Talent Acquisition: Definition and Strategies

Talent Acquisition: Definition and Strategies

What do you think are the most important drivers of a company’s success? A great marketing team? Skillful producers? Managers who know how to delegate? While all of these are excellent factors that definitely improve a company’s success, we believe that an effective talent acquisition strategy is the #1 indicator of your business’s success.

In this guide, we will show you what effective talent acquisition looks like, walk you through the steps of creating one, and give you the top strategies.  

What Is Talent Acquisition?

We’ll kick things off with a definition: talent acquisition is a strategy and process of actions used to identify, attract, select, and retain skillful and qualified job candidates. That’s the bare-bones explanation; to gain a deeper understanding, let’s look at the Attraction-Selection-Attrition theory.

This framework indicates that there are three interrelated forces, attraction, selection, and attrition, that form the foundation of talent acquisition.  


Job seekers may apply to a whole array of organizations, but they will only really pursue the companies that they truly want to work for. These companies differentiate themselves based on their employer brand, a strong value proposition, and other factors.


After a job seeker applies for a position, it’s the company’s responsibility to choose candidates that align with the organization and the position itself.


The company will only retain hires who are compatible with the makeup and the characteristics of the organization.

So, how do these forces fit into talent acquisition? Well, talent acquisition’s full purpose is to attract employees, select ones that fit an organization, and retain them with higher productivity and great engagement.

Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment

Recruitment is often used as a synonym for talent acquisition. In many regards, the two terms are the same. However, there is one notable difference: HR talent acquisition is more of a strategic process used to find skillful, qualified employees, whereas recruitment is involved with filling vacancies in an operational manner. In a way, talent acquisition encompasses recruitment, as well as employer branding, recruitment process outsourcing and optimization, and more.

How to Ensure Effective Talent Acquisition

If you want to make sure your talent acquisition strategy is effective, it is necessary to begin by carrying out an overall analysis of your HR department. Regardless of whether HR tasks are outsourced or performed in-house, excellent talent acquisition is dependent upon HR functions that are congruent with your company’s overall business strategy. If your HR strategy is not aligned with your company’s overall strategy, even the best HR managers will fail to develop an effective talent acquisition strategy

The Talent Acquisition Process

Typically, an HR talent acquisition process is comprised of nine steps:

1.     Analyzing organizational needs: This is the foundation of both your strategy and your selection choices. You will translate the company’s vision, goals, mission, and values and transform them into core competencies. This is used to influence your selection criteria.

2.     Approving the job requisition: This is the formal procedure used to request a hire. A requisition document typically explains why the position is needed, whether it is new or existing, the department, the hiring manager, any job duties, the budget, the start date, and any other relevant details.

3.     Vacancy intake: During this step, a job analysis occurs to collect information such as desired skills, qualifications, and competencies of prospective candidates.

4.     Determining the method and criteria of selection: This step takes the vacancy intake into account. There are a large number of possible selection methods to incorporate, such as integrity tests, GMA tests, peer rating, assessment centers, and many more.

5.     Searching and attracting candidates: This is the most visible portion of the HR talent acquisition process. You will focus on gaining the attention of active and passive candidates alike.

6.     Administering the selection methods: After a candidate has applied, you will administer the selection methods that were determined in Step 4.

7.     Making a hiring decision: Once you have selected a candidate, you will make an offer. This phase has the offer acceptance rate as its key metric.

8.     Onboarding: Your aim is to get new hires operational in an efficient manner and to shape their critical first impression of the company.

9.     Evaluation: The candidate will be asked if the job meets their expectations. Any misalignment should be addressed.

Top Strategies for HR Talent Acquisition

When you are planning a talent acquisition process, you need to determine your dominant strategy. There are three types of dominant strategies, known as Make, Buy, and Steal.

When “Make” is your dominant strategy, your organization recruits candidates who don’t have significant relevant work experience and instead enroll them in a development and learning program. Accountant, consulting firms, and banks often use this strategy, and they may offer traineeships to recent college graduates.

The “Buy” strategy is used when you are recruiting highly-qualified, experienced candidates. Typically, your target candidates are working in similar jobs and are ready to move upwards in their careers. In order to sway them towards your organization, you need to have an attractive employer value proposition.

The “Steal” strategy is a bit risky, but it can pay off well. You will headhunt top candidates from your competitors, rather than waiting for the applicants to come to you. If you want to preserve your company’s reputation, we recommend using the services of an external recruiting agency; it may be more costly, but your company’s name will not be associated with poaching practices. This strategy is most often used in high-end law firms and by corporate organizations looking to fill senior roles.

It’s Important!

Our key takeaway for you is that talent acquisition is an incredibly important component of developing a sustainable talent pipeline. By developing an effective strategy, you will be able to identify and hire talent with the right personality and skills to build a lasting career within your business.

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