Talent acquisition, recruiting and employer branding are terms that are often put together and sometimes used as synonyms; however, these are disciplines quite definite from each other, both for the objectives they pursue and for the tools they work with.

In this article we do not want to limit ourselves to providing didactic definitions, but to go into the merits of each term, providing concrete examples.

Talent acquisition: what is it and why is it so important?

When we talk about Talent Acquisition, we refer to an overall long-term strategy, aimed at attracting skills and talents, with the objective of having a quality talent pool available.
The question is: do we currently have this talent pool available? A positive answer probably involves planning a strategy upstream of the recruitment process; if this were not the case, we would be faced with one-shot and unmeasured recruiting activities, guided in the absence of defined strategic drivers.

Talent Acquisition is by definition part of a wider digital transformation process in the HR sector.
These are two spheres which must, out of necessity, be in symbiosis with each other and maintain a constant communication flow; the connection and integration of the entire supply chain is fundamental in a digital transformation process (individual sub-strategies cannot live on their own).
A concrete example? Think of a Talent Acquisition strategy that includes the use of an ATS, which is unable to communicate with the corporate HCM. This would entail a huge dispersion of information and a consequent non-optimization of processes.

Recruiting: definition and examples

Recruiting is a contingent action: I need one or more professional skills, I open a search, I select the profiles online and I end the process.

From a theoretical point of view, the substantial difference between Recruiting and Talent Acquisition is that the first one takes place in a defined time and plans short-term activities, the second refers to an ongoing process that takes place over the long term.

Also, in this circumstance, the two entities cannot be considered separately. The risk is that of setting up one-shot recruiting activities, – disconnected from each other – in response to a contingent need, which, even if well structured, do not give continuity or added value to my overall talent acquisition strategy.

The most common example? Career days. Let’s assume to organize a career day for the opening of a store – recruiting contextual to a contingent need – and to manually collect the paper CVs of the participants. A consolidated and apparently functional modus operandi; if you do not consider the possibility in which, in the future, you could need more profiles after opening the store.

At best, I should look at the CVs from the beginning, relying on a good memory of the recruiters and an excellent organization of the files (still recording a significant waste of time and resources); otherwise, I would have to start my research from the beginning.
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Employer branding: “all that glitters is not gold”

Employer Branding includes short-term activities and long-term strategies. It is about the ability to make one’s reality perceive attractive in order to push people to want to be part of it.
If we plan our actions strategically, considering all the factors involved and setting specific objectives, we are doing Employer Branding; on the contrary, simply supporting them with a contextual recruiting activity risks reducing the effectiveness of the entire process.

We see also in this case a concrete example: the platforms for video recruiting are now inflated; functional to the individual recruitment activity, they undoubtedly contribute to creating a positive employer branding. However, if these activities are not included in an instrument capable of managing the entire supply chain (such as a CV database), they risk being non-structures and repetitive.

The same problem could arise in a multiposting activity. In fact, multiposting also has a dual utility: on the one hand it is functional to the recruiting process and on the other it is very useful as an employer branding action. However, if multiposting cannot rely on the solidity of an HR software, the risk is that the applications received remain scattered in the various job portals and must be collected and processed individually by the recruiter. An activity therefore not optimized and which is not part of a strategic planning.

In conclusion, the absence of strategy in the activities does not make them an end in themselves, but implies an increase in work and resources necessary for them to acquire value.
On the contrary, the direct consequence of a good strategy is the growth of the organization’s assets.