Talent Acquisition or Recruitment?

Talent Acquisition and Recruitment.

The same thing?

Different from each other?

Or, better than the other?

The HR world uses these terms interchangeably, sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly. For some, this is just a jargon to use depending on the context or situation.

But they are not the same, let’s see how!

What is recruitment?

In simple words, recruitment is a process to find out and recruit the best suitable candidate for a specific role or job opening. The candidate may come from within the organization or from the outside world. The recruitment process is bound by certain criteria or constraints such as limited time to fill in the post or amount of budget available to close a position. It has a set process right from job analysis to handing over the offer letter. There could be slight variation to the process depending on an organization’s standard operating procedures but overall it doesn’t change much as each stage is very much logical and linked to its former and later stage.

Interestingly, recruitment started in the Romans or Egyptians era and then adopted by the UK to employ farm laborers. This process became more organized during the period of World War 2 when recruitment agencies were born to fill the gaps caused by soldiers being called to war. After the war was over, the agencies started looking for veterans from the war to serve communities and the businesses using the skills they had acquired while they were in war.

You will appreciate the fact that the recruitment process as such started with a specific short term objective to meet the dire need of skill sets to carry out certain tasks. At its core nothing much has changed. However, the process has refined. Knowledge, technology and changes in the demand and market needs have strengthened the recruitment process for higher efficiency and improved quality of hiring.

 What is Talent Acquisition?

Talent acquisition is more of a strategic process in which recruitment is a part of it. Talent acquisition considers long term planning. It also needs a futuristic view of hiring requirements and a strategic direction to create a highly reliable and sustainable talent pool.

Talent acquisition as a strategic path brings key advantages

1. Ability to hire right talent pool

Typically in recruitment process, it is always about high pressure of getting the candidate on board because of the pressure from the business for meeting its commitments and goals. The quality of hire in this case may get impacted as the decisions are made in a lot of constrained environment.

Talent acquisition, being a long term process includes lots of data gathering from each aspect of the business. This include not only business plans and resource needs but also about job market, skill trends, resource availability, trends in acquiring talent, demographic conditions, and so on. It also requires building relations and improving talent pipeline with active job seekers and keeping them engaged with providing updates that matter to them. This gives enough time to both recruiting teams and potential candidates to study each other for every aspect of the engagement including the cultural fit.

2. Shaping the future

Talent acquisition is also about developing leaders and managers that could take future roles for the business. That is why, talent acquisition strategy needs to involve continuous lookout on not only availability of talent within and outside the organisation but also on how the talent in pipeline is developing, responding to market needs, and their approach towards their career goals.

3. It is highly cost effective

Typically, recruitment lets employers to quickly hire a new staff without too much of disturbance or confusion whereas for talent acquisition approach to be successful, it involves a dedication. Getting right talent on board means a sustainable way with higher return on investment, lesser attrition resulting into long term cost savings. Although it appears costly due to investment that has gone in getting the right candidate and lengthier hiring process. Eventually the benefits outweigh the investment.

Is Talent Acquisition better than Recruitment?

No, this does not mean recruitment is bad or talent acquisition is better. It is often situational and depends more on what is required. That is why recruiters need a combined approach. So, it is a right mixture of recruitment plus talent acquisition.

As a recruiter we should be asking ourselves as well as the stakeholders about organizations long terms and short terms goals, so availability of right talent at right time smoothens the journey of meeting goals at the same time attenuates risks of not having talent when required.

How to go about talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition is about having a strategy in place that requires time, commitment and consistency. Talent acquisition team needs to focus on planning the activities with continuous focus on the strategic goals. This involves having multiple acquisition activities like job market research, building network through right connections, building a brand of your organization in job market, and keep tracking their activities through strong relationship.

1. Knowing your goals plays a key role

Understanding short term and long term business goals comes first which makes the acquisition team to be aligned and responsive to the goals. Without which, any action is little productive.

2. Employer brand matters a lot

The only way to attract the potential pool of talent is through building a top class employer brand. Building a brand starts with benchmarking current brand status and taking actions that elevate the brand in the job market.

3. The early you start sourcing better it is

Research and identify which channels your prospective employees use. What kind of activities do they take part in those various channels, be it social media or online forums or job fairs and how you could participate to attract them.


Recruitment and talent acquisition cannot be compared. They have their own space, and importance in recruiting world. The key is requirement, that drives which direction to move in. Typically businesses are driven by short term and long term goals, and the same applies to recruiting because it is nothing but a business enabling function. If the business has an immediate need of a set of resources, there is no alternative but to go for recruitment. If the organization has strategy with future resource needs are clearly defined, talent acquisition is the right approach.

If you have not started thinking seriously about talent acquisition, there is no reason to wait. It will only benefit the organization and the early you start better it is as losing time is like losing future opportunities.

Enjoy your talent acquisition journey, it is compelling and fulfilling. 

Close Menu