Many people think that the terms recruitment and talent acquisition are synonymous, but companies who keep an eye on the big picture know there’s an important difference between the two. Recruitment and talent acquisition are comparable to short-term and long-term—quick fixes versus long-term planning. Both approaches may be used depending on the circumstances, but one tends to be tactical in nature and the other, strategic.
Internal hiring managers can improve overall recruitment planning with a basic understanding of the strategic nature of talent acquisition. Independent recruiters can likewise improve relationships with employers by better understanding the unique role that acquisition plays in helping a company achieve its strategic vision.
Recruitment vs. Talent Acquisition
Recruitment is about filling vacancies. Talent acquisition is an ongoing strategy to find specialists, leaders, or future executives for your company. Talent acquisition tends to focus on long-term human resources planning and finding appropriate candidates for positions that require a very specific skillset.Companies must ask themselves which positions will be difficult to fill when a vacancy comes up (as it inevitably will, eventually). Niche markets, technology skills, highly specific experience, and leadership roles call for a thoughtful, long-term approach to talent acquisition.
Should Your Company Be Recruiting or Acquiring?
Some of the niche markets that may call for talent acquisition strategies include technology, medicine, law, and financial management.If your company expects faster than normal growth for the next several quarters, then a talent acquisition strategy can save you a great deal of time finding people to lead that growth forward.A robust talent acquisition strategy will benefit any organization to the degree that you hire. If your industry is characterized by high rates of turnover, your co-workers may visibly see your stress level decrease with a move to talent acquisition strategies. If you only hire once every other year, that process can be easier and more effective with a talent acquisition plan in place.
How to Move Beyond Recruitment to Acquire Top Talent
Attracting the best and brightest employees to your company isn’t a one-time only event. It is a continuous process. Companies that are serious about their long-term futures should be continually networking and building relationships with individuals who are at the top of their fields. Some day, they may wish to court them as potential employees.
How do you get started? Setting up a talent acquisition program is a big project, but it’s worth the effort. Take it one step at a time:
- Get organized.—How are you going to keep track of the talent you find and the resources you’re using? A small company with only a few positions may be able to keep track of everything in well organized spreadsheets. If your company is larger, or growing steadily, you’ll want to start shopping for specialized software.
- Improve your employer brand.—As you connect with top talent in your industry, you can be sure they’re going to look up your company. Make sure your website and social profiles speak to your target audience and prospective future employees.
- Start sourcing talent.—Identify social networks and communities forums where specialists in your industry gather. LinkedIn Groups are popular with professionals, marketers like Twitter, and everyone is on Facebook. Start building relationships with a follow, retweet, conversation, etc.
Schedule time daily or weekly for acquisition activities, networking, and outreach to potential candidates. You will very quickly start building relationships and filling in detailed profiles on top talent.