The Differences Between Recruiting and Talent Acquisition

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When organizations reach out to True North HR Consulting for talent-related services, they often ask, “what is talent acquisition, and how does it differ from recruitment?” If you’re unfamiliar with the methodology, don’t worry, you’re far from alone! Today, not only will we provide the answer to this question, but we’ll also dive deeper into recruitment and talent acquisition best practices.

What is the Difference Between Recruitment and Talent Acquisition?

Recruitment is a dedicated process involving the creation of roles. It also focuses on filling those roles with ideal candidates. Talent acquisition concentrates entirely on the strategy of appealing to, finding, and connecting with those candidates in the long term. Talent acquisition is a separate process that enables recruitment to succeed and helps set hiring standards within an organization. In short, you can’t properly fill a role without both pieces of the hiring puzzle.

Think of your acquisition strategy as building a foundation, which may be softer and looser if less refined. Recruitment is the structure built on that foundation, relying on your acquisition strategy to succeed. Don’t be an organization that builds on shifting sands but on concrete, reliable processes. Your team will stand strong, resilient, and better retained.

What do we mean by this? Well, with the right process refinements and best practices, everything from drafting job descriptions to vetting and background screening, interviewing, onboarding, and training is more data-driven and informed. This means that the chances of success for the chosen candidate within the role are increased, especially if your culture is supportive, equality-focused, and provides them with what they need to thrive. That is why recruitment and acquisition go hand in hand. They are not the same thing.

When Should You Recruit?

Recruitment leans on established talent acquisition strategies to quickly fill roles with the best possible candidates based on what the available data, internal processes, and applicant pools can provide. These three elements can be refined and expanded through continued talent acquisition optimizations. If you’re seeing high turnover and a lack of employee retention or morale, you shouldn’t focus on raw recruitment; you should fix your talent acquisition strategy first. Organizations typically use the recruitment process when hiring for a vacant role that already exists, requiring less legwork and data to make an informed decision.

When is Talent Acquisition Best?

Talent acquisition typically involves planning and preventative measures to streamline the hiring process, making it easier to fill all-new roles without overlooking critical details. For instance, your acquisition strategy for specialist roles should be competitive, portraying an understanding of operational standards and process refinements that make your organization more appealing to ideal candidates. After all, any employment relationship is a two-way street. Talent acquisition strategies are also crucial when a company is growing, as it can be easy to skip necessary steps that help inform recruitment.

How to Move from Recruiting to Talent Acquisition

Some companies start with a talent acquisition strategy when they are first established, helping to set a standard for all future hires. However, this strategy should be regularly updated to keep up with the organization and team’s ever-changing needs, compliance requirements, and operating capacity. 

There are several ways to shift from raw recruitment to a well-refined, up-to-date, and future-facing talent acquisition strategy that informs the former. These include marketing your brand and clearly communicating value to prospective candidates. Social media marketing, a dedicated careers page detailing a day in the life at the organization, a list of all benefits, posting salary ranges with every role, and posting on job boards (including LinkedIn and Indeed) are other approaches that are well worth taking. The more relevant you are to skilled professionals and specialists, the less likely you are to encourage a Jack of all trades candidate. This helps every position stand out as something unique, with everyone better enabled to truly shine in their role if matched with care and consideration. 

Many of the best hires are often made possible by referrals and networking, which is why fostering a supportive, healthy, and equality-driven workplace culture is crucial. Ensure that folks want to work within your walls, not have to. In addition, you should set up a program that rewards employees for referring others to you for open roles. The same goes for employees who recognize the need for additional hires in their designated department. 

How to Create a Talent Acquisition Funnel

To optimize and refine your talent acquisition process, you must first establish the funnel or journey. This can consist of as many stages as you see fit. However, try not to overdo it as you may overwhelm team members or bog down the hiring process, delaying things when you need to hire sooner rather than later. 

Here are some examples of stages that can be used in your talent acquisition funnel:

Role Awareness (Internal Facing)

Does recruitment have sound, up-to-date knowledge of what is required for specific roles and departments? If not, now’s the time to educate them. Role awareness affects everything from creating summaries and responsibilities in job postings to the types of questions asked during candidate interviews. Strong role awareness makes it easier to identify which candidates are best suited for the position(s) in question and whether additional training is required to bring them up to speed. 

Brand Awareness (External Facing)

Not only should your team understand from within how specific roles work before attempting to fill them, but your ideal candidates also need to get to know your organization as “outsiders.” As discussed earlier, this involves marketing your brand in a manner that is less like sales-speak and more informative and insightful. The last thing you want is to try to fill a role and advertise open positions but not give applicants any information on what you’ll provide them in return for their hard work, the culture, or your expectations of the position. This stage may also be referred to as educating the target audience.  


Background checks. Sample readthroughs and portfolio consultations. Thoughtful discussions and findings based on interview experiences. Ironically, these all play a role in vetting for the position in question. Being both risk-aware and well-informed about what you require of an individual can help to gauge whether they are the right fit.

Data-Driven Decisions

After consulting the findings, employment histories, references, interview feedback, and other data points,  comes the stage of narrowing down candidates. If you are hiring for a hyper-niche role that requires laser-precise certification and qualifications, such as an executive-level position or a specialist responsible for complex technical tasks, then you need to be able to lean on your requirements in coming to a final decision. 

Get Started with True North HR

In conclusion, the more effort, resources, and energy you put into your hiring processes, marketing, and educating teams, the more effective the process will be. This is especially true if your data is solid and guesswork is minimized. 

Consider us at True North HR for assistance in acquiring and recruiting the best possible talent for your open or newly created roles. Our dedicated services put people first, and we’d be delighted to help you unlock the potential of your business. Contact us today to get started!