What is Talent Acquisition and Why Do You Need It?

What is Talent Acquisition and Why Do You Need It

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With consistent evolution in the hiring landscape and demand for skilled experts, what incessantly needs to change the most along the way is talent acquisition; irrespective of the nature and size of an organization. But what is talent acquisition? Is it the same as the recruitment process? Why do organizations need it? What is the process of it, and what are its strategies? Let’s find out answers to all these questions through this article.

Did you know that the average time-to-hire is 3 to 4 weeks across industries, as per Yello Survey 2020? The jobseekers, on the other hand, expect the offer within a week post-interview.

Such a contrast in jobseeker’s expectations and actual prolonged duration indicates how critical and complicated hiring can get. One wrong decision and the firm may suffer losses, apart from hitting speed-breakers en route to its goals. That also explains why a majority of today’s organizations prefer to have a thorough talent acquisition plan in place to stead the ground.

So, without wasting any more time, let’s first understand the meaning of talent acquisition.

What is Talent Acquisition?

Going by the talent acquisition definition, it’s a process to identify and acquire expert professionals to fill in the relevant roles in the organization. It may be for current openings, as well as probable future requirements, to meet the fundamental organizational goals in the best possible way.

In fact, talent acquisition (or TA as we may call it) sits at the core for creating new roles in the company if there are potent passive candidates available out there.

Seems like a typical recruitment process?

Yes.

However, it is not.

There is a primary difference between Talent Acquisition and Recruitment. Let us enlighten you in detail.

Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment

When it comes to recruitment, it is only an activity for an organization to select and hire a candidate.

Talent Acquisition, on the contrary, has a much broader horizon. It includes several aspects, and recruitment is only one of them. While recruitment generally has short-term goals, talent acquisition works on a long-term plan for the company.

The TA team may comprise of several experts, such as sourcers, recruiters, hiring managers, and HR professionals. All of them have to work in harmony to accomplish several tasks, listed below:

Attracting and sourcing candidates
Assessing the candidates
Conducting interviews
Shortlisting and hiring them
Crafting an efficient onboarding procedure

The role doesn’t end there. The talent acquisition professional’s job description also consists of:

Branding the company as the most “Preferred Workplace” in the eyes of professionals to attract the best talent
Developing a vast talent pipeline in a proactive manner
Strategically source talent from varied backgrounds
Planning for future resources
Creating and maintaining respectable hiring standards
Following powerful recruitment marketing practices
Maintaining robust relationships with candidates

What’s more fascinating is, all these operations are ongoing at any given time, unlike recruitment that aims at filling vacancies as and when they arise.

That’s also why many organizations now have a dedicated TA department (independent of HR) while some integrate their TA team within their HR department.

Through talent acquisition, it becomes smoother to fill positions requiring specific skillset; especially senior-level or leadership roles even though it can take months to find the right expert or specialist.

In simple terms, you can consider talent acquisition as a big picture that has recruitment as its primary supporting hero.

Talent Acquisition vs Talent Management

Many people think both these terms as one though they are not.

Some believe talent acquisition is a branch of talent management. Some opine that the latter only enters the picture once the organization has acquired talent.

So what do these operations imply?

Let us draw you a vivid picture of the difference between talent acquisition and talent management.

You already know now what talent acquisition does for companies. From attracting and sourcing diverse talent to interviewing, hiring, and onboarding them; the scope is huge. Not to forget - employer brand building and candidate relationship management for future requirements.

Now, What is Talent Management?

Talent Management, like talent acquisition, is a continual process. It’s true when we say that talent management begins after hiring talent. It involves nurturing the fresh recruits the organization hires, along with the ones that already make up the entity.

The primary operations that come under talent management include:

Managing the onboarding process
Recognizing and delivering training programs
Conducting skill-gap analysis on a regular basis for consistent skill upgradation
Strategizing and implementing employee retention plans
Mentoring and rewarding the workforce for their contribution through pep talks, bonuses, motivations, and promotions
Designing succession plans for forthcoming hiring requirements

Talent management is also about finding the right people from the existing workforce to take up the responsibilities of key/leadership roles of the organization.

Through a robust talent management strategy, organizations can make the employees feel valued. That, in turn, boosts talent retention rate.

Then what is more important among the two?

Both. Talent acquisition and talent management are inter-dependent. You will lose the experts if you fail to provide them with growth opportunities and a positive environment. Similarly, a development-based work culture will also not work if there is a lack of penchant for learning and upskilling among employees.

