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They may sound like synonyms, but there is actually a big difference between recruitment and talent acquisition. And sure, others may know what you mean if you use the terms interchangeably, but practically speaking, the two are very different approaches to hiring and team management. In fact, knowing the difference between the two can ensure your organization is achieving its goals.  After all, how can you achieve your goals if you don’t know what they are? So, what constitutes recruitment vs. talent acquisition?

You’ve asked, now we’re answering!

What Is Involved in Recruitment?

For modern-day workplace contexts, recruitment can be best described by the Cambridge Dictionary as being the “process of finding people to work for a company or become a new member of an organization.”

That is, recruitment specifically requires the act of seeking out candidates to fill a position within a given period of time. Teams most commonly use this process when they are looking to fill a specific position in their organization. This might mean hiring an external team to recruit on your behalf. It might also mean using a job posting site to get applicants to apply for a given position.

Either way, however, the end result is simply to fill a vacancy at an organization. Both recruiting first-hand and hiring someone else to do it can be costly, especially if the candidate hired doesn’t stick with the company long-term. And as the Indeed editorial team makes clear, recruitment is a “short-term, fixed process.”

Certainly, if you’re looking for someone to replace another worker (or workers), you’ll need a solution for recruiting.

What Is Talent Acquisition?

Contrastingly, talent acquisition is a long-term solution that aims to proactively and consistently find integral team members. And while recruiting requires employers to find candidates quickly, talent acquisition instead asks for more specific skills and abilities out of a candidate. Talent acquisition may also involve building connections between potential candidates long-term, and even creating talent pools.

This, of course, may mean the process takes longer in talent acquisition. But many who advocate for a talent acquisition approach above all other strategies will argue it’s quality over quantity. That is, you may hire a candidate quickly, but who’s to say how long that candidate will stay with the organization?

And if you choose to recruit quickly time and again, your team may spend more money hiring than it would paying a more specialized professional. So, while talent acquisition may require more time, its pay-off may be well worth it in the long-run.

What Tools Are Needed for Recruitment vs. Talent Acquisition

As previously established, since recruitment and talent acquisition processes offer different results, both require different approaches.

For example, talent acquisition may require a more thorough examination of a candidate’s soft skills. This is because unlike hard skills, soft skills are the only skills that often cannot be taught. As such, those looking to invest in talent acquisition should use technologies that measure a candidate’s potential in the position and their likelihood for retention. As expert in career placement and team management Rob Dougan notes, certain technologies, like simulation assessments, skill based/cognitive testing, and psychometric assessments, can measure these qualities in a candidate.

We at Workwolf, for example, use Packfinder to ensure our candidates are well-suited for the job and the organization as a whole. That way, we can measure for both their potential for success and their likelihood to stay with us long-term.

Recruiting, on the other hand, may require more immediately pressing qualifications, like certifications, experience, and other hard skills. This isn’t necessarily any more or less legitimate than the soft skills also required in a candidate. However, if filling a vacancy is the end-goal, hard skills will inevitably be a priority.

In this case, you may simply need to expedite your hiring processes to get your candidate into the office as soon as possible.

How to Move toward Talent Acquisition

Of course, sometimes organizations have no choice but to opt for recruitment over talent acquisition. The time may suddenly come and leave you without many other options but to hire the most suitable candidate you can find within a reasonable amount of time. But when given the option, we think most would rather hire a candidate they’ve already built a connection with. So, how can you work your way towards acquiring talent rather than recruiting last-minute?

Start by joining the Workwolf network. Here, employers/recruiters and candidates alike can build connections with one another. And just as candidates can passively apply for jobs to ensure they’re on the right track for their dream career, employers/recruiters can passively collect candidate pools.

This way, when the time comes, neither are desperate for a job or candidate respectively. Sounds like a win-win to us!

So, are you ready to see what we can do for your talent acquisition and recruiting processes for yourself? Click here to sign up for your free Workwolf business account.


A free account with Workwolf brings in more candidates, provides better matches & reduces the effort needed to make great hires

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