Talent Sourcing and Acquisition

Talent Sourcing and Acquisition: Meaning, Difference and Tips to Follow in 2023

Published on February 2nd, 2023


Many individuals perceive the concepts of talent sourcing and acquisition as the same, but firms that tend to look at the bigger picture understand that there is a considerable difference between the two. While they do share some characteristics, many aspects of their hiring tactics are less than identical.

So, what is the difference between talent sourcing and acquisition? Which one should you use for your organization? In this article, we’ll help you understand the basic concept of Talent sourcing and acquisition, learn some key differences and similarities between the two, and in the end, we’ll provide you with some great tips on how to better your sourcing and acquisition skills.

What is Talent Sourcing?

Talent sourcing, also commonly referred to as candidate sourcing, is one of the first stages of the recruitment life cycle. Its primary objective is to build a steady pool of professionals capable of efficiently filling job vacancies in an organization. The procedure includes conducting research and locating culturally relevant and ideally skilled employees who are qualified to fulfill the assigned jobs and responsibilities.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines talent sourcing as “The proactive search for qualified job candidates for current or planned open positions; it is not the reactive function of reviewing resumes and applications sent to the company in response to a job posting or pre-screening candidates. The goal of sourcing is to collect relevant data about qualified candidates, such as names, titles, and job responsibilities.”

So, what is the goal of talent sourcing? It is simple: finding high-quality prospects of course! Talent sourcers are out in the world digging for rare gems or better yet, talent mining. They want their best candidates to become applicants. The objective is to have a consistent talent pipeline that operates all year round. Talent sourcers are attempting to identify quality candidates among the crowd and push them into the front end of the recruitment process. A steady influx of high-skilled workers assures the firm a competitive edge on any hiring obstacle. They know how to find the proper individuals whenever they require them.

The fundamental goal of talent sourcing

  1. Build a valuable database of potential candidates.
  2. Working toward the goal of converting candidates into applicants
  3. Create a talent pipeline that helps the organization all year round.
  4. Maintain a steady flow of highly skilled individuals to avoid frequent recruitment obstacles.

What is Talent Acquisition?

Talent acquisition is the process of actively recruiting and employing outstanding talent for a company. This process often entails a more thorough screening of individuals, which includes resume evaluations, interviews, reference checks, and background verification. It is a strategic process that identifies an organization's future hiring needs, particularly for leaders, and other highly talented individuals, and then employs the most successful strategies for locating, recruiting, hiring, and developing eligible candidates. Talent acquisition also entails assessing the components of the hiring process and adjusting them to coincide with the organization's objectives.

In other words, it is a planned and organized set of actions that the Human resource (HR) department must undertake to recruit and retain the best employees within a firm.

The fundamental goals of Talent acquisition

  1. Developing a successful hiring strategy, managing candidate-employer relationships, building an employer brand, creating a talent pool, and getting the best individuals through strategic sourcing.
  2. Provide a more in-depth view of the company's goals, needs, and strategies during the hiring process.
  3. Calculates long-term implications for the corporation and overall build strategies that will help the company create an effective and efficient work environment.

Now that we've covered the fundamentals of both the concept, let's dig deeper into the distinctions and commonalities between talent sourcing and talent acquisition.

Talent Sourcing VS Talent Acquisition: Differences and Similarities

The Striking Differences: Talent Sourcing and Acquisition

DifferencesTalent SourcingTalent Acquisition
DefinitionThe process of identifying and attracting potential candidates for specific job positions or roles.The complete process of finding, attracting, and hiring the right candidates for specific job positions or roles.
ObjectiveTo create a pool of potential candidates for future job openings.To fill immediate job openings with qualified candidates.
ScopeFocused on candidate identification and initial engagement.Encompasses the entire hiring process, from identification to onboarding.
TimeframeOngoing, long-term process.Can be an ongoing process for continuous hiring needs, but also includes specific hiring campaigns
Main Activities

