What is the difference between Talent Acquisition and Recruiting
Is Talent Acquisition and Recruiting the same thing? In the HR world these terms are used interchangeably, but in fact, there is a lot of difference between them.
The difference between Recruiting and Talent Acquisition is comparable to that between short-term action and long-term planning. Both approaches are used depending on the circumstances but the first (Recruiting) tends to be tactical, while the second (Talent Acquisition) is more strategic.
To better understand the terminology let’s look at the military lexicon from which it is borrowed. In the Wikipedia entry for ‘strategy’, it reads: “Strategy contrasts with tactics, which instead aim to plan the best single action and must take account of all the practical constraints and contingencies. In the military, strategy refers to operations aimed at achieving a long-term goal and on a large geographical scale, tactics instead refer to actions achieved in the short-term and generally take place on a smaller geographical scale.”
Why should a recruiter know the difference between Recruiting and Talent Acquisition?
It’s useful for those working in recruitment and in Recruitment Agencies to be aware of the difference and to understand the main workings of Talent Acquisition. A recruiter will acquire the basics of a strategic vision, thus overall improving their recruitment plan (even without a company defined Talent Acquisition plan). For a Recruitment Agency it’s important to understand the Talent Acquisition strategy of their clients, to improve the relationship with their client but also to obtain better results in the medium-long term (unfortunately this rarely happens, Recruitment Agencies are usually used as a quick solution to cover a vacancy).
Talent Acquisition vs. Recruiting; what’s the difference?
Recruiting has the objective to find a candidate to fill a vacant position. A Talent Acquisition strategy instead has the objective to find specialists, leaders and future employees for the business. Talent Acquisition tends to focus on long-term resource planning, to find candidates for positions that have a very specific skillset.
Long-term planning is driven by the facts: to cover specialist positions or leadership roles, often takes a long time. On average at least three months, but for some positions in highly technological sectors, it can be more than six months.
The approach for the two activities is really different. The Recruiting approach is typically aggressive, aiming to cover a vacancy as quickly as possible; Talent Acquisition instead requires a more thoughtful approach. The recruitment activities require a great deal of effort but for a limited time, consequently, recruitment costs tend to be high. To reduce costs, some companies try to restrict the amount of time put into the recruiting process, but this is generally tantamount to compromising the quality of applicants.
Talent Acquisition implies a more efficient process, centred on the candidates and, is comparatively simple (once the process has been set in place). The process is not linear, but cyclical: it isn’t designed to manage temporary staff requirements, but to look forward and lay the foundation for filling the same position in the future without too much difficulty.
Which is more useful, Talent Acquisition or Recruiting?
First of all, it’s necessary to clarify, Recruiting is a subset of Talent Acquisition and includes sourcing, CV screening, interviews, assessment, selection and hiring (and in some organisations the early stages of onboarding). There’s no Talent Acquisition without Recruiting but it is possible to do Recruiting without a clear Talent Acquisition strategy.
With this clarification, we can focus on a more specific question: When is it recommended to focus on recruiting tactics, regardless of Talent Acquisition? It depends on the context: in some highly competitive niche markets, it’s impossible not to have a Talent Acquisition strategy, for example in the fields of technology, sales, medical, legal and financial management. Securing the best talent in these fields has always been a struggle. Forbes reports that in 2016 alone there will be over one million jobs in cybersecurity.
If your company is expecting above average growth in the next few quarters then a talent Acquisition strategy could save you considerable time.
In summary, the decision to begin to put together a Talent Acquisition strategy is closely linked to two factors:
• The company’s forecast
• The level of competition for talent in the industry
The choice should also be made on the basis of the most ambitious recruitment objectives that your HR function has. Going back to the military lexicon, we can say that effective tactical Recruiting can help you win the battle to capture a candidate, but a good Talent Acquisition strategy will lead you to win the war for talent.
“In the land of the blind, he who has one eye is a king.”
In conclusion, we would like to make a suggestion: for SMEs, having a strategic vision of your recruitment can drive substantial savings and represent the first step in setting up a real Talent Acquisition strategy. Many In-recruiting customers have implemented this first step just by using our software: because the company begins to organize its database of CVs which is the property that represents a good solid starting point to reducing the time and cost of future staff selection.
Often, with Talent Acquisition, the important thing is to start, even in a small way, in order to obtain a competitive advantage as soon as possible, and then build up over time. In this case, the saying is relevant: “in the land of the blind, he who has one eye is a king.”