Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment: Is There a Difference?

Talent acquisition and recruitment are terms often used interchangeably, but there are some distinct differences between the two. While recruitment is more short-term focused and involves the process of filling a position, talent acquisition is a long-term strategy for establishing a talent pipeline that meets a company’s key staffing needs. Recruitment can actually be a part of a broader talent acquisition strategy, just as employer branding and candidate sourcing are also a part.

No matter the company size or industry, having solid talent acquisition practices is linked to strong overall company performance. In fact, research by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found that high-performing companies are more likely than low-performing companies to have a robust talent acquisition strategy. To determine if you have a talent acquisition vs. recruitment strategy in place, consider the following differences between the two:


Recruitment focuses on finding candidates for a specific role, while talent acquisition cultivates and engages prospective candidates, creating a long-term talent pipeline. For example, young talent still in college may not be a fit for your open positions now, but could be ready in a year. In that intervening time, a talent acquisition strategy will engage those potential candidates and build awareness about your employer brand so that they will be more likely to consider your company when looking at job opportunities. 

If you’re a small or medium-sized business, you likely don’t have the resources to build a candidate engagement platform that nurtures prospective candidates over a period of time. However, a viable solution is to use a recruiting platform already established to attract the young talent who can fill your talent pipeline now and into the future.


Recruitment involves finding a select number of candidates who are immediately ready to move through the interview process, whereas talent acquisition involves investing more effort into sourcing a broader range of candidates. Candidate sourcing can be time-consuming. As an example, one study found that almost half of surveyed tech recruiters spend nearly 30 hours a week on candidate sourcing. While it is indeed labor-intensive, candidate sourcing can identify candidates who fall into a range of categories, for example:

  • Passive candidates
  • Exploratory candidates and those who want to network before applying
  • Internship candidates who can be considered for future full-time employment
  • Candidates who are a fit for roles not currently vacant

A talent acquisition strategy that includes a focus on candidate sourcing also helps to identify individuals who can fit tough-to-fill roles, for example, in the healthcare industry where there has been a workforce shortage for some time. However, given the time it can take to adequately source candidates, it makes sense to work with a talent acquisition partner who can source and filter candidates on your behalf, so you can spend more time reviewing individuals that fit your culture.


Recruitment activities are supported by tools, such as applicant tracking systems (ATS), video recruiting, and chatbots. On the other hand, talent acquisition includes a focus on recruitment technology, as well as other solutions that support the full talent acquisition strategy. 

With the right mix of digital tools, you can develop a robust talent acquisition strategy that not only makes recruitment more efficient, but also helps you anticipate future staffing and talent management needs. Examples of technology that support a healthy talent acquisition strategy include:

  • Workforce planning tools that help to identify talent gaps or staffing needs based on anticipated growth
  • Dashboards that help to highlight metrics, such as candidate engagement, diversity hiring, or employee retention
  • A fully-integrated social career platform that helps to source, engage, and recruit emerging talent

Talent acquisition vs. recruitment doesn’t have to be an either/or solution. It’s possible to have a successful talent acquisition strategy and also excel at recruitment, even for small and mid-sized organizations that don’t have the resources to hire a full talent acquisition team. When you have a dynamic platform that merges cloud technology, candidate sourcing, and various methods for engaging talent, you can cover all the bases of talent acquisition and fill open positions more efficiently.

This post was originally written by Osnat Shostak on July 26, 2019. Osnat is a Chief Business Development Officer at Goodwall and has been with the company since its early days. Osnat has diverse experience in multiple industries and geographies, working in 3 continents over the past decade. She oversees customer growth and success on Goodwall, bringing a combination of hands on business and partnership development with a strong background in consulting and strategy.

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Goodwall Team
Written By Goodwall Team
This article was written by the Goodwall team or by a contributor for publication on Goodwall. Goodwall is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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