Talent acquisition vs recruitment — what’s the difference? They are similar, but not the same.

So, before we get into the differences, let’s take a quick look at their definitions.

What is talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition (like recruitment), is about finding the best people for your company, but it focuses more on your long game. It’s a process of building an employer brand, employee value proposition, and a continuous relationship with your target talent.

What is recruitment?

Recruitment is an ongoing cycle of processes to attract, source, recruit, and hire employees. It usually follows a standardized process. Therefore, you usually recruit if your company is expanding or experiencing high turnover.

Large group of people in the shape of two puzzle pieces on a white background. (Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment blog)

Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment: Are they the same?

What’s the difference between talent acquisition and recruitment? So, now that we’ve defined what they are, let’s look at some differences.

Recruitment is Reactive and Talent Acquisition is Proactive

When your company is expanding or someone leaves a role, you react to the current situation by recruiting. Thus, you create a job description, post it, recruit and evaluate candidates based on their experience. So, recruitment fills a short-term need in your company.

Talent acquisition, on the flip side, is proactive. It focuses on the long-term recruitment goals of your company. It’s actively searching for the most qualified candidate to hire for roles.


Recruitment is a Linear Process, and Talent Acquisition is a Strategy

The recruitment process is more or less linear. You identify a job vacancy, post job ads, interview, and choose from a pool of candidates. The process seldom changes no matter how many job vacancies need to be filled.

For talent acquisition, you take the time to study the long-term goals of your company, and you align your ongoing strategy with those goals. So, you usually need to look into the future and anticipate the company’s hiring needs. Or look into roles that are currently not needed, but will become relevant in the future.

Recruitment is part of talent acquisition strategy. So, your talent acquisition team can work closely with the company’s PR, Human Resources, and Marketing teams to create effective messaging around hiring the right team members to join your company.


Recruitment looks at candidate skills, and Talent Acquisition Looks beyond that.

When you recruit, you review resumes. You look at the background and industry experience of potential hires. And, then you decide which ones are the best suited for your role. During recruitment, you might meet with applicants a few times, but your interaction ends when they’re hired and onboarded. 

In talent acquisition, however, you always look for specialists and leaders. This is something a resume can’t quantify, considering the rise in the number of AI resume tools available nowadays for creating resumes and cover letters. You’re looking for ‘talent.’ So, you create a relationship with your talent and often take the time to develop their skills.

For example, someone with extraordinary social media skills won’t have a certificate highlighting that achievement. So, understand that people with leadership skills don’t always have a degree to prove it.


Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment: Should you “recruit” or “acquire” talent?

This depends on your company’s needs and long-term goals.

Usually, niche companies in medical, software, legal, or engineering choose to go with talent acquisition because they need individuals with a specific set of skill sets that are more challenging to find.

But, if you have an urgent need for employees, going the recruitment route is a good option.

Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment: Which strategy does your company need?

In recruiting vs talent acquisition, both look very similar to each other. So, how can you tell which one you need when you’re looking for talent? Let’s summarize the main characteristics of each.

Your company can benefit from recruitment if you:

  • Need to fill immediate vacancies
  • Want to use a linear process (source, screen, hire)
  • Use cost per hire (or time per hire) as your metric
  • Don’t have a skills shortage

Your company can benefit from talent acquisition if:

  • You’re looking into long-term HR planning to find people with niche skills
  • You want to take an ongoing approach to develop your talent pipeline
  • You want to use quality of hire as your metric
  • Your company is in an industry with a skill shortage (welding, manufacturing, construction, etc.)

Why I wrote this?

So, if you want to proactively acquire talent, an effective job posting can help. It will broaden the net of candidates you go after and attract higher-caliber talent. Ongig scans your JDs to make them more effective (and bias-free), so you attract talented, diverse candidates. Also, this help you to retain the top talent you attract. Want to see our Text Analyzer tool in action? Please request a demo to see for yourself. 


  1. The Difference Between Recruitment and Talent Acquisition (by the Enterprise Center at Salem University)
  2. What is the Difference Between Recruitment and Talent Acquisition (By Hemant Kumaarr)
  3. Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment: What’s the Difference? (by The Recuiter.com)
  4. Talent acquisition-vs-recruitment (By HROne)
  5. Recruitment vs. Talent Acquisition, Is there a Difference? (by Haillo)
  6. Recruitment Vs. Talent Acquisition – What’s the difference? (by Caoilinn Taylor)
  7. How are recruitment and talent acquisition different? (by Diann Daniel and Keirsten Greggs)

by in Talent Acquisition