What Is Talent Acquisition? (With Steps and Helpful Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Well qualified, talented teams are an essential part of a successful organisation. To improve your company's performance and achieve great heights, it's important to create a process to search for, identify, hire and retain the best talent by adopting suitable talent acquisition strategies. The steps and processes followed by each talent acquisition team depend on the needs and goals of the organisation. In this article, we explain what talent acquisition is and provide the various steps involved in a typical talent acquisition process.

What is talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition is an ongoing process that involves finding and hiring suitable candidates to meet the organisation's employment needs. It describes the entire process of establishing a talented pool of resources for the company. Some typical responsibilities of a talent acquisition team involve planning for future resources, forming a robust candidate pipeline, formulating sourcing strategies, establishing employer branding and diversifying an organisation's labour force.

In certain companies, talent acquisition is a team within the human resource department. However, in large organisations, talent acquisition is an independent department that works closely with the HR team.

Talent acquisition vs recruitment

While talent acquisition and recruitment overlap in several ways, there are also considerable differences between the two processes. Here are some significant differences:

  • Talent acquisition is a proactive process that ensures you have already identified a pool of qualified candidates in case there's a vacancy at your company. Recruitment is a reactive process in which you identify a candidate only when a position opens up at your company.

  • The talent acquisition team often focuses on long-term human resource planning. Recruitment has mostly short-term goals where they recruit a candidate to meet the company's immediate needs.

  • As part of the long-term planning, the talent acquisition team is also responsible for establishing employer branding and communicating that brand value to potential candidates. Having a powerful brand also helps your company to stand out from its competition.

Read more: What Does a Recruiter Do?: A Comprehensive Guide

What is the talent acquisition process?

The process followed by a talent acquisition team often depends on the nature of your company and the industry where they operate. Some of the typical process steps include:

1. Develop a specific talent acquisition strategy

A talent acquisition specialist has in-depth knowledge of the industry where the company operates and the firm's required talent needs. This helps you create an effective plan to find the resources required for the company. It can also help you identify the necessary steps to achieve your goals.

Read more: What Does a Human Resources Manager Do? (Five Main Tasks)

2. Build talent pipelines

Since talent acquisition is a long-term and continuous process, having a good strategy ensures a steady stream of talent. You can achieve this by building a talent pipeline, or channel, that you can utilise per the company's needs. Over time, if you observe issues with the pipeline, you can make improvements in the process.

3. Create powerful employer branding

Building a powerful corporate branding is one of the key elements to successful recruitment and talent acquisition. A strong brand often makes prospective candidates aware of the organisation and what they've to offer. The way an organisation projects itself to prospective candidates and how they perceive it may often make a tremendous difference between acquiring or losing a talent.

Read more: Seven Common HR Interview Questions and Answers

4. Recruitment

The next stage, recruitment, is an important part of talent acquisition. The recruitment stage typically follows these steps:

  1. Candidate sourcing: Starting with a strong job description, you can identify the right platforms, such as social networks, online forums, industry events and conferences, where you can actively scan for promising candidates.

  2. Lead nurturing: By building a strong employer brand, promoting your company's unique culture and designing an irresistible compensation package, you can attract and retain talented individuals. Candidate relationship management also involves creating a positive candidate experience throughout the entire life cycle of the recruitment process.

  3. Candidate selection: In this stage, hiring managers administer suitable selection methods to shortlist prospective candidates. Common selection methods include pre-selection, traditional interviews and also suitable background checks.

  4. Hiring decision: Once a suitable candidate fulfils your job criteria and expectations, you might consider offering them a job. This stage may involve a few back-and-forth negotiation discussions before the candidate accepts the job offer.

  5. Onboarding: This is the process of integrating candidates with a company and its culture. An effective onboarding program begins long before a candidate joins the company and lasts throughout the candidate's journey with them.

Read more: How Companies Use Applicant Tracking Systems (With Tips To Pass Through Them)

Tips for effective talent acquisition

Here are some tips for improving your talent acquisition process:

Forecast effectively

To gain an accurate understanding of the needs of a particular role, consider the organisation's experience while filling these roles. For positions that were difficult to fill because of certain reasons, such as a lack of qualified candidates or a more extended interview time, ensure that you account for these obstacles while formulating your talent acquisition strategies. This ensures that you fill all your projected vacant positions in an appropriate amount of time.

Create an online presence

In order to attract the top talent, you can highlight your company's excellent work culture and present yourself as a thought leader in the industry. You can do this by creating a strong online presence through social media, professional networks, blogging and video content. Also, it's important to advertise strategically online to attract the requisite candidates. Consider your company's online marketing presence and advertisements to help you attract more professionals.

Work collaboratively

When you align your team's goals with your organisational goals, it increases your chances of attracting candidates that can integrate with your company's culture for the long term. So it's important to collaborate with relevant teams such as human resources, marketing and operations, as part of your talent acquisition strategy. You can achieve this by creating an employee value proposition.

Track your progress

As you implement several talent acquisition strategies, it's important to evaluate the progress. You can do this by using surveys and interviews to understand how satisfied your current employees are and how others outside the organisation perceive your company and your brand. Consider tracking these results over time to review your team's growth.

Take time to set up your processes

It's important to ensure that you don't rush through the interview process or skip any steps in identifying the right candidates to save time and cost during the acquisition process. Investing in the right resources, time and money ensures you can source and hire the best candidates. This can save the company far more expenses in the long term.

Give priority to internal mobility

You can often find some of your best talents from internal hires and referrals. Internal referrals are an excellent way to get verified and pre-validated candidates to enter the talent acquisition pipeline. To establish a talent acquisition strategy that focuses on internal mobility, it's important to have a solid cross-skilling program at your company. This way, you can encourage employees to pursue a career path outside of their immediate professional scope.

Read more: Top 10 In-Demand Human Resources Skills

Talent acquisition methods

Talent acquisition managers may use a few or all the methods indicated below to create organisation-specific talent acquisition initiatives:

  • Referral program: This is the most effective way to source talented employees. It can help you save a lot of time and effort because your current team members recommend new candidates.

  • Direct hires: This method involves directly hiring top talents employed by your competitors or those in related fields.

  • Internship program: Use internships to attract promising students or recent graduates to join your company. It's a cost-effective way of observing a potential talent's skills on the job before hiring them as full-time employees.

  • Freelancers: You can also identify suitable freelancers and convince them to be a part of your organisation.

  • Job fairs and other events: By establishing a strong presence in events such as job fairs, hackathons, career sessions and other workshops, you can reach out to suitable candidates who might be interested in joining your company.

  • Previous employees: Reaching out to previous employees and cultivating them as prospective talents that your team could rehire is also a great talent acquisition initiative.

  • Internal resources: This involves encouraging current employees of the company who perform similar roles to take on additional responsibilities that can lead them to fill other higher-level positions.

Explore more articles