Understanding Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment in 2022

by Sandra Jenkins

Having the best people is one of the most critical initiatives that a company must continually undertake. Finding and keeping the best talents for your company is a vital undertaking.

Thus, you need to utilize the best strategies for the positions you want to fill.

Two of the most common terms thrown around are talent acquisition and recruitment. While they are commonly used interchangeably, they have a definite difference. And how your company executes either of these strategies might just spell success for any initiatives involving people.

This article will discuss the differences in the definition and execution of these two crucial concepts so that you can apply their best practices to your organization.

Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment

Although both terms are used interchangeably, talent acquisition vs. recruitment has clearly-defined differences.

They are both approaches to finding and retaining talent, but they differ in several key points.

Moreover, they are both tools to be used depending on your need. Neither approach is objectively better than the other. Instead, they both have their uses depending on what kinds of positions you wish to fill, what business situation you find yourself in, and your company goals.

To better illustrate the key differences between the two, let’s discuss each approach in more detail.

What is Recruitment?

Recruitment is a subset of talent acquisition and is all about getting as many warm bodies into open positions as fast as possible.

Job seekers know recruitment to be a mass-hiring drive; companies hire for many open positions across multiple levels. While recruitment does not eschew the quality of talents you might attract, it also balances product quality with numerous other factors such as time and cost.

Recruitment is a tool that should be used based on specific needs: it shouldn’t comprise all of your company’s policies for getting new people.

In that respect, here are the pros and cons of recruitment.

Advantages of Recruitment

Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment

Why do companies use recruitment, and what are its benefits? Let’s discuss these elements in the following section.


The main advantage of recruitment is the speed at which it can fill new positions. Recruitment taps into a well-known resource of job applicants and seeks to entice as many people to apply in the hopes of hiring and retaining the best of them all.

Thus, it can quickly fill positions that need filling in the short to mid-term, helping reduce downtime and decrease time to productivity.


The recruitment process is very sensitive to cost, seeking to hire the best possible talent while ensuring that books are still balanced.

Plus, you get just as much as you put in. In the best case, this allows you to see the product of the time and resources that you poured into that initiative.

Reactive Problem-Solving

If you have a productivity issue that needs to be addressed, recruitment is one of the best ways to solve that problem.

For example, when teams and departments suffer the loss of productivity from a skill gap, recruitment is a pretty solid and reliable way of mitigating that productivity loss by hiring someone.

When those job positions are filled, the company can expect to solve the problem of skill loss and thus improve productivity in a relatively short time and low cost.

Disadvantages of Recruitment

However, recruitment is a situational tool: it shouldn’t be the only strategy you rely on to acquire the best employees for the job. Here are the main limitations of this strategy.


While it’s true that recruitment balances the quality of hires to some degree, the recruitment process alone doesn’t determine the quality of the hire.

This quality standard needs to be determined at a higher level, which entails having a comprehensive plan, budget, and ongoing initiatives to attract the best hires. That is to say, the moment you start recruiting, you will automatically set the limitations on the quality of talent that you will get.

Improving these limitations doesn’t fall under the recruitment process because recruitment itself is a fast-paced and reactive strategy that falls into place when needed.


You can’t hire forever.

There are specific time limits when recruiting, and going beyond those limits usually means that your recruitment efforts will fail to be effective. When recruitment goes on for too long, it may mean that you’re bleeding money, suffering from loss in productivity and morale, or will take a blow to your employer’s brand.

Possibility of Failure

Recruitment is a momentary solution to an hour-of-need problem. While it fixes current issues, recruitment alone doesn’t allow you to plan for the future and the direction of your company.

In some instances, ineffective recruitment may even create more problems than solutions, such as in the following cases.

  • When it is used unnecessarily. Recruitment isn’t the only way to fill a gap; internal mobility and employee enrichment can also fulfill the need depending on your circumstances.
  • When it failed to deliver a candidate fit for the job. In rare instances, standard recruitment just doesn’t yield a candidate qualified enough in the time allotted.
  • When recruitment delivers the wrong hire. Ultimately, the factors that recruitment teams balance during the process (time, cost, etc.) can lead to wrong decisions and bad hires, which can cost your company in the long run.

When Should You Use Recruitment?

Because of these advantages and disadvantages, companies should use recruitment to maximize their potential and reduce the chances of disadvantages happening.

Thus, there are specific instances when recruitment is the best course of action, such as the following.

