Talent Acquisition is not the most exciting term, but it's one of the most important parts of growing a business. It's a term that covers all processes, procedures, and techniques used to find the best talent.

How you define the talent acquisition process depends on two driving factors. One is the size of your business and the other is the needs of your business. Talent acquisition and recruitment are often mentioned in the same breath since they accomplish similar goals only at different paces. I'm going to elaborate on those differences, share talent acquisition tips for your small business, and provide some tools that make connecting with talent faster and more flexible.

Talent Acquisition and Recruiting

Talent acquisition shares the same goal as recruitment: to place qualified candidates in job openings. It's understandable why so many people confuse them even though they're quite different. Talent acquisition focuses on a strategic approach to hiring, while recruiting addresses the more tactical elements of placing candidates.


7 Steps of the Talent Acquisition Process 

Talent acquisition includes the interviewing, onboarding, and training of new employees. It's often managed by the HR department. While the talent acquisition team may spend months on the hiring process, it can be summarized in these seven steps.

1. Source via Talent Pipelines

The obvious starting point is any qualified candidate referrals. This is especially true for startups where there may not be robust recruitment metrics developed yet.

Use social networks and professional events to start building relationships with top candidates.

The key to this stage is being able to lure the best talent with attractive job descriptions. Today, job seekers will see if the company culture is a match based on things like a job description and social media.

2. Promote Company Culture

Hiring the best talent means that you have to lure them with good, strong bait. Job seekers want to know that your company is a dynamic place to work. Creative job ads should be part of your recruitment marketing strategy. They should reflect your company culture to attract the right candidates.

A stellar candidate experience promotes company culture since word spreads fast among top talent. Promote an impressive company culture by giving every candidate the red carpet treatment, even if you know they're not a fit.

3. Interview

With so many types of interviews and open roles to fill, nailing down an interview style can be a challenge. It helps to identify essential tasks and skill sets best-suited for the position. Work backward from there to build out interview questions. 

If hiring managers are new to interviewing, Prelude makes it easy to schedule shadow sessions. This helps green talent managers learn from more tenured managers’ experience with interview styles.

4. Process of Elimination

Selecting a new hire can be stressful. We want to try to hire the best possible fit with limited information available.

If you're working within a structured interview format, consider implementing a scoring system. Create a uniform scale to rank job seekers. This assists with hiring decisions. I recommend a scale that can range from "strong hire" to "strong no hire" to help narrow down your top talent choices.

5. Hire

The best part of every hiring process is when the preferred candidate accepts the job. It's often hiring managers, not talent acquisition, who extend the job offers. Yet, it's a crucial step to the talent acquisition process.

6. Onboarding and Training 

An onboarding plan should already be in place once you've made your hiring decision. A new hire wants to feel taken care of after they've invested their interest, time, and energy in joining the team. This is a huge opportunity to build an exceptional rapport. "Not enough training" is a top reason that new hires are quitting in the first six months, according to a BambooHR report.

By having an idea of coachable areas, it proves you've taken the time to assess a candidate. Invest that time to make the most of the onboarding process.

7. Follow Up With the Job Seekers Not Hired

This comes back to that red carpet experience I mentioned earlier. I get it, there's a lot going on within the day so it feels like a lot of extra effort to contact every candidate. The ROI on that extra bit of care for the candidate experience will pay dividends. Train the talent acquisition department to contact every job seeker not hired. Even a (well-worded) canned response email is better than no response at all.

3 Key Talent Acquisition Strategies 

Talent acquisition sounds pretty fancy. For smaller teams, it can seem hopeless unless you have an unlimited budget. Let's explore some low-cost strategies that can help with your search.

1. Leverage Your Brand

You can do this without an enormous marketing budget. When leaders engage in speaking opportunities or virtual panel discussions, encourage them to drop in that you're hiring. A captive audience is an easy way to reach the right job seekers.

2. Get Specific

Don't be afraid to be super-specific. Casting a wider net means that there's a lot more fish to sort and that takes time (and money). The more detailed that you can include about skill sets that excite you, the better. Be upfront about your niche requirements and non-negotiables. This way, you'll have a better shot at weeding out wrong fit candidates.

3. Promote Within

Sometimes the best talent is right there under your nose. Identify top performers and invest in their development. This can be a cost-saving talent acquisition strategy. Seek and promote talent from within using solid onboarding, peer-to-peer mentorship, and job trials with those who express interest in open roles.

Tools to Support Your Talent Acquisition Goals

Now that you have the process in mind and talent acquisition strategies, it's time to cover tools. These time-saving tools will help support your search so you can focus on work.

1. LinkedIn

A recruiter's best friend, LinkedIn helps you find and connect with potential candidates. There's a solution to suit every budget. Premium services like LinkedIn Recruiter can save time during the hunt but the free service is already a great go-to tool.

Do some light employment branding by building an excellent career page. Tell the story of your company and share some links to your website. It's easier to work within your chosen budget with targeted ads. It seems crazy but investing in good employment branding reduces recruitment costs by 43%, according to LinkedIn.

2. Prelude

Provide your talent acquisition team with tools that cut administrative functions down. Saving time is saving money. Prelude has the potential to do both while also providing an awesome candidate experience. Use it to simplify complex scheduling with intelligently auto-populated recommendations that rely on real-time availability of candidates and interviewers. Move quickly with saved recruiter preferences that account for interviewer pools, preferences, and timezones.

3. Video Calling

Video screens maximize the hiring process with greater flexibility. They expand the pool by giving you access to talent that is out of your geographic area. Allowing job seekers to provide recordings offers a better candidate experience since they are able to put it together on their own time. More flexibility and stronger talent pool? It's a no-brainer.

4. Recruitment Tech

There are many supportive tools designed to make your talent acquisition process more streamlined. Here’s a few that we love:

  • Gem Recruiting Software: with one-click sourcing and pipeline analytics that optimize outreach efforts this CRM can help give your search a boost.
  • TalentWall: a user-centric platform that helps simplify the recruitment process. 
  • It provides pipeline access to recruiters, hiring managers and executives to drive engagement and collaboration among multiple hiring team members.
  • Codesignal: helps to conduct pre-employment testing for expert-level technical roles.

Talent Acquisition Teams Build Relationships

With all these tips for streamlining talent acquisition, your team can focus on relationship management.

When we offer a standout, flexible, and efficient hiring process it’s a memorable experience that candidates will be delighted to share. To see how you fare, run a quick Google or Glassdoor search. Direct candidate feedback helps you understand which areas need tweaking while you continue to invest in the areas where you shine. These extra considerations are guaranteed to bring the top talent your way like bees to a honeypot. 

Learn more about how your talent acquisition team can provide a seamless candidate experience.