Recruiting vs. Talent Acquisition: How Are They Different?

Tag icon

Recruiting and talent acquisition are often tossed around interchangeably in the hiring realm. However, while both approaches have similar goals (i.e. bringing in qualified talent), they’re two separate hiring practices with their own applications—which we’ll discuss below.

Recruiting vs. talent acquisition: What’s the difference?

Although both strategies aim to hire qualified candidates, talent acquisition and recruiting differ in a few key ways:

  • Recruiting: Recruiting tends to be more reactive and fast-paced, focusing on filling specific job vacancies, usually in a short period of time. For example, during the holiday season, businesses like Amazon, retailers, and shipping companies have intense recruiting campaigns to meet their immediate demands for increased labor.
  • Talent acquisition: Talent acquisition has a strategic, long-term focus. It’s an ongoing process that focuses on future hiring needs rather than just existing job vacancies. Talent acquisition strives to build a strong talent pipeline to pull qualified candidates from for future openings. These roles often require highly specialized skill sets.

Benefits of recruiting and talent acquisition

Each strategy for sourcing potential employees has its benefits:

  • Benefits of recruiting:
  • Addresses immediate staffing needs
  • Shortens time to fill  
  • Streamlines the hiring process 
  • Benefits of talent acquisition:
  • Allows companies to fill specialized positions or find talent with highly specific skill sets
  • Saves time and money in the long run with pre-vetted talent pool  
  • Works with organization’s long-term goals, focusing on engaging candidates, building relationships, establishing better DEIB initiatives, and improving the candidate experience

Why do businesses need both?

When considering which hiring approach to use, businesses should focus less on which is “better” and more on meeting their unique organizational needs—which requires both. 

For example, large chains like Burger King require a continuous stream of workers to staff its restaurants. When hit by staffing challenges stemming from COVID-19, the company implemented a recruitment strategy that accelerated hiring time by 30%. 

This recruiting strategy may work well for filling Burger King’s frontline roles quickly. However, it might not be as effective for finding restaurant or district managers, who require more experience. Filling those positions with the right candidates would rely on a longer-term talent acquisition strategy—showcasing the importance of incorporating both approaches.

How can companies utilize recruitment and talent acquisition?

As a company grows, its hiring priorities must evolve with it. Businesses need to engage in both short and long-term planning rather than simply being reactive. This shift could require employees to change their mindsets, too. For example, instead of just recruiting to fill immediate warehouse needs, hiring teams can be in a constant state of filling their frontline candidate pipeline. 

Over the next 10 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be  8.3 million more jobs in the U.S. For businesses, this means that future-oriented hiring strategies will be critical for bringing in best-fit employees—which may require an “always accepting applications” approach. 

If your organization currently focuses just on filling the major holes in staffing, but wants to keep their stores staffed and employees from getting burnt out, consider the following steps to transition from a recruiting-only mindset to a combination of recruiting and talent acquisition..

Align goals with leadership

For the human resource management team, finding and attracting top talent may require more time and financial resources than less skilled roles—which means management will need to get involved. 

Management may be skeptical of the return on investment (ROI) of sourcing talent before those roles are considered “essential” to the business. So, before making the shift, make sure that upper-level management is on board to create a unified, forward-looking team.

Invest in resources for success

Once management is committed to a talent acquisition strategy, you need to give the hiring team the materials, people, and tools they need to find the best candidates. 

For instance, automated recruiting software can streamline the entire hiring process, helping talent acquisition teams focus on high-value tasks.

Maintain a strong talent pipeline

Remember that talent acquisition focuses on long-term sourcing. This means that your organization needs to put ongoing efforts into sourcing talent on job boards like Indeed and social media sites like Facebook. As you build your pipeline with qualified candidates, keep them organized in an applicant tracking system. This will make it easy to find and reach out to those candidates in the future.

6 best practices for developing a strong talent acquisition strategy

The primary goal of any hiring strategy is to find the best people for the company’s team. Hiring, onboarding, and training can be expensive, so using the right strategy leads to better outcomes and higher levels of retention. Here are six tips that will help with both recruiting and talent acquisition:

1) Focus on branding

Establish a clear set of corporate values and missions, and promote them as part of the hiring process to keep potential employees motivated and interested in joining your company. If you communicate a positive employer brand often enough, potential employees may even begin to reach out to your company for consideration.

2) Collect and analyze the right data

Measure and optimize each stage of your hiring process by tracking every position’s performance, identifying the most successful recruiting channels, measuring candidate satisfaction, and evaluating team effectiveness. Keeping track of factors such as cost per hire and time to hire can also provide valuable ROI insights. 

3) Cultivate a strong company culture 

In an age when everything is on the internet, current employees can be a helpful resource or a negative influence in the hiring process. For example, Glassdoor found  that 77% of adult workers consider a company’s culture before applying for an open position.

4) Create a positive candidate experience

Strong employer branding and effective recruiting techniques can help move people from job applicant to employee. Analyze all steps of the interview and qualification process to ensure they foster a positive candidate experience. This helps you and the candidate determine whether the job is a good fit.

5) Continuously identify gaps

Immediate recruitment strategies aren’t designed to last forever, and should grow and change with your business (and the hiring market). Examine your recruitment strategy quarterly to decide what’s working, what isn’t, and what needs to change. Continuous improvement helps to build an effective talent acquisition strategy that continues to bring in quality candidates.

6) Use the right tools

Using a variety of recruitment and software tools can keep your pipeline organized, streamlining your talent acquisition process and providing valuable data along the way through built-in metric tracking.

Refine your recruiting and talent acquisition efforts with Emi

Recruiting and talent acquisition are similar approaches to building a quality workforce for the long run. Both are required at some level for meeting particular hiring needs. 

But no matter which strategy your organization uses, you should support it with quality recruiting automation tools. Emi optimizing your recruitment and talent acquisition processes, from screening through interviewing and onboarding. Remove repetitive manual tasks from your hiring team’s workload, allowing them to focus on building relationships and hiring the best candidates—faster.

Learn more about how Emi can simplify your hiring efforts with a free demo.

Continue reading

Recruiting automation—for the frontline, for the future

Enhance the candidate experience by accelerating and automating high-volume hiring.
Schedule a demo
Emi provides a free demo of our recruiting automation platform