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Talent Acquisition versus Recruitment: Everything to Know as a Candidate


31 October 2022

Stephanie Taylor

The terms “talent acquisition” and “recruitment” are often confused by candidates and are thought to be different terms for the same process that can be used interchangeably. To some extent, this is true, but there are some stark differences between these two terms. Simply understanding the key differences and similarities between the two processes can help you stand out as the most qualified talent and in identifying organizations that create a sustainable hiring process in the market.

What is Talent Acquisition?

Talent Acquisition is a proactive and cyclical process that is geared towards building a positive employer brand, creating a feasible talent pool, and foreseeing future hiring needs. It is a strategic approach that not only seeks to fill current positions in an organization but also the development of a strong talent pipeline that utilizes candidates and their skills for the fulfillment of future positions.

Talent Acquisition is a long-term human resource planning and is a continuous process.

Strategic talent acquisition also involves the awareness of current staffing trends, the state of the present workforce, and the future workforce and using those insights to attract potential talent.

What is Recruitment?

Recruitment is a linear process that deals with hiring candidates to fill open positions within an organization quickly. Compared to talent acquisition, which is more proactive and continuous, the recruitment process is reactive and momentary. For organizations, it’s essential to find the right person for the right job, and in order to do that, they must have a well-organized recruitment process.

Recruitment is only one of the subsets of talent acquisition. The entire process can be further broken into five activities:

  • Candidate Sourcing
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Candidate Selection
  • Interviewing
  • Onboarding

Differences between Talent Acquisition and Recruitment

Although both approaches involve filling vacant positions in an organization, there are some key differences between recruitment and talent acquisition you should know.

Long Term Vs Short Term

The easiest way to understand the differences between talent acquisition and recruitment is to view them as long-term planning and short-term fix, respectively.

Recruitment is a prompt exercise, a need of the hour. For example, a recruiting professional must create a series of challenges to screen candidates from the talent pool based on the key skills required for the job and hire the best talent, like you, fit for the role. All these activities have to be completed within the shortest possible time.

Whereas strategic talent acquisition is a less hurried process that deals with the organization’s future talent needs.

Ongoing Process Vs Linear Process

Strategic talent acquisition is a continuous cycle that can take more time up-front and focuses on activities such as outreach, employment branding, networking, candidate engagement, and relationship building with talent communities. These activities, in tandem, build and enhance an efficient talent supply chain for any business.

On the other hand, recruitment is a linear process where recruiters source and screen candidates for current vacancies. This often leads to an increase in recruitment metrics such as cost-to-hire and time-to-hire.

Dynamic Vs Static

Acquiring talent is largely about getting your business’s cream of the crop. Talent acquisition is dynamic and all about growth. The strategic approach becomes more fluid if new positions are created based on future talent needs or major changes are made to the existing ones.

The recruitment process is static. That is, it ends when somebody is successfully hired. It doesn’t change. No major effect can be felt across an organization because of recruitment, as it involves filling up an empty position.

As you can see, although sometimes confused as similar, they are quite different processes with different purposes. Recruitment has always been a part of talent acquisition. Setting up an entire Talent acquisition strategy takes more time up-front, but in the end, it helps organizations build the best possible team. No matter the path you choose, the key is to upgrade your knowledge of the trends and technologies available and utilize them efficiently to reach success.

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