The world of recruitment is abundant with terms such as HR management, talent management, recruitment, talent sourcing and finally talent acquisition. To an outsider, they probably all mean one and the same thing – hiring.
Let us go into the notion of talent acquisition – why it’s perhaps the most important from the bunch, how it’s different from recruitment and why it’s an imperative for a successful HR strategy.
What is talent acquisition?
Talent acquisition is a continuous process of employee recruitment, selection and onboarding. Using talent acquisition, organizations can successfully create strategies for hiring and establish hiring pipelines that go beyond filling a single opening. In other words, it entails long-term planning for a company’s future hiring needs.
What is the difference between talent acquisition and recruitment?
On the face of it, the two terms may seem synonymous, but they are vastly different. First off, recruitment means finding a person to fill a specific opening. As such, recruitment is short-term, while talent acquisition means thinking about a company’s hiring needs months and years ahead. Essentially, recruitment is more practical in nature, while talent acquisition is strategic.
Why is talent acquisition important?
As a long-term hiring strategy, talent acquisition is important for several reasons. First of all, it ensures that a company thinks of hiring as an ongoing process instead of a short-term fix. Second, it allows companies to create a hiring pipeline and establish processes and procedures that are scalable and repeatable. Finally, it allows thinking beyond a single role and instead thinking of long-term potentials for a candidate’s growth within the company.
The elements of talent acquisition
As mentioned, talent acquisition is a long-lasting, strategic process that can take up to several months. It involves a range of processes, and here are some of the main to have in mind when setting up your talent acquisition strategy.
Unlike recruitment, talent acquisition is a long-term process, which means thinking about more than filling a single opening. If you’re in HR, work with the company management to predict their needs for new talent in the upcoming months and years. Once you know your target audience, you can focus your talent acquisition on this demographic.
As we’ve written extensively, employer branding is crucial for attracting top talent and building a long-term talent acquisition strategy. Employer branding encompasses a broad range of activities – and you can learn more about it from this guide on our blog.
From crafting an immaculate job ad, to presenting your company on social media, staying present on platforms such as GitHub and visiting industry events and conferences, it’s up to your team to build a large pool of qualified candidates. The larger your database of potential hires, the easier it will be to fill new positions as they come up.
Often neglected by many recruiters, this is one of the key steps to ensuring that only the highest quality candidates make it to the final rounds of the hiring process. If you rely heavily on resumes (which we strongly discourage), make sure to check each reference to see whether the candidate actually walks the walk.
It’s time to sit down and have a chat with a handful of your best candidates. This is a prime opportunity to find out more about candidates’ skills, if you haven’t done it already using a solution like Hundred5.
As mentioned in our previous article, make sure to have an interview script with a range of questions ready for each candidate. Start with general questions to break the ice and move on to skill-specific questions (about previous jobs/projects) and those revolving around company culture fit. You only have about 30-60 minutes per candidate, so make sure to use them well.
Once you’ve nailed down your top candidates, the hardest part is making that final choice of one person to fill the opening. There are two reasons why selecting candidates is difficult. The first one is lack of an internal process for HR teams where candidates are evaluated based on a set system of values.
The second issue is that upper management staff needs to be involved in the decision -making process – and they don’t have the time for it. To make candidate selection simple and efficient, ensure that there’s an established internal system that is easy to access for everyone in the company.
It’s not often mentioned as part of a recruiter’s job, but onboarding is the last step of talent acquisition, and one of the most important. Before making any new hires, ensure that the company’s onboarding processes are documented and established. The reason? Poor onboarding can dramatically hurt your candidates’ experience and it’s one of the reasons why they quit soon after being hired.
Do you need a talent acquisition person or a team?
If you’re a startup CEO with a handful of core employees, you probably don’t have the capacity to hire an entire team for talent acquisition. However, if you run a company with an HR team, it’s a good time to start thinking about talent acquisition alongside recruitment.
If you don’t think you will need to hire more people in your company’s future, it’s perfectly fine to delegate the acquisition process to a single person. However, if you’re looking to fill a large number of roles in the years to come, you probably want to put a team in charge of your talent acquisition.
As unemployment rates drop to historical lows and the demand for new talent rises (especially in fields such as IT), companies with strong talent acquisition strategies will have the upper hand when it comes to hiring and attracting new talent.
Processes like building an employer brand take significant time and manpower and it’s better to have a team dedicated to them. Combined with other efforts such as sourcing, interviewing and onboarding and it’s clear that it’s desirable to have a team for talent acquisition.
Although recruitment and talent acquisition are fairly different, successful companies need to focus on both to build a sustainable candidate pipeline. By focusing on both aspects of hiring, companies ensure that they fill their immediate vacancies and build a sustainable growth strategy for the future.