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Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment Strategies: What Do Organizations Need?

It’s no secret that the search for skilled talent remains top of mind for HR leaders today. According to McKinsey Research, 87% of organizations currently have a skills gap or are expecting to have one within the next few years. This is where talent acquisition can be of significant advantage – a long-term strategy that focuses on attracting, sourcing, nurturing, and retaining the best talent to help grow the business.

While talent acquisition and recruitment ultimately have the same goal of filling open positions, they both have different approaches and key differences. Organizations often focus on traditional recruitment strategies to fill positions quickly and efficiently. However, these strategies tend to fall short when it comes to strategic workforce planning and future-proofing organizations.

Understanding the key differences and benefits of these two approaches enables HR leaders to focus on strategies that best fit the needs of the business.

What is Talent Acquisition and What Makes it Different from Recruitment?

Talent acquisition is a long-term strategy that encompasses the complete process of finding top-quality candidates – from identifying an organization’s current and future talent gaps, attracting talent, filling critical positions, and retaining highly-skilled people.

Recruitment, on the other hand, is a short-term strategy that is focused on filling vacancies at any given time. It is often a stop-start process that begins when a position becomes or is expected to be vacant and ends when it is filled.

As opposed to recruitment, talent acquisition is an ongoing strategy that goes beyond simply filling an open vacancy – it spends more time finding the best candidates with the right skills to build and sustain a long-lasting and successful career within the organization.

Talent acquisition is a strategic approach to identifying, assessing, and acquiring new employees for a company. Unlike general recruitment, which sometimes values quantity over quality, talent acquisition is a carefully curated process that businesses rely on in order to find the very best fit for their team. – Forbes

Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment Strategies: What Do Organizations Need?


  • Short-term – emphasis on filling immediate vacancies
  • Regular recruitment and volume hiring, usually for entry-level roles
  • Can be deployed immediately – recruiters always hire for positions that are always needed, so recruiting tactics are deployed on the get-go

Talent acquisition:

  • Long-term – talent acquisition is an ongoing strategy by anticipating future staffing requirements based on business needs
  • Focuses on the strategic side of hard-to-fill positions
  • Employs more time and planning – TA specialists study the company’s different roles and departments, as well as the skills and experience needed to succeed in each area

Why is Talent Acquisition Needed Today?

Today, 77% of employers report difficulty filling roles – a whopping 17-year high. The changing economy, evolving skills needs, and talent shortages have all contributed to the current struggle to find skilled talent. However, organizations that prioritize future forecasting, strategic workforce planning, and finding alternative ways of sourcing talent hold the key to a successful future.

Talent acquisition supports these priorities through a proactive, holistic, and forward-thinking approach. It’s about being acutely aware of the organization’s critical needs, the skills and capabilities of the workforce, and using that insight to source talent that will help the business succeed not just now, but in the long term.

A talent acquisition strategy creates a healthy pool of internal and external talent that possess the skills and qualities the organization needs. Having these pools to pull from when needed reduces the organization’s hiring costs, recruitment time, and risk of employee turnover.

Which Strategy is Best?

Talent acquisition and recruitment are often pitted against each other; however, they are both integral to business success and continuity. In fact, they are best used simultaneously and complement one another.

Focusing solely on recruitment results in an organization’s hiring strategy being largely reactive. Whereas, implementing a talent acquisition strategy in addition to traditional recruiting enables a more proactive approach that considers future challenges. The key here is to balance the organization’s short-term recruiting needs along with its long-term business needs.

Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment Strategies: What Do Organizations Need?

Tips For an Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy

An effective talent acquisition strategy includes some of these key tips and strategies:

Create a strong employer brand
Build a reputation that highlights the organization as a great place to work, and supports employees to learn, develop and grow to attract quality talent.

Identify skills and talent gaps
Identify current and potential skills and talent gaps, hard-to-fill positions, and roles that have previously had a high turnover to understand which areas of the business need prioritizing.

Build talent pipelines
Build internal and external talent pipelines for the organization to tap into as and when needed. Continually nurture and develop internal talent to ensure they have the skills needed to fill future roles.

Succession Planning
Make use of your internal talent pipeline and prioritize the progression of internal talent over external hires to fill current and future vacancies. Technology such as a talent marketplace is a great way to identify internal talent who are willing and ready to progress in their careers.

Always Consider Existing Employees First

A good talent acquisition strategy considers that the best candidates may already be existing employees. Best-in-class HR leaders are prioritizing developing internal talent as part of their succession planning and are embracing internal mobility to mobilize and optimize their workforce.

A talent marketplace supports key talent acquisition strategies such as identifying critical skills gaps, building healthy talent pipelines, facilitating proactive succession planning, and creating a workplace that prioritizes the growth and progression of employees. This is what sets organizations up for current and future success in today’s challenging work environment.


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