  • Urgent job vacancies. Companies with urgent and unexpected job vacancies need to utilize recruitment strategies to fill these demands with as little loss of productivity as possible.
  • Expansion. When companies expand with a new location or department, they must fill open positions as quickly as possible to make it in time for its launch.
  • High-turnover positions. Low to mid-level positions with an expected high turnover rate have recruitment first on their list to acquire the right people. Such functions include food service staff, retail workers, manufacturing, etc.

What is Talent Acquisition?

Unlike recruitment, talent acquisition is not a linear process.

Instead, it is more like an overarching policy, your overall plan to get, keep, and manage the best people for your company. It doesn’t just seek to fill open positions but also to plan for future needs, develop current skills, and design robust processes.

Talent acquisition is not just a stop-gap tool like recruitment: it’s a long-term operation that dictates your attitudes towards your hiring needs.

This process prioritizes quality above many other things and seeks to utilize company resources to ensure that its current and future human capital is on a path towards positive growth.

Like recruitment, talent acquisition also has its benefits and limitations.

Advantages of Talent Acquisition


Instead of being reactive, talent acquisition is proactive.

It doesn’t wait for trends, needs, and problems to solve. Instead, planning for talent acquisition means that you’re assertively planning to build towards your business goals. This entails the following actions.

  • Designing processes
  • Deciding on HR growth policies
  • Allocating resources
  • Delegating primary responsibilities
Designed for Quality

In contrast to recruitment, talent acquisition is explicitly designed for quality.

This is because if you have a comprehensive talent acquisition plan, it gives your recruitment a fertile medium to bloom. A good strategy means that you have already cultivated talent networks, built up a strong employer brand, and designed processes and policies to make your candidate selection seamless.

Thus, when the need arises, and recruitment has to be conducted, your recruiting teams will find that they have a robust network of potential candidates to tap.

This way, talent acquisition is designed for quality rather than expediency.

Long-Term Solution

Talent acquisition is a long-term, cyclical process designed to bring your organization ever closer to its business goals. While recruitment seeks to solve problems in the present, talent acquisition is your plan for the future.

Continuous Growth

Because of the previously-mentioned quality, talent acquisition ensures that your company will have continuous growth.

Designing your talent acquisition strategy is iterative;  every new process is an improved version of the past.

For example, suppose a current recruitment strategy fails to deliver the quality that you expect, and you don’t want it to be repeated in the future. In that case, your talent acquisition plan has to improve by solving the problems your recruiting strategy faces now.

This way, talent acquisition means creating a dynamic environment of continuous growth.

Disadvantages of Talent Acquisition

Inability to React

Talent acquisition is future-oriented; it can’t make snap changes to answer a definite moment’s need.

No matter how much you plan, there will always be situations when a situation outside of your expectations develops. These problems might be an unexpected resignation or loss of senior-level management, physical or financial disasters, and the like.

In those cases, it’s best to rely on short-term, stop-gap measures such as recruitment to improve productivity.

Long-Term Gains

Changes in your talent acquisition strategy won’t create immediate payoffs.

One of the main disadvantages of this strategy is that it is not as agile as linear processes, such as recruitment. Instead, changes to talent acquisition often take the form of trickle-down effects manifested over specific periods — for example, the better quality of recruits when the next recruitment drive is conducted.

When Should You Use Talent Acquisition?

Every organization must have a talent acquisition strategy — the difference should only be a matter of degree.

That said, organizations need to have a robust talent acquisition strategy because it’s the primary way they engage with the world to attract the best employees to the fold.

Difference Between Recruitment and Talent Acquisition

We’ve extensively discussed the differences between recruitment and talent acquisition, and we now know their advantages and disadvantages.

But in which points do they differ? This section will summarize the differences in five key areas: output quality, status, activity trait, cost, and time.

  • Output quality. Talent acquisition focuses on creating the highest quality output possible, while recruitment has certain limitations depending on the situation.
  • Cost. Recruitment works under limitations of the current budget, so we have to balance hire quality and recruitment time to the cost of lost resources and productivity. In contrast, talent acquisition as a whole tends to have a significantly higher limit.
  • Activity Trait. Talent acquisition is proactive; it plans and executes initiatives, while the recruitment process reacts to a current need.
  • Status. Recruitment is static and linear: once a recruitment plan is put into motion, little can be done to change the output without disrupting the process significantly. Talent acquisition is dynamic because it is ever-evolving and ever-improving.
  • Time. Talent acquisition prioritizes the long term, while recruitment is a short-term response.

