Recruitment vs Talent Acquisition. What is the Difference?

By Chapple

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There is a fundamental difference between recruitment and talent acquisition but the fact that they do so often get mixed up perhaps goes some way to explain why so many companies are currently suffering from an acute talent shortage. So, what is the difference? Recruiting is a part of talent acquisition (TA), when there is an immediate need within the company to fill a vacancy. It is often the knee-jerk response to losing a member of staff and setting in place a system to directly replace the person who has left. 

Strategic talent acquisition takes a much longer-term view of identifying future business needs and building a candidate talent pool for the future. This may include roles that don’t yet exist but using predictive analytics and industry experience, the future talent requirements of the business can be planned for, and potential candidates identified ahead of an immediate need.

Talent acquisition professionals are usually skilled not only in standard recruitment techniques, but also in employment branding practices and strategic corporate hiring initiatives including metrics & analytics to ultimately make better recruitment decisions, to improve and ‘future-proof’ the workforce.

As a function, talent acquisition has become closely aligned with marketing and PR as well as Human Resources as effective talent acquisition requires well thought out corporate messaging around hiring and talent development. The employer brand therefore encompasses not only the procurement of talent, but also defines the approach to corporate employee development.

If recruitment is a part of talent acquisition, so too is TA part of a wider talent management strategy that includes leadership development, employee engagement, career management and learning & development amongst others. According to a global survey by Halogen and Cranfield University, rather shockingly, less than half of respondents had a talent management strategy at all and 29% said that while they had a strategy, it wasn’t working well. However, almost a third of respondents stated that they would like to introduce a strategy within the next two years. Is this a case of too little too late?

The results of their survey do seem to suggest that if organisations do not take more immediate action, key staff will inevitably leave due to frustration at the lack of training or opportunities for advancement and, instead of a neat and well organised talent acquisition strategy, there will be a disruption to performance and customer service while they struggle to fill urgent vacancies in an already shallow talent pool.

A great example of talent acquisition done well is Accenture who was awarded The Personnel Today Award for Innovation in Recruitment in 2014 for doubling its amount of hires after the introduction of new technology. In 2013, Accenture embarked on a major change programme that altered the structure of the organisation which then meant the need to recruit for roles that hadn’t existed before, such as big data consultants, and they needed to beat competitors to highly sought after digital talent.

You can read the full details of what Accenture’s Talent Acquisition Strategy here, but essentially, they adopted a completely new visionary strategy to reach the talented individuals they were looking for and communicated with them using technology and platforms these key individuals were comfortable using in their everyday lives such as iPads, Xbox controllers, Twitter and Facebook. Accenture, by effectively speaking the candidate’s language, engaged with and tapped in to the specific talent pool they were after.

The end result was they hired 42 of the 400 people who attended the special events, (a higher ratio than CV-to-hire model), one in every six candidates was hired (compared with 1 in 20 previously) and they achieved more than double the number of hires compared to the previous year. 

E.ON, a runner up in the same award category needed to persuade a new generation of graduates to consider a career with the company in the highly competitive graduate market and the company knew they needed to offer something that stood out.

Some of the strategies they used included inviting students into “The room of the future”, an immersive experience where students were invited to play their part in changing energy supply for the better, they created a supported media strategy, spanning student publications and job boards and redesigned the graduate recruitment site to bring everything in line with core concept, including videos from the current graduate intake.

The results were impressive, attracting 1,500 more applications in the space of three months than previous campaign had in six months, all 45 graduate places were filled, and additional graduates were recruited into other roles and they regained entry into The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers.

In these times of acute talent shortages, organisations need to adopt both short- and long-term strategies to embed a talent management plan that includes recruitment at the sharp end and talent acquisition plans at corporate level. The future success of all organisations, large or small, now depends on it.

At Chapple we specialize in sourcing candidates in external and internal communications, employee engagement, change and business transformation roles.

Contact us on 020 7734 8209 for more information about how we can help you find the right people for your business.


About the company...

At Social Hire, we don't just do social media.

Our specialists are a team that assists our partners improve their presence online by giving online marketing on a regular basis.

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