What is talent acquisition?

Photo of a woman in a yellow shirt sitting near a plant

Talent acquisition is both a philosophy and a collection of best practices based on the belief that talent (the people who work for a company) are the key to its success and competitive advantage. This holistic approach doesn’t see hiring as a transaction but rather as a relationship that builds over time. There are several activities that can fall under the larger talent acquisition umbrella, including:


Recruitment vs. talent acquisition

You’ll often see the terms “recruitment” and “talent acquisition” used interchangeably. These terms are quite similar in that they refer to the practice of hiring, but there is an important distinction. “Recruitment” generally focuses on the immediate, transactional approach of filling an open role. “Talent acquisition,” on the other hand, is about the bigger picture – the longer-term strategies and systems that allow you to attract talent to your organization. Your talent acquisition strategy might involve things like sourcing, employee referrals, talent pools and employer branding efforts. As the talent landscape has evolved, workers now have more choice and access to information and most companies find that the traditional recruitment approach is no longer enough. If they’re serious about making their company innovative and successful, they need to prioritize and invest in a talent acquisition strategy.


How to develop a talent acquisition strategy

There’s a curve that companies climb as they improve their hiring process – we call it the Greenhouse Hiring Maturity™ curve. Where your company sits on this curve answers the questions we hear most frequently in working with thousands of companies, including:

  • How are we doing?
  • What are we doing that’s better or worse than everyone else?
  • What can we do to get better?


Understanding the Hiring Maturity curve can help you determine the right talent acquisition strategy for your organization. Here’s a quick overview of each stage:

Stage 1: Chaotic – Hiring is difficult and only happens when it needs to

Stage 2: Inconsistent – There might be bright spots where hiring is working, but they’re the exceptions rather than the rule

Stage 3: Systematic – Organizations have their act together and their hiring machine is reliable

Stage 4: Strategic – Organizations have the measurements, automation and continuous improvement that allow them to hire great talent at will


Take the Greenhouse Hiring Maturity assessment here
. You can learn more about the Hiring Maturity curve and how to develop the four competencies in the Talent Makers book.

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