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Mar 05, 2015

Professional word-game: Talent acquisition, or recruitment? (part I)

Author: Luciana Nicolae

There’s been a big commotion lately around the new-and-improved job-titles on everyone’s business cards. In the HR filed, the question is ‘Are we Recruitment Specialists, or are we Talent Acquisition Specialists?’ Is what we do recruiting, or talent acquisition? To answer these questions, we of course need to first find out what’s the meaning of those two activities: are there significant differences, or is it just the new buzz-phrase in town?

Recruiting is the process of finding candidates, with the minimum-necessary set of skills, to fill in the existing positions in a company. Talent acquisition focuses on multiple processes, involving Marketing, PR and Business Development, in addition to the HR department, working together in order to find the most efficient plan for attracting talented people.

Let’s look at a specific example in the IT filed:

If we need to hire a Java Developer, which is the most efficient way to succeed at this task? First, we post job announcements on the specific recruitment platforms. We find out that the ones who applied are skilled people, but in the food industry or in the financial filed. It’s not that there aren’t enough Java developers out there on the market, it’s just that they’re not actively looking to change their jobs. So what happens next? Well, we start the targeted recruitment process, searching for the right candidates directly. We approach them slowly, and realize most of them don’t want to change jobs right now – but maybe we can contact them after a while, when they might start to feel differently about their current involvement. Then, we focus on the ones that are available for a change, but we also keep track of those who would be willing to look into a job change in the near future. The good thing about this approach is that we start knowing a lot of the java developers from Romania, and even outside the country, and we develop a professional connection with them.

Overall, the entire process is recruitment, but with a significantly more targeted and proactive approach, one that is more adapted to the needs and specifics of the IT field. This subtle, but crucial difference in nuance, is what gave rise to the need for a new term, one that would set apart the classical recruitment process from this more complex activity – and this is how Talent Acquisition was born.

So let’s not think of talent acquisition as just a fancy word for recruiting, because it’s far more complex than that. Still, there’s no need for ‘a fight’: I would say that talent acquisition and recruitment go hand in hand, with talent acquisition being the natural evolution over time of the classical recruitment process, in order to adapt to the continuous changes. It’s the result of years of evolving trends and changing technologies. From job announcements in newspapers, to dedicated recruitment platforms; from paper CVs, to digital CVs – HR, like all industries, has adapted to those changes, making us more carefully consider what a candidate can bring to the company, instead of just settling for the minimum required skills for the job.

Want to know more about the complexities of the Talent Acquisition process? Subscribe to our RSS feed and stay in touch, as I’ll be back with more in-depth information in my next issue. Whether from an employee’s perspective, or an employer’s, I’m curious to know your thoughts on the subject, so feel free to share your ideas through the comment section, or by email.

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