SmartRecruiters Blog

Talent Acquisition vs. Recruiting in 2022

Traditional recruitment is in crisis, with many turning to talent acquisition instead. But if talent acquisition is to be more than another corporate buzzword, it’s essential to properly understand the difference between recruitment and talent acquisition.

We’re all familiar with the approach to recruitment in which candidates are sourced, scrutinized, and then passed off to hiring managers. The role of the recruiter usually stops there, and fails to take into consideration what comes next. To a large extent, this explains why the old models of recruitment now offer diminishing returns.

Over two-thirds of HR leaders say that employee onboarding is underutilized in their companies, which can seriously undermine staff retention. Poor management makes employees more likely to quit, and employees who feel under-appreciated are twice as likely to look for employment elsewhere. 

These lapses in workplace judgement, could very well be to blame for phenomena like workplace ghosting, where employees simply fail to turn up at all. Such developments point to a breakdown in the way that employer-employee relations begin, develop, and are handled over time.

What’s the solution? Talk of a new concept called talent acquisition has started to echo through corporate boardrooms worldwide. 

But what exactly is talent acquisition and how is it different from recruitment?

To understand this, we should first refresh our knowledge on what traditional recruitment involves. 

What Is Recruitment?

Recruitment is the process of searching for, evaluating and hiring experienced and qualified people to fill an existing vacancy at a company or organization. It usually follows a specific, pre-defined recruitment process that is highly standardized and typically implemented in periods of expansion or due to staff turnover.

Lots of factors influence the specific rhythms and cycles of recruitment in various workplaces. Staff turnover figures from 2017 show that the events and publishing sector had the highest rates of turnover, while general management and admin had the lowest.

Recruitment is an absolute fundamental of running any business, but it is essentially a short-term process that seeks to fill a company’s immediate needs. So how is talent acquisition different?

What Is Talent Acquisition?

Talent acquisition is similar to recruitment in the sense that it shares the same aim of finding the best people to work for your company. But whereas recruitment tends to be a very standardized, reactive process, talent acquisition is all about the long game of your company. It involves a more flexible and dynamic approach from your recruitment team and a broad understanding of the long-term strategic aims of your business.

What Is the Difference Between the Two?

Recruitment is an action… a tactical process to solve an immediate problem. Talent acquisition is a strategy, an ongoing process of making your company the most attractive place for quality talent, while ensuring you make use of the many avenues through which new talent can be sourced. 

Here are some key ways talent acquisition seeks to expand your recruitment horizons…

Networking: You have to be connected in your industry; attend relevant industry events and networking sessions, build diverse social networks online.

Referrals: Nearly half of businesses report that the most quality hires come from referrals from existing employees, so make sure you have an attractive employee referral program in place.

Career sites and job boards: An oldie, but a goodie. They’re still important to use so take the time to research the best jobs boards for your sector. 

Social media: Ignoring social media and its recruitment potential will lead to your peril.  LinkedIn is still the biggest online recruiting tool after your company website. Sites like Twitter and Facebook are also important. 

Brand marketing. Talent acquisition means you need to make your company the most attractive place for talent to work. Enhancing your brand imaging can help your company secure its reputation as the hot place for talent to be. 

Is Talent Acquisition More Important Than Recruitment?

There are cases where  a traditional recruitment strategy may work for you ,but data has shown that a majority of recruiters struggle to get the best people to fill their vacancies. In the UK, 90% of employers are struggling to fill roles.

Talent acquisition goes far beyond the mere tactical approach of recruitment. Similar to the process of learning how to be a good manager, learning how to implement a talent acquisition strategy is about coming to understand the true value of your employees. 

When you hire, you’re investing in people, but all too often it can be seen as just another costly expense. This can encourage employers to cut corners and see recruitment as a mechanical process that never changes.

Talent acquisition is about being aware of current staffing trends, the state of the workforce, and using that insight to attract vital talent.

For example, research has shown that over half of Americans are quitting their current jobs right now. A talent acquisition strategy would prevent this by anticipating and identifying the reasons employees might be tempted to leave your company, and addressing those issues so that the recruitment team isn’t hiring due to a lack of awareness in foresight in your organization.

Furthermore, most business owners don’t know why their employees leave. The majority of them think that it’s all about money, but it’s not. In fact, only 12% of employees leave because of the money

One problem is that employers don’t conduct exit interviews to find out the real reasons why people quit. An effective talent acquisition strategy—one that views the candidate/employee experience holistically—would do so, and pose the following questions in an exit interview.  

  • How could we have made your time with our company better?
  • What measures can we put into place to keep current and future employees happy?

Your relationship to candidates and potential employees doesn’t end once they sign their contract. As with every relationship, its success is predicated upon empathy, understanding, and an ability to learn from one’s mistakes.

Employers who implement a talent acquisition strategy realize that recruitment is not just about scrutinizing candidates to see if they’re right for your company, it’s also about convincing potential talent that you are the right company to meet their career expectations.

Izaak Crook

Izaak Crook is the Head of Marketing at AppInstitute.