Recruiting vs. Strategic Talent Acquisition


Recruiting vs. Strategic Talent Acquisition

By Alan Davis

And the winner is…

One of our most frequently asked questions is “What’s the difference between ‘Recruiting’ and ‘Strategic Talent Acquisition’?” The easy part of the answer is to define “recruiting”. It is nothing more than filling open positions. It is an entirely tactical event. The more complex part of the answer is the definition of “Strategic Talent Acquisition”. Strategic Talent Acquisition takes a long-term view of not only filling positions today, but using the candidates that come out of a recruiting campaign as a means to fill similar positions in the future.

These future positions may be identifiable today by looking at the succession management plan, or by analyzing the history of attrition for certain positions. This makes it easy to predict that specific openings will occur at a pre-determined period in time.

In the most enlightened cases of Strategic Talent Acquisition, clients will recruit today for positions that do not even exist today but are expected to become available in the future.

Taking the long term strategic approach to talent acquisition has a huge impact on how an approach is made to a candidate. If the approach is purely tactical in nature, all we ask of the prospective candidate is “are you qualified and interested?” However, if the approach is more strategic in nature, the intent of the call is to go much further, and the conversation becomes more relationship building. The candidate has an opportunity to explain his/her future career aspirations, and the recruiter gathers enough information to determine if there is a potential fit in the client organization. If during a strategic recruiting call the candidate declares that they are both qualified and interested, then the tactical nature of the call has been automatically fulfilled. If, however, the candidate lacks sufficient experience, or the timing for a career move is not propitious, then they become candidates for the future, and all the recruiter has to do is keep in touch until either they become available, or a position with the client organization opens up.

We have facilitated keeping in touch with future candidates by designing a web-based candidate data base, which is accessible only by us and our client. Each one is in a specific industry space to avoid conflicts of interest with other clients. The data base tool is known as “The Picking Winners System™”.

This Strategic Talent Acquisition approach has had a major impact on the way we operate and indeed the way in which our clients perceive our ability to help them hire top people. Most of the money spent on Strategic Talent Acquisition would have been spent in a tactical recruiting mandate anyway. The only additional cost is in collecting data on high-potential candidates and then keeping in touch with them until a hire is made. The additional cost becomes insignificant compared to the value of hiring top competitive talent over time. Strategic Talent Acquisition allows us access to a pool of competitive talent that would otherwise have been missed or even worse, ignored!

Clearly the business case for acquiring talent strategically is far more compelling than simply paying to fill positions today. What we are doing is adding a small incremental effort, in exchange for a huge potential reward.

The Author

Alan Davis is founder and President of Alan Davis & Associates Inc., 450-458-3535

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