Talent acquisition: A definition

In recent years, the recruitment process and recruiting teams have undergone a makeover of sorts. New terms, such as "talent acquisition" or "human capital management" have emerged as a different way of talking about the recruiting process.

I've read a few articles about the difference between recruiting and talent acquisition. And many have pointed out that simply changing a title or department name really doesn't do much to improve the process. In reality, for some, talent acquisition is simply a more elaborate name or a more progressive way to refer to what many see as just-plain-old recruiting.

So, what is talent acquisition and how does it differ from recruiting? I think the difference is that talent acquisition defines a cycle and a related set of processes that are intended to continually raise the bar on the level of talent coming into an organization.

That said, I would define talent acquisition in the following way:

Talent acquisition is the ongoing cycle of processes related to attracting, sourcing, recruiting, and hiring (or placing) employees within an organization. This includes elements of employment branding, outreach, networking, and relationship building with potential candidate communities to continually build and enhance the talent pool for an organization.

By defining it like this, you take into consideration all of the things that must be done to contribute to finding talent, either through direct efforts such as recruiting, or indirect efforts such as employment branding and networking.

In addition, defining it as a cycle introduces the concept that the processes are connected and interrelated, rather than isolated events. This is especially important with networking and employee referral efforts that have historically resulted in better quality candidates and hires.

Therefore, this means that those involved in talent acquisition and management should take a holistic look at how candidates find and interact with your company, how your company engages them, and what makes your company a desirable employer. This includes leveraging relatively new tools, such as social networking and mobile recruiting, to increase the reach of your recruiting messages. It also gives a nod to efforts to make your company an employer of choice.

Whether you agree that talent acquisition is a new concept or just recycled, today's recruiting challenges mean that having a solid talent acquisition strategy, no matter what you call it, is critical to getting the right talent into your organization.


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