Talent Acquisition

What is Talent Acquisition and how is it different from recruitment?

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What is Talent Acquisition?

Talent acquisition is a proactive branch of Human Resources (HR) that focuses on the long-term growth of an organization in order to fulfill employment needs.

Recognizing that quality people are the driving force behind a successful business, talent acquisition puts strategy at the heart of candidate recruitment.

This focus on long-term strategy helps organizations to fill highly specialized positions that are difficult to fill, such as those in technology or leadership.

A talent acquisition team will attract specialized talent by representing the organization’s unique branding and values when actively seeking out candidates.

How does Talent Acquisition Work?

There is no one-size fits all when it comes to following a process for talent acquisition. Every organization will follow their own process.

Talent Acquisition Best Practices and Stages

There are, however, basic stages that can be followed in talent acquisition that will help establish some best practices for optimal results:

1. Establish a Strategy

Business needs
Because talent acquisition is about meeting the future employment needs of the organization, talent acquisition should begin with planning.

Hiring initiatives need to first align with the organization’s vision and goals. This means understanding the direction the organization is taking, the potential staffing roles that align with that growth, and the budgetary boundaries.

Talent needs
Once business needs are understood, the planning strategy needs to include an understanding of current labor market demands and the internal talent needs of the organization. To do this, talent acquisition teams need to fully understand the roles within the organization and any developing gaps or needs.

By having a firm understanding of both the external job market and the internal roles of the organization, talent acquisition teams will be better able to address developing or future gaps in talent.

2. Attract talent

Today’s talented professionals are interested in what an organization can offer them. This highlights the importance of brand image, the company’s values, the benefits, and developmental opportunities.

To network with potential talent on these factors, talent acquisition teams need to be fluent in different networking channels, like social media, and be able to utilize advertising and marketing strategies. Talent acquisition should always be networking.

3. Relationship management

After sourcing candidates, the next step in talent acquisition is to create a strong, positive candidate experience. This term describes the process of making a candidate feel important.

When candidates feel valued during the recruiting process, they are more likely to have a positive impression about the organization.

Here are a few examples on how to create a positive candidate experience:

  1. Make expectations clear about the recruitment process for each job posting so that candidates know exactly what to expect and when. This proactively addresses frustration before it happens.
  2. Respect a candidate’s time by improving the application experience and the company’s career webpage.
    This means simplifying how a candidate applies for a position, reducing the length of time it takes, and ensuring that clear, insightful information is provided to address questions a candidate might have about working for the company.
  3. Show the candidate that their application is valued by being prompt with communication. This means responding to applications and candidate questions quickly.
  4. Get to know short-listed candidates and learn what is important to them; this will help tailor the interview process to the candidate and create a more personalized approach.
    Conversely, keeping in touch with candidates who may not have been short-listed will leave them with a positive impression of the organization and encourage them to apply again in the future.

A negative candidate experience can damage not just the recruiting process but can also have a domino effect on the success of the organization.

A study by CareerArc discovered that approximately 72% of surveyed job applicants told others about their negative candidate experience.

Word of mouth can spread quickly, but a negative post online with social media can go even further, reaching thousands or millions of people. This word of mouth could result in the loss of future applicants, or even future customers.

4. Hiring & On-boarding

When a candidate is chosen for a role, talent acquisition’s focus should be on facilitating a smooth integration into the company and its culture.

A well-structured program for hiring and on-boarding provides the tools and support necessary to help a new employee transition into the role.

The program should also be reflective of the company’s values.

5. Review

Finally, recruiting and hiring data can be used to improve the talent acquisition process.

Analytics are increasingly being used by organizations to measure the time it took to fill the position, the quality of hires, employee retention, and from where top talent was most sourced.

Analyzing the results of measured metrics can lead to greater insight on where to make future improvements or put focus.

Talent Acquisition Strategies

What are some ways that talent acquisition can be streamlined or improved?

Here are a few examples.

1. Leveraging technology

With the time constraints of the day, it might not always be possible for talent acquisition teams to sift through every single resume and networking site to find the right candidate.

The development of artificial Intelligence (AI) and automated technology can help talent acquisition teams quickly identify suitable candidates, preventing the chance of any top talent slipping through the cracks.

Pro: Automated scanning of large quantities of resume or profile data to identify candidates with the right skills can free up time, enabling talent acquisition teams to spend more time on building candidate relationships instead of looking for talent.

Con: Not all talent can be boiled down to the skills on a resume; delegating the sourcing of candidates to automated AI systems could mean that unique individuals with the qualities an organization needs are passed over.

2. Working with other departments

Connecting with the different departments in the organization can help talent acquisition teams discover what skills or knowledge gaps may exist. This can lead to the long-term planning required to fulfill these future needs.

As well, connecting with different departments can also improve the talent acquisition process, such as working with the marketing and sales department to improve the way talent acquisition teams pitch opportunities to potential candidates.

Pro: Involving other departments brings in new ideas and knowledge that can aid in improved talent acquisition initiatives.

Con: Heavy involvement from other departments could over complicate the search process and result in one department dominating over the other. Although marketing is important for talent acquisition, the process still needs to be maintained by human resources.

3. Having a marketing edge

A recruitment strategy that puts the candidate as the focus is very similar to how marketing puts the customer as the focus.

A best practice strategy is to treat potential candidates like customers.

This can be done by using marketing strategies, such as conducting market research on the type of talent you want, offering a value proposition to entice candidates, ensuring that brand visibility is strong, and moving quickly to close once a candidate has been chosen.

Pro: Treating candidates more like customers ensures that candidates feel like they are the priority in the talent acquisition process.

Con: Marketing can also seem gimmicky and fake if done improperly. This would not result in the best impression for candidates who are looking for a genuine place to commit their talents.

Talent Acquisition versus Recruitment

What is the difference between talent acquisition and recruitment?

Talent acquisition and recruitment both involve finding and hiring new employees but differ in their focus and approach.

Recruitment is a reactive response to an organization’s need to hire someone in the “now”; it is typically to fill a short-term, immediate need.

Talent acquisition, on the other hand, is a proactive response to an organization’s need for future talent; it is typically to fulfill the potential need for specialized roles, like technology or leadership-based roles, or for future skills that do not yet have roles.

There is also detailed strategy and planning involved before talent acquisition seeks out potential candidates, something that is lacking in general recruitment. Recruitment, however, is still a task that is part of the talent acquisition process, but not vice versa.