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Chaz SomersFebruary 21, 202414 min read

Talent acquisition vs. recruitment strategies

avatar Chaz Somers

Chaz Somers started his professional career as a part-time social media contractor at ZayZoon and since then, has evolved into a full-time content marketing associate. Chaz’s love for branding and storytelling has led him to blog writing, clothing design and video production all within ZayZoon.

Like the director of a movie or the coach of a football team—you're nothing without your talent. You can have the best script or a flawless playbook but without the right talent to execute, these perfect plans become useless.

The same is true about running a business. To execute your strategy, you need the right people (or talent) supporting you but some might argue that acquiring the right talent is harder now than ever.

Unless you're running some sort of super-exclusive family business, talent acquisition is essential in running and growing any operation. In a perfect world, the right candidates would come directly to you but unfortunately, that's not the reality. The reality is that talent acquisition and recruitment strategies are quite different. You need a well-thought-out plan in place, with the right people executing that plan, that can scale and grow with your company.

Without a talent acquisition strategy that values employee feedback in place businesses today will burn through their money and resources. To ensure the best possible talent for your team, you have to listen and address the immediate needs of your current employees. Integrating employee financial wellness into recruitment strategies offers a competitive advantage in attracting top talent, addressing modern workforce needs, and driving organizational success.


What is talent acquisition?

The goal of any talent acquisition strategy is to:

  • Identify

  • Attract

  • Select

  • Retain

the right people for the job.

Talent acquisition strategies are much more than simply hiring a candidate to fit a current role—it’s about being proactive and planning for the future so that when a role does open up, filling it requires minimal effort and energy but results in the best possible outcomes and the most qualified candidates.


The three pillars of talent acquisition

Ben Schnieder's ASA theory describes three forces that form the fundamental pillars of talent acquisition:


Theoretically, anyone searching for a new role can apply to any position or company in the entire world. In reality, they're only going to apply to jobs that they want and think are achievable. Your company needs to be desirable with the ability to differentiate itself from its competitors.

When I first applied to ZayZoon, I saw a company that was on a mission I could relate to, a culture that seemed both welcoming but encouraging of growth and learning and I saw how I could fit into the puzzle. - Chaz, the guy writing this article. 


Once they've received a job applicant, it is on the organization to decide who may or may not be a good fit for the open role. Applicants mustn't only be a fit for their role but it’s also important that they align with your company culture.

In the early days of ZayZoon (and most start-ups) the team consisted of a few people wearing many different hats. I was fresh out of school and not looking for a full-time commitment but was eager to start providing value. I was able to work part-time with extremely flexible hours which made me a great fit to help contribute to social media accounts. The team saw a specific need and I was selected because I could fit into that spot nicely. - Chaz


The acquisition process doesn't end once a potential candidate has been hired. If the candidate or company doesn't feel as if they are a good fit, the candidate will either quit or be fired. Ensuring your candidate is a good fit, both skill and character-wise, from the start will help you avoid poor employee retention and high attrition rates.

After my initial interviews with ZayZoon, I had a pretty good feeling that I would mesh well with their mission and culture. Although I started with minimal hours and responsibility, my role has evolved tremendously since the early days. I've learned, grown and been challenged by my co-workers to become a bigger asset to the team which has brought me more joy and fulfillment, and kept me around for 4+ years now. - Chaz, again. 


Talent acquisition vs. recruitment

It's common for people to hear the term "talent acquisition" and instantly think of recruiting or recruitment. Although talent acquisition involves developing a recruitment strategy, talent acquisition is much more than that.

The simplest way to look at it is this:

Recruitment strategies are methods of filling an immediate role that is currently vacant.

Talent acquisition strategies are a more long-term approach to ensure you have fewer vacant roles in general and should anticipate any staffing issues or requirements before they happen.

Your recruiting strategy is reactive and can be deployed almost immediately whereas a talent acquisition strategy takes more time and planning but will ultimately save you money and resources in the long run.

Being proactive about talent acquisition is important. Once you do have the right plan in place, recruiting, retaining and restructuring your organization goes from a lot of work and heavy lifting to a relatively easy task that will feel natural to you.


Talent acquisition specialists

Workable describes a talent acquisition specialist as "a professional responsible for sourcing, attracting, and interviewing prospective employees to find the perfect match for a company’s long-term goals."

A good talent acquisition specialist makes any company better and everyone's jobs easier. With the right person in place, you can stop worrying about filling open positions and focus more on what you're good at.

