What is talent acquisition

What is talent acquisition

Talent acquisition is the process by which an employer finds and obtains potential candidates. It is often confused with recruitment, but there are main differences between them, and they should not be used as synonyms.

What is talent acquisition

Talent acquisition is the process of finding and acquiring skilled human labor for organizational needs and to meet any labor requirement. Talent acquisition is a process that goes beyond filling the position, and can be defined as a strategic method to recruit, select and onboard the best talents.

A Strategic Talent acquisition helps companies to create pipelines and forecast talents needs for the future. This process has a lot of benefits, like: helping organizations, developing relationships with talents, create competitive advantage and improve quality of hire. The Talent acquisition team is responsible for finding, assessing, and hiring candidates to fill roles that are needed to meet company goals.


Talent acquisition vs Recruitment

Talent acquisition and recruitment are often used as synonyms, and thought as the same exact thing. But, actually, they are not. Understanding the differences between them will be useful if you want to be a top talent acquisition specialist. So, the difference is:

  • Recruitment: the linear process that involves searching for a candidates to fill a position with a candidate. It is a reactive process, and its mission is to find candidates for existing and currently available jobs. This approach is typically more aggressive, and aims at covering vacancy quite fast. The recruitment activities require a great deal of effort but for a limited time, consequently, recruitment costs tend to be high. Recruiting is a subset of Talent acquisition, and includes the activities of sourcing, screening, interviewing, assessing, selecting and hiring. In some organizations this extends to the early stages of onboarding, which then becomes a shared responsibility between HR and the hiring manager, with support from the learning organization.


  • Talent acquisition: it is a cyclical approach, that builds up relationship, anticipate future needs and create a wide range of candidates. It is strategic, and has not just the aim of finding a candidate, but of finding specialists, leaders and future employees. Talent acquisition focuses on long-term resource planning, on average that lasts around 3-6 months. This process is more efficient, centered on the candidates, and quite simple. Talent acquisition includes recruiting, but it includes also Talent Acquisition Planning & Strategy, Workforce Segmentation, Employment Branding, Candidate Audiences, Candidate Relationship Management and Metrics and Analytics.

Talent acquisition process

The 5 Step Talent Acquisition Process is critical, but quite simple: generate leads, perform a behavioral interview, administer assessment tools and exercises, verify references, and make a final selection. It is a process that can take a long time (weeks or even months) to fill a single spot, which can cost your company a lot of money if not completed in a timely manner. Talent acquisition is a very demanding process, competitive, and intensive. Not only can it free up your human resources team to properly engage and guide existing employees, it can also save money (a lot of money).

The secret to create a successful and efficient process, is to create a “lean” one. A lean talent acquisition process is about increasing efficiency, decreasing time waste, and using empirical methods to decide what matters, rather than accepting pre-existing ideas. The goal? It is to improve quality of hired people, and identify the ones that have the best skills and abilities, by eliminating waste. Who is in charge of the process, needs to understand when the candidate pool is optimal, make quick decisions, and reduce total costs (lower administration burden, reduction in safety incidents, decreased absenteeism, and improved retention).

Talent acquisition is becoming a unique a professional specialized in candidate assessment, employment branding practices and corporate hiring initiatives. The more global organizations have the need to recruit the most special person they could find, the more they also need a profile that craft the company message around the approach the company takes to hiring and the ongoing development of employees.

The unique needs of large companies to attract and recruit the best talent lead to the development of a unique talent acquisition practice and career. It is different from recruitment, because this last one is a linear process, that has not the aim of finding the best specialist, but only to fill a position in a short amount of time.

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