Now that we know the basics of talent acquisition, it’s time to know the process it entails.

What is the Talent Acquisition Process?

In order to better handle a task as critical as talent acquisition, professionals have turned it into a structured system. That not only simplifies the never-ending process for the entire TA team but also helps them ascertain where they stand and what needs to be done next.

Although it involves plenty of steps, there are six prime steps to the talent acquisition process that need your attention.

1. Generation of leads

One of the best tactics to gather exceptional quality leads is by incorporating good networking skills. Participate in industry conferences and events to build relationships with skilled professionals. Utilize online communities, social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to expand your reach. You can post your requirements there or network with promising candidates.

Indulging in all these activities will help you form an enviable pool of potential hires for a bright future of your entity.

P.S. – Don’t forget to form an exciting job description. Also, clear communication of your talent needs helps a lot more than your assumption.

2. Recruitment and attracting prospects

In order to attract the top talent, the talent acquisition process emphasizes on improvement of the employer brand. It’s about creating a positive image of the company in the eyes of potential hires. From promoting work culture to sharing the experiences of existing employees to a flexible environment; all of it plays a huge role in getting the right guys in.

Apart from that, an attractive career-path, together with enticing pay packages and rewards, helps attract and retain the star players.

What also holds equal importance is a smoother candidate experience. Staying connected with them is also a must, regardless of the vacant positions at your firm.

3. Interviews and assessments

It’s essential to detect whether the candidate is the “one” for the role in question. That’s when the strategic interview and assessment techniques come into play.

So, begin by having clear definitions of at least 5 tasks that the role would require to do. Then, proceed to draw the performance capabilities fulfilling those tasks. Once you have this ready, build interview questions around the same for accurate assessments.

Here, asking questions that prompt the candidate to detail their problem-solving, quick and logical thinking significantly helps. Skill tests, cognitive, and personality evaluation also make for great assessment tools.

4. Reference validations

So, you have conducted the interview and finished assessing the candidate. You are more or less convinced about them being a good fit for the organization. However, there’s still scope to convert that “almost convinced” feeling into “100% sure”. How? By evaluating the candidate’s references.

Speaking to the references in-depth helps you make a quick, informed decision. It works like a stamp to ascertain whether the candidate possesses the qualifications, skills, and caliber to fulfill what is expected of them.

At the same time, it helps address concerns, if any. Thus, before you start drafting the offer letter, take time out to check references.

5. Selection of candidates

When it is time for making the crucial final selections, rely on solid mechanisms to choose the fittest from the bunch of top talents. There are many evaluative software, as well as tracking tools, in the market to help arrive at a decision.

Discuss the options with your decision-making team, and address the concerns they may have. The bottom line is to hire a candidate who is a perfect cultural fit in the smoothest way possible.

6. Appointment and onboarding

The candidate desires a hassle-free onboarding process. Onboarding, as a standalone operation, doesn’t come under the umbrella of the TA team. But it is the last step of the TA process. As we saw above, the talent management team takes over after hiring.

Hence, after candidate selection, your HR managers need to craft a strategic procedure. A process which helps the fresh recruit builds relationship with the firm and other employees from day one; the one that allows them to not just settle but blend in the new environment with ease.

The more streamlined onboarding is, the more welcomed the new hire feels.

How Do You Develop Talent Acquisition Strategy?

Any process renders tremendous results when the roots of its strategies run deep. The only thing is, talent acquisition strategies, like any other strategy, also vary from organization to organization. The aim, however, remains the same - to stand out from the competitors and get the finest people to join you.

So, let’s look at some critical talent acquisition best practices:

1. Alignment with long-term business goals

Where do you see your business in the span of the next five years? The answer to this question will help streamline your objectives, based on which, you’ll get the right direction to channel all your talent acquisition efforts. The result? It would be easier to meet those pre-determined goals.

2. Utilization of data and analytics

Data and analytics play a significant role in measuring whether Plan A is better than Plan B or if they are working at all. The same comes handy while recruiting.

Utilize the data to determine the sources from where you got your excellent employees, whether the job descriptions and career pages of your website are inviting enough, and the ease of the application process, for instance. Such analysis will only help you improve the whole TA process.