Their main responsibilities would include:

  • Lead generation

  • Recruiting and attracting top candidates

  • Interview and assessment

  • Evaluating references

  • Selecting the best candidate(s)

  • Hiring and onboarding

Typically, a talent acquisition specialist is hired for that specific role—but there are resources available to train someone within the company to become a talent acquisition specialist.

Some great online courses you can take anywhere would include:

Once you've found the right talent acquisition specialist, they may need some help.

Other talent acquisition jobs to support your specialist would include:


Talent acquisition coordinator

Typically handles administrative tasks and hiring logistics.


Talent acquisition manager

Responsible for overseeing team management and talent acquisition strategies.


Talent acquisition partner

Supports managers in strategizing and guides the recruitment process.


Head of talent acquisition

In charge of overall strategy direction and ensures it aligns with company goals and culture.

Assembling the right team will require the allocation of certain resources and money, which can be intimidating—but with the right team and strategy in place, you can ensure your team is working on the things they do best and not worrying about a task that someone else is better fit for. A successful talent acquisition strategy will also motivate existing employees by showing them how they can grow within the company and see the growth opportunities in front of them more clearly.


Developing a talent acquisition strategy

Effective talent acquisition strategies will vary from business to business and experts will be able to build strategies specific to your needs and wants. That being said, there are some underlying themes right from the hiring process to the very end of your employee's tenure that you should always keep in mind.


Employer brand

One of the main factors in talent acquisition that can either make the job much easier or much harder is your employer brand. Your employer brand is the reputation your company carries amongst employees and job seekers. It's what people say about you after they've worked or interviewed with you.

Your employer brand has always been extremely important in recruiting and retaining talented employees but with the internet connecting everyone so seamlessly, word of mouth has never been so powerful. If you're not focusing and constantly finding ways to improve your employer brand, your company will be outperformed by another that does.

Remember, there is a difference between your employer brand and corporate brand. You can have a cool, positive corporate brand from the outside perspective but this will never be sustainable without the right employer brand to match once a new employee actually walks through the door.

The easiest way to build a strong employer brand is by listening to feedback from your team. They know what works and what doesn't work and you can collaborate with them to create a culture that is both productive and profitable—but also a place where people genuinely enjoy contributing to your company's goals.


Job descriptions

Another crucial area for improving your employer branding is strong job descriptions. Your job description will be the introduction to your company for many candidates and you know what they say, "Your first impression matters."

Having even a mediocre job description could turn many strong potential candidates off. If the job description is lackluster, why would they assume the actual job is any better?

A strong job description should not only clearly define the responsibilities and requirements of the role but should also give good insight as to how you want your employer brand to feel.

Some things to remember when creating job descriptions:

Use "You" as a pronoun

Many job descriptions and hiring managers use "They" when referencing a potential candidate. Using "You" makes it easier for the potential candidate to visualize themselves in the role.

Use clear job titles

Don't overcomplicate things with fancy titles that no one has ever heard of before. Clear, common job titles are much more likely to be found online than something more obscure.

Eliminate any potential biases

When writing a job description, it's very easy to unconsciously include certain biases that may heavily affect the candidates who apply. When it comes to avoiding biases, some areas to be mindful of include gender, race, age, disability and using proper, more inclusive pronouns. Staying mindful of these potential biases and using resources like Textio will help you avoid them.


Candidate experience

Another important (but sometimes overlooked) aspect of an effective talent acquisition strategy is your candidate's experience. Many companies make an effort to treat their employees with respect once they’ve been onboarded but not all companies can say the same about their application process. Remember that the experience of everyone who interacts with your company will contribute to your employer brand, not just the people you hire. 

Just because a candidate doesn't fill a role the way you would like them to, doesn't mean their experience with your company isn't important. They will share their experience with other people and this could either negatively or positively affect the entire process.

A good candidate experience, especially if they don't end up getting the job, is a great way to improve your employer branding and indirectly improve your recruitment efforts.

A good candidate experience may also directly improve your recruiting efforts by:

  • Recommending someone else better suited for the role

  • Applying for a more suitable role in the company


  • Coming back with the proper training and prerequisites should the role become available again


Talent acquisition metrics

Once you have your team in place and a strategy worked out, it’s important to figure out what metrics you'll need to maintain the program. These metrics include:


Time to fill

Time to fill is how long it takes to source and then hire a new candidate. This metric will help you understand the speed and efficiency of your talent acquisition team while also helping measure the supply and demand of that specific role.


Time to hire

Time to hire measures the days between the initial application for the job and the date they accept the offer. A shorter time to hire usually means a more positive candidate experience. Analyzing your time to hire can also help find and fix any potential bottlenecks in your process.


