Recruiting vs. talent acquisition: differences and benefits

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 August 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When it comes to hiring new employees, organisations can choose between utilising either or both recruitment and talent acquisition. Although similar, these processes can have different outcomes for a business, so it's helpful to know the distinction. If you're in a career related to helping companies develop their workforce, it's helpful to understand the difference between recruiting and talent acquisition. In this article, we compare recruiting vs. talent acquisition by going over the differences and benefits of each.

What is recruiting vs. talent acquisition?

Here's the definition of recruiting vs. talent acquisition:

What is recruitment?

Recruitment is a hiring process that assesses various candidates to fill a number of roles in a company. So when a supermarket loses a customer assistant, they may perform recruitment activities to find a suitable replacement for the vacant role. Recruitment can be an internal process where a company finds candidates from among its existing employees. Companies may also utilise recruitment agencies to help find suitable candidates more efficiently using their existing database of candidates.

A key feature of the recruitment process is that it's short-term and fixed. It usually uses pre-established processes that start and finish when all open roles are filled. So when a company is actively recruiting for a role, it uses a series of steps to find the right candidate by interviewing several individuals for the post. The process typically involves advertising the job, communicating with suitable candidates, interviewing them and performing reference and background checks.

Related: 12 tips for training for recruiters (with benefits)

What is talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition is a much more strategic approach to finding the right candidate for a role. It usually involves creating specific resources and hiring practices to draw in ideal candidates for a position. Talent acquisition is a long-term process that seeks to find the best candidates to help a company develop. Talent acquisition often has goals beyond filling vacant roles, such as improving brand reputation or fostering a positive workplace culture.

Talent acquisition can help reduce staff turnover rates because the company more time finding the right candidates aiming for longer team goals. This process also involves a company establishing ideal working environments for employees, ensuring they stay with the business for longer.

Related: How to create a benefits package to attract top talent

What's the difference between recruiting and talent acquisition?

There are many differences between recruiting and talent acquisition that helps explain why companies may choose to implement either hiring practice. Here are the primary differences between recruiting and talent acquisition:

Brand image and reputation

Recruitment doesn't have much of an impact on the company's brand image or overall reputation with candidates. If a candidate has a pleasant experience during the recruiting process, they may advocate for the brand, but it generally doesn't encourage other professionals to actively seek out employment opportunities with the company. Because recruitment is usually a short-term exercise, it doesn't create long-term opportunities for improving reputation.

Talent acquisition seeks to actively enhance a company's reputation with potential candidates through its efforts. For example, a company may adjust its workplace culture, adopt certain brand values or implement public relations campaigns to raise awareness and let candidates know about their offerings. When qualified professionals are more aware of the benefits of working at a company, they're more inclined to reach out and look for job opportunities with them.

Investment

Recruitment doesn't require a great deal of investment from a company, as the main aim of recruiting is to bring talent into vacant positions. This is achievable in several different ways, from posting job advertisements online to posting a help wanted sign in a storefront. Some companies, such as those in specialised fields, may look for specific skills in candidates who may need additional investment in recruiting. Once the recruiting process is completed, no more expenses are required.

Talent acquisition is a process that needs consistent investment to work. It's an iterative process that uses resources constantly to attract more qualified candidates without directly engaging with them. For example, a company may choose to instal a cafeteria in their office to offer free meals for employees.

Related: Best talent pooling practices with importance and advantages

Responsive vs. proactive

Recruiting candidates is a responsive process that occurs when a company requires new staff. This is either due to losing an existing employee or as a result of company expansion. So a company with an established team and no need to expand doesn't need recruitment. Talent is a proactive process seeking to attract qualified candidates regardless of whether there are open positions.

This allows a company to more efficiently fill any openings when needed, as candidates are more likely to be already aware of the company. For example, candidates interested in a company may utilise alerts to inform them of any openings that become available.

Company growth

Recruiting tends to align with company growth, so as a business expands and receives more revenue, they bring in more staff to accommodate the extra work. Although it expands alongside company growth, recruiting isn't a primary driver. In some cases, a great hire may boost revenue for the business, but recruiting typically focuses on maintaining operations rather than forcing growth.

Talent acquisition is a much more strategic approach that aims to facilitate company growth. It's a process geared around attracting innovators, creative types and leaders with the skills to develop a company and promote growth. These high-profile employees may alter how a company functions, such as changing organisational structure to streamline operations or devise optimal strategies for business development.

Related: In-house recruiter vs. agency (with key factors and tips)

What are the benefits of talent acquisition?

To help you understand why companies decide to undertake talent acquisition, here are some of its main benefits:

It helps companies stay competitive

The most prominent and successful companies often stay competitive in their market because they're constantly seeking the most talented and innovative individuals to work for them. Not utilising talent acquisition can result in candidates being more aware of competitors and what the benefit of working with them are. Highly qualified candidates often have more options on where they work, so they may be more selective with the work culture they prefer.

It makes a company more successful

Most businesses enjoy success by utilising the skills, talents and experience of their employees. Good talent acquisition techniques help to identify the right candidates for a job by taking into account the long-term opportunities they can bring. A more qualified workforce can also be more productive at lower costs. They may need less supervision and training and make fewer mistakes.

It prepares the company for the future

Talent acquisition focuses more on finding ideal candidates for a company rather than filling vacant roles. This is typically done by gathering the right data and staying informed and in contact with the right people. Not only does this encourage bringing in innovative talent that can help prepare businesses for unforeseen circumstances, but it also makes it easier to find suitable candidates for more specialised roles when required. It's essential to seek candidates that can bring value to a company beyond their ability to complete their duties.

For example, a candidate for a managerial role with strong leadership skills may motivate their entire team to be more productive while also supporting their personal development. When implementing talent acquisition, it's important for human resources teams to establish a clear plan on how they can recruit the most suitable candidate by factoring in the long-term benefits they can bring to a business.

Related: 10 common recruitment challenges for HR professionals

It mitigates business risk

Talent acquisition is a strategic process that focuses on aligning recruitment with the needs, wants and overall goals of a company. Using talent acquisition brings in the most competent candidates, which can mitigate a great deal of risk associated with the hiring process. Companies are less likely to hire inadequate or unprofessional candidates due to the more rigorous recruiting process. It's also an effective tool for lowering turnover rates because it strengthens the quality of hires. While talent acquisition may require more expenses than recruiting, it helps reduce overall administrative costs by reducing the need for hiring regularly.

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