Every business is only as good as its employees. You have to have the right employees on board at all times, or else your business risks failure. This means that you need employees who aren’t only talented and hardworking, but thrive in your corporate culture and share the same ideals as your business. These employees believe in your mission, your goals and that, in the end, your business will succeed.
So how exactly do you find these employees? Through talent acquisition. You may have heard of this term before, but how much do you really know about it? We collected some of the most commonly asked questions related to talent acquisition, so any and all questions you may have are answered:
What is “Talent?”
Let’s start off basic here: what exactly does “talent” mean when it comes to HR? Talent simply refers to employable people, whether internal or external. Your internal talent is, of course, your employees. External talent, on the other hand, indicates people who may or may not be in the job seeking process, but have the potential to become employees.
What is Talent Acquisition?
The main goal of talent acquisition can be summed up in three words: attracting top talent. This means bringing in and, ultimately, hiring the best talent you can. What it doesn’t mean is hiring the best software developer who also happens to be a pain in the ass. That tends to be toxic to teamwork and your corporate culture. Instead, talent acquisition is more of a long-term approach to hiring that focuses on finding people who the company can groom into leaders, managers and, eventually, executives.
Talent acquisition, therefore, is about finding the talent that’ll stick around for the long haul, while adding to and thriving in the corporate culture. And, of course, they have to be pretty good at their job, too.
Additionally, talent acquisition teams keep an eye towards the future, in order to anticipate when certain positions will be open. This requires keeping a record of candidates that haven’t been hired yet, but appear to be good fits for the business. With this record in hand, the business can continually hire talent that have shown interest in the business and are motivated to develop.
One other component of talent acquisition is reputation management, where you manage the reputation that your business has among prospective candidates (we’ll touch on this later).
What is the Difference Between Talent Acquisition and Talent Management?
Ok, so now we come to two nearly-identical terms: talent acquisition and talent management. What’s the difference? Mainly it has to do with what types of talent each concept deals with. Talent acquisition is about finding and hiring talent that’ll develop within your business and climb the ladder towards leadership, managerial and executive positions. It’s a long-term process that keeps tabs on talented candidates that could fill a position at a later date.
Talent management, on the other hand, deals mostly with the talent you already have on hand. Processes involved in talent management include employee engagement, performance appraisals and development. The last point — development — is one of the key differences. Although talent acquisition finds employees who will develop, the process of actually developing them falls under talent management.
What are Some Talent Acquisition Strategies?
There are plenty of talent acquisition strategies out there; too many to list all of them here. But these are among the most common:
Social media is a talent acquisition strategy that’s still being fully developed. Searching on LinkedIn is one of the most common strategies. With LinkedIn’s Recruiter tools, you can search for candidates in your area that have the necessary skills and experience to fill your open positions.
Showing off your company culture and values on your social media channels is another great strategy. This can show potential candidates that you’re a fun place to work, while showcasing what your business cares about. Candidates are more likely to apply or accept an interview request if they can get a glimpse of what working with you will be like.
Keep in Touch with Top Talent
Never lose touch with talented people who aren’t (yet) working for you. We’re not saying that you should be hounding them 24/7, but reach out every once in awhile to see how they’re doing. Additionally, make sure to constantly network. No matter where you are, whether at a trade show, conference or even the local coffee shop, keep your eyes open for potential candidates. Both of these tactics help you maintain a large candidate pool from which you can potentially find your next great hire.
Almost everything nowadays can be streamlined with software, and talent acquisition is no exception. Using software can speed up the process by identifying quality candidates faster and automating responses. One of the best types of software you can use is an ATS: an applicant tracking system.
What is an Applicant Tracking System?
An ATS makes talent acquisition a much more automated process. When an applicant applies online, their information is collected in a database. The ATS considerably speeds up resume screening by sorting through every application in that database, showing you only the top candidates. If you find a particularly interesting candidate, you can reach out quickly, so they’re not left waiting and looking elsewhere.
Applicant tracking systems can also automate messages to candidates, such as informing them they you received their resume, sending them a link to an online test or sending a rejection once you’ve made your hire.
