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Attracting Top Talent
Talent Acquisition: What It Is and How to Do It
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Talent acquisition is a crucial process in your organization. Involving the identification and hiring of promising, skilled individuals, generally for high-level, often executive roles, it makes the recruitment process proactive and focuses on big-picture organizational strategy, setting up businesses for long-term success. 

What does talent acquisition involve, and how do professionals become successful at it? Read on to learn all about this field and why it’s so important.

What is talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition is the process of identifying and onboarding highly skilled employees who meet the needs of organizations. Often, there is a dedicated talent acquisition team in an organization that finds candidates, generally within the human resources (HR) department. A talent acquisition team may include recruiters, HR specialists and managers, sourcers and others. 

Roles and responsibilities 

Talent acquisition specialists and teams work with hiring managers and other key personnel to identify staffing needs, facilitate the recruitment process and search for new avenues of finding talents. General responsibilities including sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, participating in the hiring process and sometimes onboarding new hires

Successful talent acquisition specialists must have strong communication and analytical skills. They also must be comfortable putting themselves out there to attract new talent — essentially, they need to be “people” people.

Day-to-day tasks involve:

• Discussing talent needs with hiring managers, executives and other key personnel within organizations and creating and receiving guidelines for which candidates will meet their needs.

• Working with human resources and other departments to facilitate the talent acquisition process.

• Sourcing candidates via job postings, LinkedIn and other avenues.

• Reviewing resumes, cover letters and applications to screen candidates.

• Attending industry events. 

Purpose in an organization

Talent acquisition in its simplest form aims to fulfill the talent needs for a given organization. 

Often confused with recruiting, the two functions are related but not identical. Job recruiting tends to be a shorter-term process that seeks to fill immediate openings, while talent acquisition is part of an overall business strategy that accounts for the long-term needs and goals of the organization. 

Furthermore, talent acquisition tends to refer to the process of acquiring high-level executives and leaders with specific skill sets to shape the direction of the organization. Generally, these positions require specific experience and training.

Talent acquisition process

1. Create the job description.

Working with the hiring manager, human resources, the talent acquisition team and others, you will write a job description that includes relevant keywords, lays out the fundamental requirements and responsibilities of the role in question and identifies important skills and attributes the successful candidate will have. This description won’t just be used for job ads; you’ll also use it as a reference when you’re networking.

2. Source and attract leads.

Place the job description on job boards, LinkedIn and other social media networks, forums, communities and other avenues. Use advertising, company referrals, resume databases and more. You’ll also want to attend industry events and network with people in the field to network and spread the word about the needs of your organization or client. 

From these sources, you should be able to find and identify prospective candidates for the role. 

3. Recruit candidates.

You’ll need to position your company brand, the benefits you offer and other perks of working for the organization in a way that will make candidates want to work there. Your interview and hiring process should make candidates see your organization and brand in a positive light. After all, even candidates who don’t receive a job offer could very well be viable contenders for future openings or know others who could be good fits, so talent acquisition specialists should work to maintain relationships across the industry. 

4. Screen and interview candidates.

Part of your role will be performing the pre-interview screening, assessing whether preliminary candidates who you’ve sourced or who have applied for the role are good fits (of course, you’ve narrowed down your list to a pool of potentially qualified interviewees already). Your questions will assess the candidates’ potential fit with the organization and whether the candidates have the basic skills necessary for the job. You also might conduct skills tests and other assessments to evaluate specific competencies necessary for the role in question. 

5. Narrow down the pool of candidates. 

After you’ve screened candidates, you’ll narrow down the pool to the ones who will have interviews with the hiring manager. You may conduct several rounds of preliminary interviews before the hiring manager becomes involved and routinely fill her in on what’s going on at every stage of the process.

6. Evaluate finalists.

Just as in most hiring processes, at every stage, you’ll narrow down the pool of candidates until you have a handful of strong contenders. From there, you’ll likely evaluate the finalists as a team with the hiring manager and other important players, check references and use other performance measures to make your final decision. 

7. Extend the job offer.

You may or may not be involved in extending and negotiating job offers (often, it will be an HR specialist), but you’ll still play a role in facilitating a smooth transition and onboarding the new hire. 

8. Always hone your brand.

No matter what specific role you’re trying to fill at a given time, a crucial aspect of talent acquisition is making your brand appealing to prospective hires and others. Make sure any and all recruitment and advertising materials convey the benefits (both literal and figurative) of working for the organization, including a strong company culture, perks and other positive attributes. The goal is to make your organization one people seek out and a place where people want to work. 

Talent acquisition vs. talent management

While talent acquisition is the process of sourcing, attracting and hiring new talent, talent management involves the management, development and retention of employees. 

This might involve offering employee training programs, incentives and other measures to essentially keep employees happy, as well as looking for ways to grow and nurture talent within the organizations. Specific incentives and plans might include:

• Coaching and employees

• Improving the internal company hire process

• Offering perks to keep employees motivated

Want to learn more? See our employer solutions.

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