Talent acquisition is the process of finding and acquiring skilled human labor for organizational needs and to meet any labor requirement. When used in the context of the recruiting and HR profession, talent acquisition usually refers to the talent acquisition department or team within the Human Resources department. The talent acquisition team within a company is responsible for finding, acquiring, assessing, and hiring candidates to fill roles that are required to meet company goals and fill project requirements.
Talent acquisition as a unique function and department is a relatively new development. In many companies, recruiting itself is still an indistinct function of an HR generalist. Within many corporations, however, recruiting as a designation did not encompass enough of the duties that fell to the corporate recruiter. A separate designation of talent acquisition was required to meet the advanced and unique functions. Modern talent acquisition is a strategic function of an organization, encompassing talent procurement, but also workforce planning functions such as organizational talent forecasting, talent pipelining, and strategic talent assessment and development.
Talent acquisition is quickly becoming a unique profession, perhaps even distinct from the practice of general recruitment. Talent acquisition professionals are usually skilled not only in sourcing tactics, candidate assessment, and compliance and hiring standards, but also in employment branding practices and corporate hiring initiatives. Talent acquisition as a function has become closely aligned with marketing and PR as well as Human Resources. As global organizations need to recruit globally with disparate needs and requirements, effective recruiting requires a well thought out corporate messaging around hiring and talent development. Talent acquisition professionals often craft the unique company message around the approach the company takes to hiring and the ongoing development of employees. The employment brand therefore encompasses not only the procurement of human capital, but the approach to corporate employee development. The unique needs of large companies especially to recruit and hire as well as attract top talent led to the development of a unique talent acquisition practice and career.
Recruiting professionals often move between agency recruiting and corporate recruitment positions. In most organizations, the recruitment roles are not dissimilar: the recruitment role is responsible for sourcing talent and bringing qualified candidates to the company. However, modern talent acquisition is becoming a unique skill-set. Because talent acquisition professionals many times also handle post-hire talent issues, such as employee retention and career progression, the talent acquisition role is quickly becoming a distinct craft. Some recruitment industry advisors even advocate for a talent department unique from the HR department, because talent acquisition and development is so intertwined with a company’s ultimate success and effectiveness.
As a craft, talent acquisition is of course not new; it is the simple process of recruiting good talent to meet company needs. As a profession, however, talent acquisition is quickly evolving into a unique and important job function.