The database of an ATS is also great for looking at past applicants. Reaching out to past candidates who’d fit a newly open position is a great way to make use of your collected candidate pool.
What is the Difference Between Recruitment and Talent Acquisition?
Here’s another question you’ve probably been wondering: how do recruitment and talent acquisition differ? After all, they seem pretty similar, right? Well, yes, they’re similar, but not the same. There are undoubtedly recruiters who would scoff at being called a talent acquisition specialist, and vice versa. The difference can be broken down to reactive vs proactive. The recruitment process is reactive, as the goal is to find new candidates once a position opens up. It’s, as Alan Davis puts it, a “tactical” event that focuses on the needs of the here and now.
The talent acquisition process is much more proactive. It focuses on the long-term, as it involves keeping tabs on potential candidates for when positions open up down the line. A part of that is done by continuously building the employer brand and managing your business’ reputation. The eye is always toward the future, focusing on filling potential future needs and thinking about how to entice future talent.
What is Sourcing Talent?
Sourcing has a ton of definitions, but when it comes to talent, it simply refers to one of the steps in the talent acquisition process: proactively finding quality candidates before jobs open up. As SHRM explains, sourcing is usually completed by the human resources department, but hiring managers occasionally help out as well. The process identifies talent of all kinds — the ones that are actively seeking new positions, and those that aren’t. The goal is to get your name out to the best talent, while also collecting their information, skills and experience so you can reach out to them in the future.
What is the Difference Between Sourcing and Recruiting?
Despite sourcing being a part of the talent acquisition process, the term is frequently used interchangeably with recruiting. The main difference between sourcing and recruiting is which timeframe is emphasized: the short term or the long term. Recruiters’ main focus is to find the right hires as quickly as possible so they can hit their deadlines. This means that they tend to quickly screen candidates to create their shortlist without interacting much, if at all, with the rejected ones.
Sourcing professionals, on the other hand, are more hands-on. They focus more on human interactions, building a relationship with each candidate, even if they don’t end up filling the position. The goal is to have each candidate leave with a positive impression of the business, so they’re likely to remain interested if a position that better suits them opens up in the future.
What is Reputation Management?
Reputation management is a strategy aimed at creating or maintaining a positive image for your business. It assures that your best foot is always put forward, so that potential candidates get excited to work for you. The last thing you want is for them to turn around and look toward your competitors because of how you’re perceived among job seekers. Reputation management is mostly a digital strategy, as the main areas you want to target are social media, job sites with company reviews and forums.
Think of it this way: would you want to work for a company that’s known for being a step slow on innovating and stingy with its benefits? Probably not. If you know of any businesses that fit this description, chances are they’ve been neglecting their reputation management.
It can be difficult to combat a negative reputation, but you’ll never be able to attract the best talent if their first thought about your business is negative. Just taking a few proactive steps can kickstart a reputation management strategy. After working on it for a while, you should be able to change how candidates view your brand. And once that happens, the reward will be well worth it.
What is an Employer Brand?
Your employer brand is just as important as your customer-facing brand. It’s the result of your reputation management, as how well you manage your reputation affects your employer brand. You obviously want to build a strong, positive employer brand; one where job seekers view you as a cutting-edge company with a positive working environment.
Your employer brand also helps influence your culture when it comes to extracurricular interests. For example, if you build your brand so it appears to be full of a bunch of skiers, you’re likely to attract people who buy $650 ski passes every year. Similarly, if you build your brand by promoting your monthly volunteering activities, you’ll likely attract people who are philanthropically inclined.
What is Poaching Talent?
Don’t worry, talent acquisition doesn’t hurt the wild tiger population. Poaching is a term (some might even call it a strategy) that involves stealing the best talent from your competitors. After all, what better way to simultaneously weaken your competition and strengthen yourself? Of course it can go both ways; you can poach talent, or your own talent can be poached. To avoid this, competing businesses occasionally enact a no poaching agreement that ensures an arms race for talent doesn’t happen.