You wouldn’t be outside the norm if you thought that “talent acquisition” and “recruitment” were interchangeable. They both are in reference to hiring new employees, right?
Technically, yes. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the same thing.
There’s actually a pretty unique difference between the two and how businesses should approach them. Hiring managers will benefit tremendously by understanding what sets them apart.
What Is Recruitment?
Recruiting talent is an immediate response to a vacancy in a role. A team member leaves a position and someone must be found to replace them.
Basically, you’re looking to find available candidates to fill an available, already existing job.
What Is Talent Acquisition?
Acquiring talent is a process of hiring individuals who are specialists, executives, and experts in their field. It typically entails a great deal of research and planning so that a specific, needed position centered around an individual’s specific skill set can be built.
Talent acquisition is focused on building relationships, predicting future needs, and building a pool of candidates, rather than hiring the first qualified applicant to walk through the door.
Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment: What’s the Difference?
Largely, the difference lies in the intent of the search. Are you reacting to a vacancy or are you expanding your team because you’re growing?
There are a few more unique traits of their processes that separate the two.
There’s a considerable amount of research and strategy that goes along with talent acquisition.
While recruitment seeks to just fill a vacancy, acquisition means examining your business’ processes and needs. You’ll need to anticipate future workplace issues and take a more forward-thinking approach to hiring.
Recruiting talent requires a candidate to meet certain qualifications or have a specific amount of experience, but talent acquisition is a lot more comprehensive than that.
With acquisition, you need to research your talent sources and build relationships with potential candidates. It’s more about what they’ll bring to your company and how they’ll help your business develop than just if they can perform certain tasks.
Scoping out talent takes time and shouldn’t be rushed.
Linear vs. Cyclical
Because of the reactionary nature of recruitment, hiring in that fashion is often very linear. The goal is to minimize the time and cost of finding a candidate to fill a vacancy. The process starts when a position is opened and closed once it’s filled.
Talent acquisition is more of an ongoing cycle that considers branding, culture, networking, and outreach. There isn’t as great of a time pressure on acquisition as there is when recruiting, largely because there is a prioritization on building a relationship with potential candidates.
Hiring a Talent Acquisition Manager: What to Look For
Ironically, hiring a talent acquisition manager requires you to be as careful and mindful as you’re going to ask them to be when they’re considering candidates.
Besides looking at general industry qualifications and culture fit, there are a handful of traits that you want to search for in a hiring manager.
Top-Notch Communication Skills
This one seems a bit obvious, but we can’t stress enough how important this is. A truly great acquisition manager is able to attract and engage with high quality candidates, generate true interest in your company, and convince them that they’ll be valued if they come onboard.
Top talent has plenty of employment opportunities available to them, so it’s critical that your recruiter is able to communicate clearly in order to acquire new talent.
Think of it this way: if they can’t sell themselves to you, how are they going to sell potential candidates on joining your company?
An Organized Mentality
Hiring managers are the first point of contact for most potential candidates. That makes them an information resource as well.
To keep up with their questions and concerns during interviews, calls, and emails, the manager will need to be able to maintain a full library of knowledge about the company and the position in question. Often times, keeping up with all of it means maintaining a handbook or database to reference important details.
Avoid hiring an individual who can’t keep themselves organized or on top of their game and ready to meet every challenge and inquiry head on.
They’re representing your company to candidates. Don’t let first impressions land poorly.
Great Judgement and Instincts
There’s really no denying gut instinct. If you can find a talent manager who has a great read on character and personality, then value them.
The best recruiters have extraordinary instincts when it comes to finding talent. They’re great at sniffing out the candidates who will push your business forward with innovation and healthy disruption.
When considering a potential manager, you should factor in how much you trust them to find talented professionals who will bring something new to the table and push the needle for your teams.
Self-Sufficient and Self-Managing
Recruiters often operate within their own bubbles in the company. They exist in a world of meetings, calls, and interviews that must be juggled around several schedules at one time.
It’s because of that organized chaos that it’s important for a great recruiter to be able to manage their own time and guide their own work. They know how to prioritize their time and perform in a fast paced environment.
Often times, this is learned over years of experience, but there are cases where an individual is just really good at being self-sufficient and managing their own space.