Offer acceptance rate

Your offer acceptance rate is pretty simple: The number of accepted offers divided by the total number of offers.

This ratio will help prove whether your offers are competitive or not. If the ratio is too low, it may be time to consider some new recruiting tactics.

Some other important metrics to keep in mind would include:

  • Quality of hire

  • Recruitment funnel effectiveness

  • Sourcing channel cost

  • Percentage of open positions

  • Candidate NPS

  • Candidate drop-off rate

  • Assessment and demographic data

  • New hire turnover rate


Monitoring your acquisition strategy

Once you've established your specialists and figured out a plan that seems to work for you and your team, it's important to experiment with your metrics and find the ones that work specifically for you.

This may take time, effort and a little bit of creativity but once you've found the metrics for you, the next step is building a process to monitor these metrics regularly.

The final step of your talent acquisition strategy should be finding sustainable ways to regularly gauge your metrics and make sure everything is running as smoothly as you would like. If not, your metrics will tell you it’s time to make adjustments.


Talent acquisition tools

Talent acquisition is no easy task, especially for just one person. Thankfully, there are some pretty useful tools and resources available to you:

Applicant tracking system (ATS) allows your team to monitor the entire recruitment process from beginning to end, all in one place. Forbes cites these as the best ATSs.

Hybrid virtual interview platforms, like Spark Hire make interviewing potential candidates easier than ever. More than just a way to conduct the actual interview, Spark Hire offers tools to improve evaluation, collaboration and scheduling. As well as, other features to improve the entire process.

Datapeople is a tool that makes writing job postings and avoiding unconscious biases as simple as possible. Their smart editor will grade your job postings and offer suggestions to make them more accessible and clear.


Talent acquisition trends


Employee referral program

Internal referral programs are a great idea for any company looking to improve their recruiting efforts. Many companies offer a bonus to people who refer a successful hire. Employee referrals incentivize the team to help work towards your common goal and are typically still less expensive than hiring a recruiter.


Utilize marketing

If you have a marketing team, it's never really a bad idea to loop them in on talent acquisition efforts. They are able to provide or even create marketing assets that may be of value to you, offer insight on how to get the word out to specific channels and should be able to bring some life into whatever initiatives you may be considering. Zhuzhing is what we call it at ZayZoon.



Traditional job fairs and job boards may not be as common as they once were because social media has made connecting with people easier than ever.

There are many great channels online for learning and even executing talent acquisition strategies but none with greater value than LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the only spot where you can learn potential strategies, be exposed to actual candidates and improve your employer brand, all in one spot.

If you're not utilizing LinkedIn, you’re putting yourself at an extreme disadvantage.


Gig economy and freelancers

A sometimes overlooked aspect of the talent acquisition process is the utilization of the gig economy and freelancers. With resources like Fiverr and UpWork, finding freelance workers is easier than ever and really helps expand your potential talent pool.

If you ever find yourself in need of help but have trouble justifying a full-time or even part-time role, a freelancer may be exactly what you're looking for.


Artificial Intelligence

It may be a little scary to admit to ourselves but AI is here to stay. Hyperrealistic art and terrifyingly accurate depictions of comedians aside, AI can make any talent acquisition specialist's job much easier.

Leaning on artificial intelligence too much won't offer the best results but AI can help speed up and improve the tedious processes that would normally slow you down.


The truth of talent acquisition 

Finding the right talent acquisition specialist and allowing them to develop a strategy that actually works and brings in talented employees won't happen overnight but it will help make your business a better place to work and more profitable if done correctly.

Working with your team and hearing their feedback is also important. These are the people who are most affected by talent acquisition and they can offer the best insight as to what works and what doesn't.

Once your talent acquisition strategy is up and running with the right people running it, the whole process should feel seamless but the results will be evident.



  • Define talent acquisition

  • Find talent acquisition specialist or appoint one from within 

  • Develop talent acquisition strategy

  • Develop talent acquisition metrics

  • Monitor your program regularly

Address the immediate needs of your current employees and ensure the top candidates for your team so that you don't burn through money and resources with the right talent acquisition practices.

If you’re looking for more support or to gain an even bigger edge, ZayZoon may be able to help. Improve your employee’s overall pay experience, at no cost to you with Earned Wage Access.


Chaz Somers

Chaz Somers started his professional career as a part-time social media contractor at ZayZoon and since then, has evolved into a full-time content marketing associate. Chaz’s love for branding and storytelling has led him to blog writing, clothing design and video production all within ZayZoon.