Why is Talent Acquisition Important?

Recruitment is integral to any organization’s talent efforts, but the whole talent acquisition strategy should take precedence.

While you will undoubtedly need to conduct the recruitment process, everything will naturally fall into place with just a little bit of work when you have a robust talent acquisition framework. On the other hand, if you conduct a recruitment drive without a talent acquisition plan to guide you, the initiative will not be as effective as it can be.

More than that, we are currently living in times of change.

The job market has always been dynamic, but it’s only now that worldwide situations result in sweeping changes to our daily lives and the economy.

It’s safe to say that we’re currently on uncharted territory, and economies are founded on stability. Large institutions and industries often don’t know what’s about to happen, much less how to react properly.

These factors combine to create a perfect storm, wherein talent competition is fiercer than ever.

In this light, employers can’t afford to have a static and reactive playbook; they should be pro-active and dynamic. A significant amount of time and resources must be leveraged not just to survive but to get ahead of the competition.

Talent acquisition takes much more work than simply hiring new positions every once in a while, but its benefits will continue to be valuable for longer.

How to Do Talent Acquisition Correctly

Talent acquisition is essential for the long-term advancement of your organization, but how can you implement your very own talent acquisition strategy?

While this is mainly a subjective and highly-level process, there are a couple of general guides that you can follow, which we will discuss in this section.

Step 1. Identify Relevant Company Goals

Like most things, the very first thing you need to do is identify your goals.

Talent acquisition is mainly a future-oriented strategy, and you can’t have that without a direction. Looking at which company goals you’re looking to meet with this strategy is one of the best ways to do this.

Zooming in on the goals will tell you precisely what you need to do by focusing on the direction that matters most.

Step 2. Do An Inventory

Now that you have a general plan, you need to back it up with proper and detailed research. This step entails doing an inventory of your current assets and predicting how they might affect your future.

One of the most valuable methods for this is workforce segmentation.

This method organizes your current workforce to help you understand their roles and how they relate to each other.

However, that’s not the only thing you have to keep in mind. You also have to keep in mind the following factors.

  • Your current skill gaps.
  • Local and global labor markets.
  • Future goals and initiatives of the company.

Step 3. Polish Your Employer Brand

A solid employer brand is more important than ever and critical in your talent acquisition strategy.

No matter how or to who you reach out, it’s unlikely that they will respond in kind if you have a bad or unknown employee brand — especially in this super-competitive environment. If your business is not recognized in your industry, your talent acquisition plan will continuously be operating at a deficit.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to build an employer brand in today’s day and age, such as.

  • Utilize social media to give a public face to your company.
  • Design a top-notch website and career page.
  • Create systems that ensure a hassle-free recruitment process.

Step 4. Create a System to Identify and Nurture Talent

Once you have everything else in place, you can now start reaching out to talents that will help you achieve your business goals and fit your employee’s needs.

In this stage, it’s best to implement a system to standardize how your recruiters reach out and create relationships; otherwise, the success of that particular talent will depend solely on the skill of the person in charge.

While this isn’t necessarily bad, creating a system that makes skilled networkers is more efficient in the long run.

Step 5. Design a Talent Pipeline

A big part of your talent management system is a candidate-centered pipeline. Even if you’ve built a robust network, candidates will likely lose interest if the application process is complicated and waste plenty of their time.

Thus, it’s integral to standardize a seamless application process that will impress your candidates and encourage candidate experience.

Step 6. Monitor Relevant Metrics and Analytics

Lastly, monitoring and evaluation should be part of any talent acquisition strategy. Metrics allow you to put numbers to your performance and evaluate how you’re coming along, making it easy to improve or revise the plan if they fail to get you to your goals.

Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment: Wrap-Up

In the conversation of talent acquisition vs. recruitment, it can’t be denied that each has its own uses, but it’s undeniable that your talent acquisition plan should take precedence over the other. It allows you to prepare for your future while keeping your organization’s growth in mind.

One of the most crucial aspects of launching a successful talent acquisition campaign is planning, and your managers can’t do this if they’re strapped for time doing other things.

Using a recruitment and analytics tool like Hirenest can simplify most of the recruitment process, allowing your teams to save time and apply it to higher-level initiatives such as your talent acquisition strategy.

You don’t have to test anything else or go through trial and error of the best products with Hirenest. If this sounds like what you’re looking for, contact us now!

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Heading Title

© 2022 Hirenest