1. Identifying talent sources (job boards, social media, referrals, etc.). 

2. Building and maintaining talent pipelines. 

3. Preliminary candidate screening.

1. Developing job descriptions. 

2. Posting job ads. 

3. Applicant screening and interviews. 

4. Job offers and negotiation. 

5. Onboarding.

Relationship BuildingFocuses on building relationships with potential candidates even when there are no immediate job openings.The focus is on building relationships during the hiring process, primarily with candidates who are actively seeking employment.
ImportanceCrucial for proactively meeting future talent needs and reducing time-to-fill for positions.Vital for filling current job openings with suitable candidates and meeting immediate business needs.
FlexibilityMore flexibility as it involves building a talent pipeline over time.May require adaptability to meet immediate staffing needs and time constraints.
CollaborationOften involves collaboration between recruiters, sourcers, and hiring managers.Collaboration between HR, recruiters, hiring managers, and other relevant stakeholders.
Decision MakingFocuses on potential fit for future positions and long-term talent needs.Focuses on immediate job requirements and candidate suitability for current openings.

The Blurry Similarities: Talent Sourcing and Acquisition

SimilaritiesTalent Sourcing
ObjectiveBoth aim to identify and attract qualified candidates for specific job positions or roles.
Candidate AssessmentBoth involve assessing candidates' skills, qualifications, and suitability for the job.
Employer BrandingBoth require promoting the company's brand and values to attract potential candidates.
Job Market AwarenessBoth require understanding the job market and industry trends to target the right candidates.
Communication with CandidatesBoth involve engaging with candidates throughout the recruitment process.
Candidate Relationship ManagementBoth emphasize building positive relationships with candidates.
Skillful Recruitment Team NeededBoth benefit from having skilled and knowledgeable recruiters.
Data-Driven ApproachBoth may use data and analytics to measure the effectiveness of their strategies.
Integration with HR ProcessesBoth are integrated into the overall HR and talent management strategies.
Impact on Company's SuccessBoth play a crucial role in finding and hiring the right talent, impacting company performance.

Talent sourcing is a facet of the entire talent acquisition process. The key objective is to recruit exceptional talents. You must, however, start by sourcing and determining what kind of employee you wish to hire. Sourcing is the proactive search for the best potential recruits for open or prospective vacancies. The primary goal of sourcing is to be proactive. When a position becomes available unexpectedly, a company can be better prepared to hire someone immediately. Rather than going through the entire recruitment process (from job posting to applicant screening) to hire someone who vaguely meets the qualifications on short notice, your organization can be prepared for any unforeseen vacancy.

One key difference is that Talent sourcing has a broader scope because it includes identifying and attracting a huge pool of individuals. Talent acquisition, on the other hand, has a limited approach, as it requires actively seeking out and hiring specific candidates with the appropriate skills and expertise for the open vacancy. Talent sourcing operates as a more passive method because it entails attracting people who may or may not be actively searching for work. On the contrary, talent acquisition involves proactively reaching out to and recruiting top prospects, frequently through direct dialogue and persuasion.

Talent sourcing and acquisition also share many similarities, such as both processes involve identifying and evaluating potential applicants to find the ideal fit for the vacant position and the organization. Both require an in-depth understanding of the job's responsibilities as well as the organization's ideals and objectives.

Steps to improve talent sourcing for your organization

  1. Work towards building and maintaining a talent pipeline: One of the primary goals of candidate sourcing is to create a valuable talent pipeline. It involves shortlisting candidates who have been screened, cleared, and are ready to assume future duties when they become available. It is critical to actively monitor and update this pipeline to guarantee that a high standard is consistently maintained. Sourcing pipelines help to reduce hiring time and other talent acquisition barriers.
  2. Focus on expanding your reach: When reaching out to potential applicants, make a good first impression. Invest in updating your social media profiles and company web page. You should also attempt to improve your social media presence. Post about your company's culture and brand principles, especially if they resonate with your employees. Consider interacting with your connections when they post. Finally, hone your communication skills. Learn how to write an attention-grabbing subject line and tailor your messages to the prospect's preferences.
  3. Create a distinction between a sourcer and a recruiter: Sourcers typically identify and qualify fresh prospects, whereas recruiters manage the process from the minute a candidate is deemed interested or qualified until they have been hired. If your team is large enough, don't have them both doing the same work: have the sourcers constantly supplying one end of the recruitment pipeline while the recruiters tackle the other. To make it easier to manage the workload if you're coordinating a small team, fully outline the phases and timetable in the sourcing and hiring process.
  4. Build better relationships with your prospects: Develop solid ties with your prospects. You don't have to limit your interactions to merely informing them about a job opening. Engage in dialogue with your connections. Consider responding to their postings, and provide content related to your leadership and organizational culture. Strong relationships allow you to attract attention. If your contacts are intending to relocate, they may contact you to inquire about open job postings or prospective vacancies at your organization. Effectively, you will be ahead in the field.
  5. Integrate AI into your process: Gain insights from artificial intelligence-powered databases (AI). AI in sourcing can help in two ways: automation and consistency. AI can detect trends in resumes and identify individuals who are better suited to a job's needs. By eliminating the requirement for human decision-making, AI can help decrease any biases at the sourcing stage. Automated talent sourcing makes use of recruitment technology to identify applicants who meet the requirements of your position online. This increases not only your efficiency metrics but also your time to fill and cost per hire.