Make sure that you hire a candidate who can not only balance their time and your company’s needs, but slam the ball out of the park.
10 Tips for Acquiring Top Talent for Your Company
We’ve established that talent acquisition is an investment of time and resources, but there are certain tricks of the trade that can help the process along. All of the effort is worth it in the end when you have a stellar team full of talented professionals.
1. Attend Networking Events.
Posting a job listing online is fine, but then you're left twiddling your thumbs, waiting for a response.
Sometimes you need to go to where the talent is instead of waiting for them to come to you. Head to candidate-specific events to network with local candidates. By sticking a toe into niche pools, you'll have a better chance of finding exactly who you're looking for.
2. Leverage Employee Referrals.
Your team has connections outside of your company and, chances are, they know some pretty qualified industry professionals.
Even if they don't know potential candidates personally, they may come across someone in their day to day activities that they think would make a great fit.
Encourage your staff to keep an eye and an ear out for individuals to fill certain positions. You can even offer referral incentives, like bonuses, if they bring in a candidate that joins the company.
3. Scout on Social Media.
Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are great sources of talent for hiring managers. You have direct access to viewing any applicable past experience and can even tap into groups that cater to the roles or skillsets you're scouting for.
You can even find your next hire on Twitter or Instagram by searching for specific hashtags or keywords. Surprising, we know.
4. Hire Internally.
Sometimes, exactly what you're looking for may be right under your nose. People are diverse and it's entirely possible that your team members have different skills that their current position doesn't necessarily call for.
By hiring internally, you uplift and empower your team while also saving time and resources on onboarding processes. They already know the company and the culture.
When new positions open up, it's not a bad idea to consider your existing team members for promotions or career shifts. Offer those opportunities to your staff and see who responds.
5. Host an Open House.
This strategy works in two different ways.
First, it ensures that those who attend have a genuine interest in joining your company. No one's going to take the time to attend an open house for a job that they're only mildly tempted by.
Second, it's an opportunity for face to face interactions for both parties. Candidates can come see the office, team, and get a feel for the company culture at the same time that you get to meet them in-person and see if they fit your business well.
6. Look Into Smart Ads.
Popular job boards, like Indeed and Craiglist, can be extremely cluttered and competitive. Smart advertising is a means of targeting specific demographics within specific talent sources.
You can buy particular keywords, like a position title, so that when someone searches for it on a job board, your listing appears at the top.
7. Assess Your Company Culture.
Taking stock on your culture will give you a chance to identify any gaps and improve your work environment so that it's appealing to potential candidates.
Gather feedback from your existing staff to find out what made your company attractive to them, what they enjoy about it now that they're on board, and where they feel like things could be better.
8. Look at Former Candidates.
Maybe they weren't the perfect fit for a specific role in the past, but you still really liked them. They fit your company, they were talented, and you saw a ton of potential in them.
You should never trash a candidate's profile just because you passed on them, especially if they fit the description above.
If you open a new opportunity that you think they'd be a great match for, you can open the door to them again and see if they're still interested in working with you.
If they haven't found other employment yet, then it's very possible that they'll be excited that you kept them in mind.
9. Optimize Your LinkedIn Page.
Your company's LinkedIn profile and pages can show up on search engine result pages based on the text.
Whenever someone looks for either your company or a position that you're looking to fill on Google, you want your details to rank.
To ensure it does, be sure to include a targeted main message, a description with relevant keywords, and list any "Company Specialties" that you feel are applicable.
10. Use Video Branding.
This is a great way to give candidates an inside look of "a day in the life" working at your company. Candidates appreciate being able to see what sort of business they're applying to and determine if its attractive or not to them.
Culture videos are pretty popular nowadays, where a quick, fun tour of the office and staff is recorded to highlight what it's like being employed by you.
Fortunately, with the power of modern day smartphones, it doesn't require a full professional videography team to capture this. Just a few volunteers from your staff, someone's phone camera, and some decent lighting.
When it comes down to it, recruiting new staff is a quick fix to filling vacancies. But if you're looking to add value and talent to your teams with the goal of developing your business in the future, talent acquisition is the way to go.
It may take a bit more time and a lot more attention, but the growth your company will experience from it is well worth the effort.