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Talent Acquisition Guide: HR’s map to acquire top talent for now and later

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HR personnel across businesses have one common goal – acquiring the best talent from the job market within their budget. Over the years, the approach to talent acquisition in HR has taken various shapes and forms, factored by the talent marketplace, sourcing tools, and workplace culture. Lately, it’s AI-powered data-driven innovations that are disrupting sourcing decision-making. AI sourcing tools are facilitating the development of state-of-the-art products while simplifying and refining existing processes. And it works; that’s why 97% of employers plan to raise their recruitment technology budgets in 2023[1].

This guide to effective talent acquisition elaborates on the key considerations, best practices, and use of AI to find the top talent for your open roles and nurture a candidate pool for future requirements.

Table of contents

What is talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition is the continuous strategic process of finding qualified, skilled, and culture-fit candidates. It also encompasses fostering a pool of passive candidates who might be a fit for future vacancies at the organization.

In their proactive approach to human resource needs, the talent acquisition team consider business goals, budget, rate of attrition, and existing talent pipeline in the business.

Talent acquisition vs. Recruitment: What’s the difference?

Although the terms talent acquisition and recruitment are often used interchangeably, they are inherently different.

  • Recruitment is a short-term plan to fill urgent vacancies. Talent acquisition is a strategic process that focuses more on hiring high-quality candidates than timing and compensation.
  • Recruitment considers what a candidate can currently deliver while acquiring talent ensures every employee is nurtured and given the opportunity to grow with the organization.
  • Talent acquisition often requires HR, marketing, public relations, and operations teams to define the hard and soft skills and learnability of candidates the company needs. Whereas, the recruitment team essentially focuses on the skillset for the open position and immediate return on investments.
  • Employer branding and company culture are important for talent acquisition, while they are of little consequence in recruitment, which focuses on job descriptions and compensation packages.
  • Companies often prefer recruiting formats at the lower levels and acquiring talent for leadership and managerial roles.

Benefits of effective talent acquisition

Since the talent acquisition process considers the entire employee lifecycle, it gives the organization an edge by helping fulfill current requirements and building a pipeline for the future. Here are a few benefits of effective talent acquisition:

Helps prepare for the long term

It can help identify individuals who can potentially engage with the team for the long term and pursue fulfilling careers within the organization. The long-term association of an employee reduces repeated hiring and training requirements, translating to overall cost reduction for the company.

Fosters future security

Strategic talent acquisition helps build a talent pipeline for when the business needs to fill a leadership role. It helps cultivate long-term relationships with high-quality candidates and projects the brand as a desirable place of work. It facilitates hiring in less time as a list of interview-worthy candidates are readily available. The hiring does not have to start from scratch every time a new role is created, or an existing one is vacated.

Strengthens human resource

Talent acquisition by HR teams helps establish clear and mutually beneficial relationships with employees. Clarity on present and future goals helps instill a sense of security and belonging among team members. It drives employee activity and business decisions toward mutual growth. Moreover, when employee ethics resonate with the company culture, it propagates a more coherent team that is focused on common goals.

Provides competitive advantage to the business

Hiring the right talent helps a business to deliver superior quality products and services to clients. This improves customer satisfaction. For any business domain, top talent is absorbed by either an organization or its competitors. An effective talent acquisition strategy helps attract top talent, which gives the business a competitive edge.

Talent acquisition process

Below is a stepwise guide for the talent acquisition process for HRs to make sure they discover and recruit top talent:

Analyze current and expected vacancies

An analysis of organization requirements lays the foundation of a talent acquisition strategy. It takes into account the vision, mission, and values that a candidate must possess to fit the company culture. Further, it helps define the skill set required for different roles. It helps establish the core competencies and responsibilities that a candidate must take over within a stipulated time after onboarding.

Develop ideal candidate persona

Based on the current and expected open roles, talent acquisition HR can develop an ideal candidate persona for each role in the organization. They can define the required qualifications, job skills, people skills, management skills, and experience to filter eligible candidates. They can define must-haves, nice-to-haves, and unsuitable personality traits.

Create job posting asset

Many companies fail to adequately communicate what they are looking for in a candidate, which attracts a lot of unsuitable candidate applications. Maintaining a job posting repository is helpful in avoiding that. Developing a repository of job postings also accelerates the hiring process when the business need arises. AI-driven talent acquisition tools can help create precise job descriptions and assist in posting them on suitable job boards when required.