Steps to improve talent acquisition for your organization

  1. Align your talent acquisition approach with your company's goals: Evaluate your company's goals for the next five years, and then develop your acquisition plan to meet those needs. While recruitment focuses on filling openings within departments, talent acquisition is more concerned with considering how your organization will expand in the long term and then selecting employees who can help you get there. It is important to understand that investing in the right candidates will benefit your firm in the bigger scheme of things.
  2. Focus on highlighting your company's social responsibility: It is critical to take a step back from policies that are solely focused on the benefit of the firm and ignore the well-being of the employees. Your organization's goals must be prioritized while also helping others. CSR is a crucial tool for attracting excellent candidates that share your company's principles and core values. Corporate social responsibility benefits the image of your firm's brand, work environment, and society as a whole. Demonstrate your organization's dedication to inclusiveness and diversity. Employees are unlikely to choose to work for a company whose values and beliefs are polar opposite to their own. Use your corporate social responsibility to recruit employees who share your values and are enthusiastic about working for you.
  3. Provide employees with the advantage of flexibility through remote hiring: “A recent study showed that over 80 percent of today’s workforce wants to work remotely in some fashion,” states David Lewis, president and CEO of OperationsInc in Norwalk, Conn. Skilled candidates have numerous career opportunities, and many will choose not to relocate to pursue a job opportunity. Consider allowing remote workers to do jobs that don't require human connection with colleagues to increase your candidate pool. But, before proceeding down the path of hiring remote workers, make sure you have a practical plan in place for managing those employees.
  4. Prioritize building your company’s brand: The current workforce is made up of millennials and elder Gen Z aspirants. This future workforce grew up with the internet and social networking platforms. These people perform research on your organization by examining social media profiles, websites, and job boards to better comprehend your corporate culture. As they research your firm, prospects will ask questions. How is the working environment? Do their employees look satisfied? Is there room for advancement? Utilize your current workforce and take advantage of the broadcast options on your website and social media platforms. Photos and videos of your employees at work should be promoted. Encourage your employees to engage with your organization via its many platforms. Developing a brand for your firm that represents a positive, progressive environment can be a strong weapon in your talent acquisition strategy.
  5. Invest in tools and programs for training and development: Every organization should prioritize training and development. This aspect of learning is critical in the talent acquisition strategy. Without learning opportunities, neither candidates nor employees will see the opportunity to grow within the organization. As a recruiter, you must be proactive in investing in your present and prospective workers.

The definitions, significance, and distinctions between talent sourcing and acquisition are easy concepts to understand. The goal should be to keep both of these crucial components of hiring and retention strategies well-designed and efficient. The requirements and objectives of your firm dictate which procedure should be prioritized. If you need to fill a large number of vacancies promptly, talent sourcing could be the solution. However, if you need to hire exceptional individuals for a specific position, talent acquisition can be the better option for you. The organization and the recruiters have to determine which process suits them the best according to their needs. To learn more about effective talent sourcing and acquisition don’t forget to check out Hirequotient's EasySource. EasySource is a Candidate sourcing tool that helps discover, screen, and vet candidates from hidden and existing talent pools. It uses a variety of AI modules to help you create the perfect candidate pool suited to your niche requirements. Hirequotient also offers a variety of pre-employment assessments as well as asynchronous video interviews that can help your company better evaluate candidates and build a strong talent pipeline.

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Radhika Sarraf

Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.

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