By: Debra Kabalkin on January 17th, 2023

Print/Save as PDF

What Is Talent Acquisition and How Is It Different From Recruitment?

Talent Acquisition

A surprising number of hiring managers still rely on a reactive recruitment strategy. They wait until a vacancy opens up, and then they put a HELP WANTED sign in the window – or they do the digital equivalent, which is placing an ad on a job board.  

When they don’t hear from qualified candidates, they reach out to a recruitment agency or staffing firm. A recruiter can do a lot for your business, and they can put a stack of excellent resumes on your desk when you need them.

But if you want to build a team with the very best people, you have to go a step further.  That’s where talent acquisition services come in. 

Download My Hiring Process ChecklistWhat is talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition is a long-term strategic approach to sourcing candidates. A talent acquisition consultant works with your Human Resources department to help you hire faster, smarter, and with better results. Companies that use talent acquisition services see a consistent reduction in time-to-hire and new hire retention

Talent acquisition isn’t just about putting people at desks. It’s about building a strategy that results in reduced time-to-fill, a more efficient HR department, and continued access to the very best candidates. At Helios HR, we bring a talent acquisition consulting approach to all of our recruitment engagements providing a greater advantage for businesses.

5 Benefits of Talent Acquisition Services Vs. Staffing Services

Staffing services are great when you have urgent hiring needs, like when a key employee suddenly quits. However, they don't help your hiring managers build a better talent sourcing strategy—which means that your next hire will take just as long and be just as expensive. 

An effective talent acquisition strategy can help you hire better, faster, and at a lower cost. Talent acquisition services will do several things to help improve your talent management, including: 

  1. Review your recruitment process
  2. Make DE&I part of your talent acquisition process 
  3. Develop your employer branding 
  4. Optimize your Applicant Tracking System
  5. Fill strategically important vacancies 

Let's look at each of these in more detail:

1. Review your recruitment process 

A talent acquisition specialist or consultant starts by reviewing and improving your existing processes. This means looking at things like:  

  • Role definition: Writing a job description is often the hardest part of recruiting, especially for elite positions. Talent acquisition services help you define a process that includes every stakeholder. That way, you can quickly agree on the must-have skill sets required for each job.  
  • Recruitment strategy: How do you push past the competition and make contact with the best candidates? Talent acquisition services will help you hone your message and get it in front of top talent.  
  • Assessment and sign-off process: Today's job seekers expect to go from interview process to job offer in a matter of days, not weeks. You need to have the right strategy in place behind the scenes to ensure you provide a winning candidate experience.  
  • Onboarding: Onboarding is a vital part of recruitment – get it wrong, and you could find yourself back at square one. 
2. Make DE&I part of your talent acquisition process 

We’re at a pivotal moment in history, where diversity, equality & inclusion (DE&I) has gone from being an aspiration to being a necessity. Employers everywhere face some difficult truths: they’re nowhere near equity, and they’re struggling to achieve DE&I goals.  

The right talent acquisition strategy can help to turn things around. A good consultant will help you:  

  • Identify bias: Bias can sit deep within your recruitment process, even when you use AI to assess resumes. A talent acquisition specialist will cast an objective eye over your recruitment process and help you resolve any issues that might hold back some applicants.  
  • Review company cultureOrganizational culture can exclude people. Sometimes, this affects the hiring process, where “culture fit” can mean “someone who looks like me.” Cultural issues can also impact the onboarding process and may cause women and minorities to drop out. A consultant can help you resolve these cultural issues in your talent strategy.  
  • Create support pathways: When you hire anyone, you hope that they will stick around for the long-term and eventually move on to a leadership position. Sometimes, that requires additional support in the form of training and mentorship programs. A talent acquisition specialist can help you plan a pathway for every new hire, giving everyone an equal shot at success.  
3. Develop your employer branding 

Sometimes you see a company in the news or on social media, and you think, “wow, I would love to work there.” It’s not the salary or the benefits – there’s just something about them that makes you want to be part of the team.   

Employer branding is about trying to inspire that feeling in potential candidates. Talent acquisition services play a big role in building your employer brand strategy by doing things like:  

  • Reviewing your online presenceEmployer branding involves a lot of digital and social media work, as well as your recruitment advertising strategy. You have to get out there and promote yourself as a cool, exciting place to work. Talent acquisition services will help you hone and promote that message on channels like Twitter and LinkedIn.  
  • Assessing your value proposition: You need to ensure that your total rewards package matches with competitors. But your value proposition is more than that. What does it feel to work at your company? What are your goals, values, and culture? How does an employee get to be part of that?  
  • Launch a lead generation strategy: Your employer brand is a useful tool for engaging with talented workers. But you need a system behind the scenes to monitor and nurture those contacts. Your specialist can help you to form relationships with people, so they'll be the first to know about open positions.  
4. Optimize your Applicant Tracking System 

A good Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can save you time and money – if you use it right. Unfortunately, most of these systems aren’t plug-and-play. You’ll need an expert to help you configure, deploy and optimize the new platform.  

Talent specialists know how to leverage ATS to create a superb talent acquisition process. They’ll do things like:  

  • Recommend the right system for you: There’s a lot to think about when choosing recruiting software, such as automation, communication, compliance, and security. Your talent acquisition specialist will help you choose the platform that suits your needs.   
  • Integrate with your recruitment processes: An ATS is ultimately just a tool. It’s there to make your recruitment processes easier, so you’ll need to think about how to redesign those processes in a way that makes use of your new platform.  
  • Monitor and refine: It can take some tweaking to get the best out of your ATS. A talent specialist will help you measure performance against KPIs. That way, you can see if you’re getting maximum value from your new platform.  
5. Fill strategically important vacancies 

Talent acquisition services can help you fill an executive role or highly specialized position when traditional recruitment methods have failed. However, the main advantage of a talent acquisition strategy is that you won’t often find yourself in such a situation. A talent acquisition consultant will give you everything you need to make candidate sourcing easier, including:  

  • An automated talent pipeline: After working with a specialist, you’ll have a pool of internal and external candidates available for every position.  
  • A strong employer brand: A great brand can make all the difference when hiring for elite-tire roles, especially if you’re competing for the best talent with big employers.  
  • Enhanced staff retention: Acquisition and retention are deeply linked. People will stick around when you offer them great onboarding, an inclusive culture, and clear career opportunities for career progression.  
Recommended Reading: How Recruitment Process Outsourcing Helps Your Hiring Strategy

Reboot your talent acquisition process

Ultimately, this is the difference between traditional recruiters and talent acquisition services. A staffing agency recruiter will help you put a Band-Aid over a staffing problem. A talent acquisition consultant helps avoid staffing problems from arising in the first place. 

If you would like to learn more about how talent acquisition can make candidate sourcing easier, book a no-obligation call with Helios HR today.

Explore the Talent Acquisition & RPO resource library