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Recruiting vs talent acquisition: How they’re different?

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Human Resources

02 February 2023

Recruiting and talent acquisition are two terms that sound similar or even the same. No wonder, they’re often used interchangeably by some people. The main reason can be the fact that both terms share common things. For instance, recruiting and talent acquisition are hiring tactics or processes that aim to hire qualified people to fill a position. However, this doesn’t mean they’re the same!

On the contrary, recruiting and talent acquisition are entirely different things that shouldn’t be mixed. And, we can say that the critical difference between the two comes down to planning. In other words, talent acquisition is a long-term strategy; whereas, recruiting is short-term.

As an HR manager or recruiter, it is important to be aware of this key distinction. However, if you’re still struggling to grasp the difference between these two concepts, just stick around till the end. That’s because in today’s article, we’ll define recruiting vs talent acquisition and how they differ.

Let’s go!

What is recruiting?

Recruiting is a process that contains many steps and stages that primarily aim at finding and hiring the right candidates for the right organizations. I know this definition might be somewhat oversimplified. However, to make matters clearer for you here is a better definition:

Recruiting involves finding, interviewing, and evaluating potential candidates to fill job openings. The goal is to identify the best fit for the position in terms of required skills, background, and compatibility with the company’s culture. This means that the ideal candidate should possess the necessary qualifications and align with the organization's values.

What is talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition is about finding and attracting qualified candidates to fill job openings within a company. It involves identifying, sourcing, recruiting, and hiring new employees. Talent acquisition also includes the development and implementation of strategies and tactics to build a strong talent pipeline. Moreover, It’s a holistic approach to recruiting that not only focuses on filling current job openings, but also on building a diverse and talented workforce - as to ensure the long-term success of a company.

Recruiting vs talent acquisition: what’s the difference?

We’ve already mentioned that recruiting and talent acquisition share common characteristics. However, they’re still different in many ways; thus, they shouldn’t be mixed together. Now, the big question is:

What makes them different?

Again, the key difference that you should keep in mind is that recruiting is a short-term process. Whereas, talent acquisition is a long-term strategy. But, what do we exactly mean by that?

Well, recruiting is a short-term process used to find immediate hires for filling vacancies in a certain company. Meaning, it’s a fast-paced tactic to find qualified candidates to fill certain role/s within an organization. Think of it as a fast solution to deal with vacancies caused by employee turnover or something else.

So, when a company is recruiting, it’s mostly because it needs immediate employees. Thus, recruiting deals with the immediate need for a workforce.

On the other hand, talent acquisition is an ongoing strategy used to attract, identify, and hire top talent for an organization. It includes a variety of practices such as employer branding, sourcing, recruiting, assessment, selection, and onboarding. As you see, acquiring talent is a long-sighted plan designed to find the best people for a company. And, these people should align with the company’s culture, branding, and mission.

Talent acquisition is also about finding qualified candidates that not only fill in a position but also contribute to the overall progress & success of a company. Accordingly, these candidates are usually CEOs, leaders, and decision-makers in general. That’s why they’re critical to the success of an organization.

Short & sweet, talent acquisition and recruiting are related, but they’re different concepts and processes. Acquiring talent is an ongoing process for finding the best employees for an organization. On the other hand, recruiting is about attracting and hiring potential employees to fill in job openings and vacancies.

Accordingly, talent acquisition is a broader process that encompasses tactics and practices to find the best talent. Whereas, recruiting is a sub-process aimed at attracting and hiring potential employees. So, in the bigger picture, recruiting falls within the whole practice of talent acquisition.

Should you focus on recruiting or talent acquisition?

Normally, any successful organization relies on both recruiting and acquiring talent. In fact, both tactics go hand in hand, and each one serves a certain goal. For example, the role of recruiting is to fill vacant roles within an organization as quickly as possible. Accordingly, it serves a short-term goal, which is filling in vacancies to keep the company going.

So, recruiting is effective to deal with employees leaving your company, retirement, and promotion. Simply, it ensures that organizations never run out of the necessary workforce to keep operating.

On the other hand, acquiring talent involves identifying, attracting, and engaging individuals who possess the specific skills, experiences, and perspectives required for an organization to achieve its goals.

Unlike traditional hiring practices, which tend to focus on filling immediate vacancies, talent acquisition is a strategic approach that takes into account a wide range of current and future business needs. This allows organizations to proactively build a diverse and highly-skilled workforce that can adapt and evolve as the needs of the business change over time.

Again, talent acquisition works to foster talent for the future needs of a company. Whereas, recruiting is about fulfilling the immediate needs of the company. But, what to focus on?

Well, to succeed and adapt to the constant changes in the business world, companies should adopt a hybrid strategy, combining both recruiting & talent acquisition. This ensures that companies keep operating with the right type of employees while accumulating talent that can improve and contribute to their overall success.

Wrapping up

In short, both recruiting and talent acquisition are important processes to find the best candidates & talent for organizations. Thus, they’re essential for the success of any modern company. Accordingly, companies should have an effective strategy that combines acquiring talent & recruiting - as to ensure that the best talent is being brought on board.