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Recruitment vs. talent acquisition: What's the difference?

Recruitment and talent acquisition are terms often used interchangeably. However, the differences between these two practices are crucial. They could be the key factors that determine whether your business grows or stagnates in 2018. Recruitment is a means to an end. The goal of recruitment is to fill vacancies and to keep operations running. In other words, companies recruit to survive. Talent acquisition, although it takes considerably more effort, is about long-term growth and laying the groundwork for a flourishing enterprise.

How is talent acquisition different from recruiting? 

While recruitment is about filling a vacancy as quickly as possible, talent acquisition is a long-term, highly mutable, ongoing strategy to develop a roster of committed leaders and specialists. Because it focuses on finding candidates with niche skill-sets and exceptional leadership, talent acquisition is a more nebulous, laborious process. It’s also holistic; as Hemant Kumaarr notes, to be successful in talent acquisition, you have to think strategically about “attracting, sourcing, recruiting, and hiring employees within an organization.” Unlike recruiting, talent acquisition is not a linear process—it’s more of a cycle in which relationships are sought out to maintain a steady-flowing talent-pipeline.

Recruitment is just one part of talent acquisition. Talent acquisition takes into account labor markets, the direction that your company is headed in, and anticipates technological change. It also takes into account the existing workplace and what skills, experiences, and personalities are represented therein. From there, a talent acquisition specialist might ask, “what do we have and what could make us better?” Another aspect is employer branding. In a shrinking labor market, it’s crucial to develop a comprehensive, honest, and positive image of what it’s like to work for your company.

The scope of talent acquisition can make it an intimidating endeavor to engage with. However, new technologies such as applicant tracking systems (ATS), ChatBots, and social media marketing platforms make it easy to maintain relationships with your candidates. Metrics and analytics are a crucial part; big data can help you determine what strategies are working, which ones aren’t, and how your candidates and recent hires are developing overall.

What’s best for me?

Every day, more and more industries are turning to talent acquisition to foster a more productive, efficient, growth-oriented workplace. Specialized industries such as tech, medicine, law, and finance reap the benefits of talent acquisition more than others because they involve competing for a small group of desirable, highly skilled candidates. 

If your company is anticipating significant growth you should acquire rather than recruit. A new business requires steady hands, and traditional recruitment doesn’t cut it. A comprehensive talent acquisition strategy is an investment that lays the groundwork for long-term success. 

How can I start? 

Making the transition from recruitment to full-scale talent acquisition doesn’t have to be scary. You can get started today by getting organized and tracking your candidates—preferably with a state-of-the-art ATS. If you haven’t already, it’s time to take a good hard look at your employer brand. When a candidate visits your website or views your job listing, will they have a strong, positive impression of what it’s like to work for you? If not, invest in your recruitment marketing strategy. You can start acquiring talent by building relationships on social media. Find out where your dream candidates are conversing and start engaging. By following these tips, you’ll be able to start the transition from filling positions to acquiring talent with ease.

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