the hiring of the best people. 

Build a robust talent pipeline 

There is nothing more important in the talent acquisition process than the talent itself. Companies should regularly review unique factors around any open or upcoming positions, including hours, required skill sets, pay and benefits. Addressing and updating these factors will enable you to narrow down the talent you need to attract. 

Developing candidate personas can identify the types of people you need to pull into your talent pools. Once you have done this, your company can work to determine where these candidates can be found. These days, many of the very best candidates are found outside of traditional graduate schemes or searches that simply look at education levels. Instead, a candidate’s attitude, willingness to learn or transferable skills come into play. 

Take advantage of data 

If your talent acquisition strategy does not pay attention to the data it can collect, then it will never work at the capacity it is capable of and you will never know for sure if your any process changes are actually working. 

Data that can be collected includes details of where you have reached out to in order to attract candidates, the types of advertisements you have produced and the reactions to them, where top candidates have come from, the number of applicants and the level of their qualifications, and the diversity of your candidates. 

By collecting data from these and other points of the hiring process, your organisation will be able to discover trends in the quality of candidates and where they are found. This knowledge will allow you to continue improving your talent acquisition process.  

Watch our on-demand webinar, ‘Talent acquisition in the age of Industry 5.0,’ to find out how organisations can futureproof their talent acquisition strategy for the modern world.

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