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Talent Acquisition

What is Talent Acquisition?

Talent acquisition is defined as the process of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding new employees. Talent acquisition is a larger strategy that is designed to do more than just fill open roles. Its purpose is to find and hire candidates with specific skills who are likely to be high performers and longtime employees. Talent acquisition is often a function of human resources but can be its own team or department at larger companies.

Why is Talent Acquisition Strategy Important?

Talent acquisition strategy is important because companies need qualified, skilled, engaged employees in order to be successful. Recruiting and hiring without a strategy can lead to higher turnover, decreased productivity, and low employee morale. Bad hiring decisions are also expensive — employee turnover can cost as much as two times the role’s salary, and $1,500 on average for hourly positions.

On the other hand, a talent acquisition strategy leads to higher retention and more productive, engaged employees. It allows HR teams to:

  • Make informed hiring decisions based on attributes of successful candidates
  • Contribute to company goals for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
  • Keep vacancies low and hire consistently
  • Forecast growth and spot seasonal trends
  • Plan for future hiring needs

What Do Talent Acquisition Teams Do?

Talent acquisition teams' duties include creating job descriptions, managing job posts, conducting candidate screenings, scheduling interviews, sending offers, and more.

Roles on the team may include:

  • Candidate Sourcer: Finds qualified candidates and new candidate sources
  • Recruiter: Contacts, screens, interviews, and negotiates with job seekers
  • Recruiting Coordinator: May also act as a candidate sourcer; Handles recruiting processes including writing job descriptions, managing job board posts, scheduling interviews, and conducting background checks
  • Talent Acquisition Specialist: Handles all or a variety of talent acquisition tasks, including sourcing and screening
  • Talent Acquisition Business Analyst: Helps streamline processes; Analyzes headcount trends and other recruiting data to forecast future hiring needs

Roles and duties vary depending on lots of factors, like the industry, company size, and hiring demand. Teams may be made up of specialists who focus on one or a few specific tasks, or generalists whose duties cover multiple roles. For example, larger companies may have several dedicated candidate sourcers. At smaller companies, recruiters often act as their own sourcer and coordinator.

Talent Acquisition Software

No matter the size of the company, talent acquisition software can help with tons of recruiting and hiring tasks. It can act as a recruiting coordinator, candidate database, communications manager, and business analyst.

Today’s Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are equipped with valuable features that can power more efficient, effective talent acquisition processes:

  • Job board management for multiple platforms and posts
  • Mobile responsive and text message applications
  • Texting tools for recruiters, including bulk candidate texting and text message templates
  • Integrations with LinkedIn Recruiter and LinkedIn Apply Connect
  • Easy virtual interview scheduling
  • Interview question guides and scorecards
  • Talent pipeline management
  • Talent acquisition analytics

Answer questions — or uncover unseen issues — about talent acquisition processes with recruiting software, including:

  • How much is cost-per-hire on average?
  • Why was the hiring process for Candidate A only four days while Candidate B’s was 19 days for the same role?
  • What’s causing abnormally high new hire turnover in the finance department?

What’s the Difference Between Talent Acquisition and Recruitment?

In HR, recruiting is about finding candidates and filling open positions. Talent acquisition is a larger strategy that encompasses recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes. It’s a long-term plan for finding and hiring best-fit candidates with high retention potential. Talent acquisition specialists look for candidates who have the skills to be successful in the role today and the potential for growth within the company.

Talent acquisition teams handle administrative and strategic recruiting and hiring work:

  • Finding reliable candidate sources
  • Creating a positive candidate experience
  • Ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion in recruiting and hiring processes
  • Establishing an employer brand
  • Sourcing candidates
  • Screening candidates
  • Scheduling interviews
  • Sending offer letters
  • Building diverse talent pipelines
  • Engaging past applicants
  • Kicking off new hire onboarding
  • Aligning talent acquisition team goals with business objectives
  • Creating career paths
  • Predicting future hiring needs
  • Analyzing recruiting and hiring data

Recruiting without an effective talent acquisition strategy can lead to less-than-ideal outcomes:

  • Disengaged candidates
  • Increased hiring costs
  • Low employee retention, especially among new hires
  • Slow hiring processes or inconsistent time-to-hire
  • Missed opportunities to hire top talent
  • New hires that are unprepared or lack the necessary skills
  • Hiring managers and teams spend lots of time ramping new employees
  • Understaffed departments that have trouble reaching goals

Talent Acquisition vs. Talent Management

Talent acquisition refers to just the very first part of the employee lifecycle while talent management refers to the entire lifecycle. Companies need strategies for both to successfully hire, engage, and retain A Players.

In addition to recruiting and onboarding, talent management includes:

  • Performance management: Goal-setting, performance reviews, giving recognition and feedback, and providing development opportunities
  • Employee engagement: Recognizing employees’ accomplishments and achievements, asking employees for their thoughts and opinions, and helping employees stay motivated and connected to their work
  • Workforce planning: Analyzing headcount trends and making predictions about future hiring needs based on existing employee data and company goals