Determine evaluation criteria

A critical step in talent acquisition is filtering out the right candidates. This can be done by defining clear (and binary, if needed) evaluation criteria for each quality or skill. HR teams can use advanced machine learning-based hiring tools to conduct tests and assess personality traits, cognitive ability, core skills, situational judgment, and work samples as suitable for each role. This not only accelerates the process but also helps streamline candidate pipeline development. This phase can also be used to develop interview questions for each role.

Searching, networking & attracting

Once the role, desired candidate persona, and assessment criteria are defined, it is time to begin searching. Talent acquisition specialists use advanced tools to post jobs on suitable platforms for each role. They activate their recruitment network when the job requirement arises. For instance, campus recruitment may be a good starting point when looking to fill a starting position. Advertising the vacancy on talent networking platforms like LinkedIn or Indeed might be more suitable for mid-level roles.

Additionally, HRs can start leveraging the brand image to attract talent. This requires continuous efforts to establish strong desirability in the talent pool. Here, social media hiring holds a unique spot that acts as a sourcing channel plus an effective site to project a healthy work culture and employee satisfaction.

Sorting of suitable candidates

This is where a powerful talent acquisition software solution can increase productivity by speedily sifting through resumes and filtering candidates based on skillset and persona. AI-driven talent acquisition tools can generate reports and lists of candidates that match job roles. Natural language processing (NLP) tools can also eliminate hiring bias, as they can assess and infer from candidate experience and role descriptions.

Assessments and interviews

The next step is to conduct appropriate evaluations and assess the candidates. New-age talent acquisition tools are equipped with assessment and evaluation capabilities to help expedite recruitment. Several types of tests created through the evaluation criteria generation process can be conducted online and offline. System-generated reports are shared with the HR team to determine the next course of action with the candidate.

Reference check

A reference check is an essential step to ensure that the candidate’s claims are true and that they hold a clean track record. An advanced and well-equipped talent acquisition system connects with cloud-based data warehouses to extract information on qualified candidates.

Hiring and onboarding process

After all the necessary checks and ensuring the candidate fits the company culture and role requirements, it is time to complete the hiring process and onboard the employee. HR management systems enable document collection and orientation of the candidate. This helps boost their confidence and allows them to get settled into the company ecosystem seamlessly.

Talent acquisition strategies

Acquiring talent for diverse job roles with different levels of expertise requires tweaking your talent acquisition process accordingly per the business requirements. Here are the top three talent acquisition strategies that HR managers can use:

Hire in bulk and build talent

This strategy is most suitable for entry-level roles. Companies can hire raw talent and groom them to develop defined career paths. Having an employee grow from the entry-level to higher positions builds a strong internal hierarchy and talent pipeline. Additionally, the business has a complete database of the individual’s competencies and areas of improvement.

Recruit experienced professionals

Experienced professionals can bring in a wealth of knowledge, best practices, experience with the latest tools, and innovative ideas. They understand the industry dynamics and often deliver faster than employees with less experience. Professionals are experts in their domain and help build the discipline of delivering quality with consistency.

Outsource to headhunters

When looking to fill company leadership roles, it is important to look for highly experienced and knowledgeable candidates. Advertising vacancies for higher positions can tarnish the brand image. Further, these specific roles require multiple skills and cross-vertical workflow knowledge. Outsourcing the task of recruiting such industry experts helps reach out to a wider talent pool and may lower hiring time and costs. Outsourcing can help bring in talent that would otherwise not be accessible to the talent acquisition team.

Talent acquisition best practices

Hiring best-in-class talent requires adopting the right techniques. Here are some of the industry’s best practices for acquiring top talent:

Depend on data

Given the extent of data available in the internet era, using analytics is critical to decision-making. It speeds up and refines the process of hiring. Data-driven hiring help in the predictive reporting of candidate behavior to ensure they align with business requirements. Further, it can help estimate employee disengagement levels to make you aware of possible upcoming vacant positions.

Consider workplace diversity

While the nature of work is rapidly changing, so are working settings. This gives the business an opportunity to ensure DEI in workplace (diversity, equity, and inclusion). Additionally, talent acquisition teams that embrace inclusion and diversity make 2X faster and better decisions 87% of the time[2]. This helps project a favorable brand image. A broader range of skills, perspectives, and ideas helps improve the team’s productivity. It fosters a culture of innovation. Also, 55% of job seekers consider diversity a priority when considering a workplace[3].