3. Emphasis on employer branding

Candidates often tend to compare the companies they’re applying to. The parameters range from work culture and values to perks and work-life balance offered by the firm. The lack of such crucial information can drive the candidates away. Hence, creating a strong employer brand should be the center of your talent acquisition strategy.

4. Expansion of outreach strategies

You won’t get your best graphic designer from the same place as your best accountant. Therefore, it is necessary to widen your outreach techniques and strengthen the presence of your network at each such sourcing platform.

What are the Examples of Talent Acquisition Strategies?

Now that we have learned about some functional strategies; let’s take a look at a couple of examples for better understanding.

1. Succession planning

Grooming and promoting your existing workforce can spare you the trouble of looking for people outside the organization. With an accurate succession planning strategy, you can pick the leading performers and train them further to accept more major responsibilities.

Such mentorships and regular assessments can last over months and years. Thus, when the actual opportunity emerges, you have your top talent who is polished enough to rise to the occasion.

2. Thorough descriptions of job role and candidature

Outlining precise details of what the job role is and who the ideal candidate is would immensely increase the chances of acquiring that perfect talent. At the same time, it will also reduce the number of unfit applications.

3. Strong branding across mediums

A well-placed TA strategy ensures the company maintains its distinct brand voice across all platforms - be it social media, website, and the real world. Strong branding not only lets you expand your customer base but also attracts diverse professionals to be a part of a thriving organization.

What is the Role of Talent Acquisition Specialist?

The talent acquisition specialist is like the captain of your hiring ship. After all, s/he is responsible for immaculate sourcing and attracting the supremely talented professionals to select and make them a part of the organization. It won’t be exaggerating to say that the talent acquisition manager dons many hats.

So, let’s explore what makes into the list of a TA specialist’s functions:

Devising an effective talent acquisition strategy in line with the firm’s goals
Developing a robust organizational policy in terms of talent acquisition, interviews, and assessments
Carrying out diverse sourcing techniques
Networking with professionals by attending events, conferences, online community, and forums
Designing hiring, interview, and selection procedures
Reviewing applications and CVs
Forecasting future hiring needs based on regular analysis of business growth and requirements
Forming and maintaining relationships with potential hires as well as past employees
Building and managing an active candidate pool across niches to keep them engaged
Overseeing the new hires’ paperwork
Generating monthly TA metrics and reports for the management
Collaborating with HR managers to ensure HR needs and company objectives are aligned
Teaming up with the marketing department to address TA challenges and create a stronger brand
Looking out for ideas to enhance the current processes and watch the latest industry trends

Why is Talent Acquisition Important?

After understanding talent acquisition in-depth, including talent acquisition workflow and best practices, it is evident that TA is one of the pillars for a stronger organization.

A proactive talent acquisition plan can get you the most suitable candidate for your firm. Instead of filling up the open positions ASAP, the goal here is to hire the one exhibiting a promising career graph. Moreover, the time and money invested in their training will ensure fruitful results for the business in the future. For instance, today’s executives of the firm could become future managers.

With such strategic moves, talent acquisition contributes towards achieving greater productivity, returns, and business goals while reducing overall risks that arise out of bad, thoughtless hiring.

Since we’ve explored the importance of talent acquisition, let’s unearth top talent acquisition trends in 2020.

• Recruitment marketing - Attracting qualified professionals by putting marketing tactics and methods to use.

• Candidate experience - Designing a positive candidate experience throughout the recruiting cycle; it improves your brand stature in the market.

• Collaborative hiring - Teaming up with other teams in the entity to enhance the quality of new hires.

• Employee referrals - Hiring through employee referrals is comparatively shorter in duration as well as effective.

• Social hiring - Recruiting top talent by utilizing various social media networks (For example: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook) and websites (Job boards, blogs, and forums).

Conclusion

In today’s competitive market, it is anything but easy to reach out to the brightest professional. And that explains why talent acquisition teams are so important for the right growth of any business, whether large or small. While recruitment is only a part of a larger talent acquisition workflow, the goal is to keep the company culture vibrant and progressive.

What is needed is the idea - to come up with a substantial talent acquisition blueprint that’s unique to your organizational needs and goals.

How do you handle the talent acquisition plans? What strategies do you follow? We would love to know.

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Andy Butcher

I am a profound technical writer and consultant working with SaaS-based product companies for over 5+years. I would love to outline tutorials, guides, and informative articles to educate SaaS-based product consumers and enterprises interested in the consulting & development of SaaS related products.

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