By Twine on

Talent acquisition is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot these days in conversations about the role of human resources in planning for a company’s future. The right talent can make or break a company, and it’s therefore essential that companies practice strategic human resource management--not only to hire great people when they need to fill a position, but also to have a pipeline of qualified future candidates to fill technical and leadership roles.

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Today's article is intended to give you a primer on talent acquisition. We’ll examine how it differs from recruitment, and why it’s a key step in ensuring your company’s strong future. Finally, we’ll give you some advice on how you can start implementing your own talent acquisition program at your company.

Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment

It’s easy to confuse talent acquisition with recruitment. After all, they both involve finding the best people to work at your company and are essential functions of a modern HR department.

They are different, however. 

Recruitment is the process of filling a new or vacant position at your company. Recruitment responds to an urgent need: the position must be filled as quickly as possible in order for your company to continue to function or grow.

The need to recruit often arises unexpectedly, in response to employee resignations or terminations, for example. Despite the benefits of taking the time to find the right candidate during recruiting, the process is typically rushed; the most pressing matter is filling the open position and getting your company back to business as usual.

Talent acquisition, in contrast, is a longer-term, more strategic process. While recruitment focuses on filling the positions that are open now, talent acquisition involves projecting months or even years down the road to consider what positions your company will need to fill as it grows and evolves.

Talent acquisition takes into account the creation of new positions as your company expands or the demands of the market change, as well as the vacancies that may arise when employees are promoted. Finally, talent acquisition strategy considers which current employees have the potential to fill leadership and executive roles (as well as cases where outside hires might be necessary to fill higher up positions).

Talent acquisition differs significantly enough from recruiting that some companies separate their recruitment team from their talent acquisition team, allowing each group to specialize in short term vs. long term staffing and planning for the firm.

Why Talent Acquisition Is Important

Both recruitment and talent acquisition are essential to the continued health of your organization. Even with the most robust talent acquisition program in place, employees will still quit, get sick, be terminated unexpectedly, or even die. In these situations, recruitment becomes the key priority.

But you can also take much of the burden off of your recruitment process if you have a talent acquisition program in place. Talent acquisition is about building a recruitment pipeline so that you are not scrambling to staff key roles, but instead have a pool of high quality potential successors to select from.

What does that look like in practice?

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Talent acquisition involves looking for and attracting potential talent through multiple channels. Let’s examine some of the most common avenues:

1. Employment Branding

Most companies are so focused on building their consumer-facing brand that they forget about their employer brand. This is a mistake, as a strong employer brand is key to attracting top talent.

So what goes into building an employer brand? It’s no different from marketing your company to potential clients or consumers. The following are all key to employer brand building:

  • Social media presence. If you want people to know that your company is a fulfilling place to work, show them. Use your social media accounts to post pictures of daily life at your company, insights into your company culture, and articles that inform the way you do business.

  • Blog posts. Going one step beyond social media, you can also maintain a company blog that offers an even deeper look behind the scenes at your firm. One organization that does an outstanding job of this is social media scheduling company Buffer. Through their Buffer Open blog, they showcase what it’s like to work at their company, their philosophy on work, and a transparent look at their hiring process...You can do the same for your company.

  • Press. Getting your company highlighted in the right media outlet is an opportunity to show a wider audience what makes your company a superb place to work. To find these opportunities, reach out to outlets that regularly highlight company culture, such as The Muse or Inc.

2. Events and Conferences

While building a strong digital brand is important for attracting top talent, it’s just as important to get out in the real world and meet potential candidates where they congregate. Events and conferences make an ideal venue for this, as they pull together large numbers of people who are already in a networking mindset.

The event you choose will depend on your industry and future planning needs, but here are a few places we recommend starting:

  • Industry conferences. No matter what your industry, there’s a conference to fit it. If it’s in the budget, rent a booth for your company so attendees can find you. Even if you can’t get a booth, you can still attend the conference as an individual or team and find potential candidates at break out sessions or just chatting at the venue bar.

  • Local events. Sometimes, the best candidates are already in your city. If you can find one geared toward the sorts of professionals you want to attract, it can be a great, free opportunity to tap into local talent pools. If you’re not sure where to find relevant local events, we recommend starting with Meetup. Just make sure to be genuine and abide by the group rules.

  • Free training. Hosting free trainings is a popular approach for attracting potential clients, but it can be just as valuable for connecting with qualified job candidates. They can work especially well if they cover a technical topic or provide an insight into a specific company practice.

  • University job fairs. While they aren’t generally the best places to find immediate hires for leadership or executive roles, the right job fairs are a great way to connect with technical talent or even people with leadership potential. Even if these students don’t end up working at your company right after they graduate, building relationships early on can put you in the front of their minds for when they are looking to take the next step in their careers.

3. LinkedIn

Do you maintain and update your company LinkedIn page? If not, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with top professionals who are looking for jobs (or may be looking in the future). One way to use LinkedIn for talent acquisition is to post articles and updates about your company culture, much as we discussed in the employer branding section.

But you can also take a more proactive approach. Join and participate in groups that are relevant to your industry. If you see a void in your industry, create a new group to fill it. Don’t just promote yourself and your company--add genuine value. People will take notice of this and reward you back in the long term.

4. Maintaining Relationships with Prospects

All of the best techniques in the world for finding potential job candidates are useless if you don’t keep in touch with them. Remember, the goal is to be front of mind for top talent when they are looking to make their next career move.

You don’t have to maintain daily or even weekly communication with them. It’s plenty to share an article they might like or send them an occasional message on LinkedIn or via email. And of course, if you are hiring, make sure you let them know.

5. Create a Talent Management Program

If talent acquisition focuses on potential outside candidates, talent management works to cultivate the career growth of existing employees. It involves current employee development: identifying employees with leadership and management potential and making sure they can grow with the company.

Talent management and talent acquisition work hand in hand as part of a larger strategy for having the right people ready to fill new and open positions.

But how do you go about creating a talent management program? One option is to work with us here at Twine. Our tools can help you create an internal company network to identify top internal talent and match them with opportunities to grow their career within your company.

After all, the number one reason employees leave is a lack of internal opportunity. Let’s work together to plug that talent leak and ensure the continued prosperity and growth of your organization. Schedule a demo today to learn more.