The Importance of Talent Acquisition and How It Differs from Recruitment

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Anyone involved in high-level decision making within a company is familiar with the process of recruiting new talent. While recruitment can be painstaking, a solid talent acquisition strategy can both improve the process and make it less stressful. Whether or not you have goals to be a recruiter or talent acquisition manager, you’ll want to make sure you have a firm grasp of the finer points of both of these crucial processes. 

This blog post will help you understand what talent acquisition is, how it differs from and entails recruitment, and how you can construct a reliable talent acquisition process that will make your recruitment efforts efficient and effective.

The Difference Between Recruitment and Talent Acquisition

An informative blog post from In-recruiting makes use of an elegant analogy to explain the difference between recruitment and talent acquisition: it likens recruitment to tactics and talent acquisition to strategy. Following the military terminology, tactical decisions are made in the best interests of the short term. Strategy, however, is all about long term goals. Simply put, recruitment is the process by which companies fill vacant positions with new talent. Good recruiters do what they can to pull the best talent available from a limited pool of applicants. Talent acquisition aims to ensure that this pool of applicants is as strong as it can be.

When recruiting, companies sift through job applications and resumes, often utilizing job search platforms like Monster and Indeed. Applicants are sourced and interviewed, and candidates are hired to fill vacant positions. Talent acquisition goals are broader and meant to enhance the recruitment process. According to Smart Recruiters, “effective talent acquisition professionals” have a variety of concerns, such as “sourcing strategies, candidate assessment, compliance and hiring standards, and fluency in employment branding practices and corporate hiring initiatives.” Diversity is also an important cornerstone of talent acquisition, and when the process is properly managed, it can ensure that a company’s roster is more healthily varied than recruitment alone.

The Talent Acquisition Process

HR Technologist identifies five steps to the talent acquisition process:

  • Inbound marketing
  • Outbound marketing
  • Filtering and selection
  • Conversion and onboarding
  • Continuous improvement

The first three are steps your company should take prior to hiring. Solid inbound marketing involves matters like running successful recruitment campaigns and crafting a unique employer brand that will attract talent. 

Outbound marketing is aimed outside the company — things like active scouting, social media, and job ads play a significant role in this step of the process. 

Filtering and selection are all about making sure the right candidates apply for jobs with your company, and this is an area in which talent acquisition and recruitment work hand in hand. A major part of the recruitment process is evaluating candidates based on education, prior work experience, and the intangible qualities that make for that perfect fit for your company. But narrowing your focus to make sure you hire the right talent is important to do before the hiring practice. 

For example, far too many job ads are vague about what qualifications the position requires. If your job ads list the precise educational and work experience requirements you need, you’re less likely to have to sort through a high number of applications that aren’t the right fit.

Conversion and onboarding obviously occur after the initial hiring phase, but this step is as meaningful as the ones that precede it. Not only is it important for new recruits to receive the training they need to perform effectively at their jobs, but it’s also crucial for them to enjoy their workplace and job as much as they can. The phenomenon of “workplace ghosting” (candidates who don’t show up to scheduled interviews, don’t arrive on the first day of work or even quit without giving notice) is reportedly on the rise, to the extent that the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago noted it as a problem in their December 2018 Beige Book, a report of employment trends. While the most tangible and understandable reason for workplace ghosting is an abusive atmosphere, Sue Shellenbarger reports for The Wall Street Journal that another common reason is simply a feeling of being overwhelmed. No company wants to be the kind of employer that belittles or abuses its talent. But it’s also important to make sure your candidates’ transition into employment is comfortable and that there are plenty of opportunities for them to acclimate with the workplace culture.  It is equally important that employers strive to hire individuals who are a good match to the company’s culture from the start.

Finally, while it may seem obvious, many talent acquisition strategies fail because they do not continuously improve. Ensuring a smooth talent acquisition process requires a lot of trial and error and learning from mistakes. Check out this article from Forbes for ideas on how to improve your talent acquisition process.

Tips for Effective Talent Acquisition

There are plenty of ways talent acquisition can go wrong. Aman Brar, writing for The Balance Careers, identifies various obstacles to effective talent acquisition, including personal bias and failing to appeal to younger candidates. In addition to avoiding mistakes such as these, you’ll want to treat your potential employees with the value they deserve and design a system for talent acquisition that is efficient and up-to-date. While this may require some in-depth work, keep in mind that sometimes simple solutions are the best ones. Small refinements to your application and employment processes — such as making sure you have a good system in place for filing resumes and applications — can be an important piece to a sound talent acquisition strategy.

There are also a lot of new developments in the HR Technology space, including artificial intelligence, to help address issues like bias, as well as increase general efficiency.  HR leaders need to stay abreast of these new applications and if they can be utilized by their organization.

For more talent acquisition tips, here’s a great list of talent acquisition tips written by Maribel Lopez for Forbes. She emphasizes the importance of utilizing digital technology and data analytics, as well as making sure that your recruitment efforts appropriately reflect your brand as an employer.


Hopefully, you’ll finish reading this with a deeper understanding of recruitment and talent acquisition, the difference between the two, and the significant role both processes play in ensuring your company has the best talent it can possibly have. An effective talent acquisition manager knows that the hiring world is very different than it has been in the past. Maintaining a strong talent acquisition strategy that informs the recruitment process and constantly improves upon itself is more important than ever.

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