Invest in employer branding

While 86% of candidates look for brand reviews before applying, 50% say they wouldn’t accept an offer to work for a brand with a poor reputation, even for higher pay[4]. Millennials and Gen-Z employees look for opportunities where their work adds value, not just for the business but also for the greater good of society and the environment. A sense of purpose drives them. This makes projecting a socially and ethically responsible brand image hugely important. Additionally, work-life balance is increasingly becoming one of the top priorities among employees.

Update candidate pipeline

Regularly updating the candidate pipeline helps ensure that your talent pool never dries up. It facilitates hiring the best talent faster as soon as a requirement arises. Further, while a brand plans on expansion, it is critical to have ready pools to access top talent to meet immediate and future business requirements.

Foster a candidate network

Building a candidate network is critical for businesses today. This eliminates the risk of an employee leaving the organization and the position being vacant for a long time. Further, such networks are magnets to attract more high-quality talent. Therefore, a strong candidate network can generate quick and quality leads when the HR team is looking to fill positions.

Talent Management: A step beyond talent acquisition

When you buy something valuable or rare, you ensure it is properly cared for. Similarly, when hiring top talent, an organization must manage them effectively.

The human resources team of an organization has two essential tasks – talent acquisition and talent management. Although in a candidate’s journey, for the HR team, talent management is followed by the talent acquisition process, the two are deeply interconnected because effective talent management facilitates talent acquisition by:

  • strengthening the brand image as a good employer
  • boosting morale and maintaining a healthy work culture
  • improving internal talent engagement, improving productivity, and retention rates
  • aiding in creating a succession pipeline through improved employee loyalty and growth

In addition, satisfied employees actively participate in employee referral programs — a win-win for everyone involved.

How do AI hiring tools help in talent acquisition?

AI hiring tools are equipped with diverse capabilities of assimilating candidate data, filtering and sorting candidates based on skills, experience levels, and other factors, and assisting in streamlining the candidate assessment and hiring process.

Advanced algorithms help develop candidate personas with information on their core, cognitive, and interpersonal skills. They can assess the same and help simplify candidate filtration. Further, systems connected with social media platforms help extract talent from non-traditional sources, which has become increasingly important with the evolving nature of work and workplaces. Candidate assessment chatbots use conversational AI to help conduct virtual interviews. NLP-based assessment modules can evaluate and present candidate reports, saving the recruitment team time and costs.

Talent acquisition software can take over the task of resume parsing, interview scheduling, sending out reminder emails and alerts, generating offer letters, and initiating onboarding after acceptance of the same. They eliminate personal biases, fostering equity and inclusivity.

Thus, AI-based talent acquisition tools help in optimizing talent funnels, making them strategic and low-touch.

Key takeaway

Talent acquisition is the strategic process of identifying and planning for current and future open roles in the organization. Talent acquisition has several benefits, such as improving candidate quality, saving time and cost, and ensuring high productivity. Using AI-driven talent acquisition software can help streamline the process and develop talent pipelines to fill requirements as and when they arise. Advanced talent acquisition software like Arya by Leoforce can help improve hiring ROI and facilitate building the desired work culture. Request a Demo now to see smart AI recruitment in action.



Is talent acquisition different from HR?

Yes, talent acquisition focuses on finding and hiring talent, while HR covers a broader range of employee-related tasks.

What should be in KPI for talent acquisition?

KPIs for talent acquisition may include time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, candidate satisfaction, and quality of hire.

How do you structure a talent acquisition team?

A talent acquisition team can be structured based on roles such as recruiters, sources, coordinators, and managers.

What is the key to a successful talent acquisition team?

A successful talent acquisition team requires collaboration, communication, and alignment with the company’s goals and values.

What is the first step in talent acquisition?

The first step in talent acquisition is defining the position’s requirements and developing a job description.

What are the steps in developing a talent acquisition plan?

Steps in developing a talent acquisition plan include defining goals, identifying sources for candidates, creating job postings, and developing interview processes.

Is talent acquisition an ongoing process?

Yes, talent acquisition is an ongoing process that involves attracting, identifying, and hiring top talent to meet the company’s needs.

What is a talent acquisition policy?

A talent acquisition policy outlines the company’s recruitment practices, including sourcing methods, selection criteria, and equal opportunity policies.



[1] https://www.zippia.com/advice/human-resources-statistics/

[2] https://www.cloverpop.com/hacking-diversity-with-inclusive-decision-making-white-paper

[3] https://www.indeed.com/hire/c/info/benefits-of-diversity

[4] https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/resources/hr-and-recruiting-stats/

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