The Difference Between Recruitment Strategies and Talent Acquisition (and Why it Matters)

Recruitment strategies are the short view; talent acquisition takes the longer route. Although they’re sometimes used interchangeably, they’re not the same thing at all. The differences might seem subtle on the surface. But underneath, there’s a world of difference.

If there’s a talent shortage, recruitment is usually only a quick fix. Think of it as procurement. For long-term results, the much broader goal of talent acquisition saves time and resources, and it helps you build the strongest team with less effort.

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Talent Acquisition is Proactive

The proactive stance puts you in better control of a situation. That’s what talent acquisition does. As it applies to keeping positions filled with the right people, it means dipping into readily-available talent. That saves time, and it also produces more predictable and reliable results.

Some companies with historically high turnover might think talent acquisition takes too much time. It’s easier to post a job ad. For example, fast food industries are known for an ever-cycling group of employees.

But Chick-fil-A executive, Dee-Ann Turner, tells Jobvite, “All talent markets need a talent acquisition strategy. At any given time, some markets might be “hotter” than others, but the best organizations are projecting future needs and are always scouting the best talent.”

Recruitment Strategies are Reactive

On the opposite side of the hiring coin is recruitment. When a position opens up, you need a person to fill it ASAP. That’s reactive to the situation, and it can also lead to poor hires.

The problem is that recruitment strategies aren’t forward-thinking. Each one focuses on filling an open job. So each time there is a vacancy, the whole search begins anew.

For positions that are harder to fill, recruitment is even less effective. Ryan Naylor of tells Jobvite, “It’s important to project three to six months ahead of when you need to fill leadership and specialty positions. Many tech positions take six months or longer to fill. If your company is awarded a new client and you need to deliver the work ASAP, it can be tough to recruit for those positions in short turn around.”

Shifting Away From a Recruitment-Only Approach

Talent acquisition is an ongoing process that reaches out to include candidates who aren’t looking for work at all. But that makes sense because top talent doesn’t often go unemployed for long.

The chance of your ideal candidate being unemployed at the moment when you have the perfect vacancy is virtually nonexistent. But if you use resources to build relationships, you’ll have an “in” when the opportunity arrives to tempt them away.

Jobvite says getting started is a three-step effort. Get organized, improve your employer brand and start sourcing. Weave in candidate matching and programmatic job ad placement, and you could dramatically improve hiring.

Talent acquisition is all about long-term efficiency and effectiveness. It takes more effort to get off the ground than placing one job ad. But instead of continuing a history of one ad after another, you could be cultivating a thriving talent community that’s robust and ripe for picking when you need it.

Talent acquisition is the future of hiring, both literally and figuratively.

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