Talent Acquisition … Seriously?

I just need to vent for a moment and tell you why I so dislike the title Talent Acquisition that many companies are slapping on their recruiting departments.

Maybe it’s just me, but ‘acquisition’ sounds a lot like a purchasing function. And perhaps this is symptomatic of the underlying challenge that these businesses have with recruitment. If you are looking to purchase some talent, you might put up some postings, clearly stating the skills and experience that you’re looking to buy. Then when the sellers of talent come to show you their wares, you’ll scrutinize them carefully and try to negotiate the lowest, fair price for the product. Sound familiar? Wonder why the talent for sale seems mediocre, or doesn’t show up at all?

What exactly is wrong with calling recruitment ‘Recruitment’? Does it sounds a little salesy, maybe too aggressive? Competition for talent is intense. A sales strategy and some creative aggression is exactly what you need. You are not purchasing the skills and effort of the individual, you are crafting and pitching an opportunity to a person who has options and wants to be inspired. If anyone is purchasing in this equation, it is the ‘Talent’.

Start thinking about your recruitment function as marketing and sales. Job descriptions should tell the prospect why the job is great, and what it’ll take to succeed. Interviews should balance qualification with a sincere effort to assess fit for both you and the candidate. Treat prospective employees like your most important new customers and partners and you’ll see your ‘Talent Acquisition’ challenges disappear and your ‘Recruitment’ success begin.


1 Comment

Filed under Recruiting & Hiring

One response to “Talent Acquisition … Seriously?

  1. Good vent, Kristina. This seems like another example of people being too creative for no other reason than wanting to differentiate themselves from their predecessors. You make an excellent point by calling out the differences between recruiting and acquisition. The word recruitment is indeed sales-y but that’s the point. Perhaps it’s been the recession that confused HR departments into thinking they had gained a permanent upper hand in the equation by virtue of the fact so many people (not in Toronto) were/are looking for work. The word acquisition, in this case, connotes power on the wrong side if what you eventually hope to achieve is someone who can move your business forward.

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