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Talent Acquisition vs. Talent Management | CAVU HCM


What is Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition is the process of sourcing, recruiting, and hiring top talent to your organization. Talent acquisition is a critical role to ensure your hiring goals are being met, and you have successful talent.

Components of Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition is an all-encompassing part of the recruiting process.

Sourcing and building candidate pipeline

The first step, and a particularly crucial one, is building the right pipeline, and sourcing. Building a candidate pipeline starts from the very moment a candidate sees or hears about your brand, all the way to the candidate signing an offer. Companies must consider their employee brand, this includes your career page, overall company culture, hiring culture. As you start to build a candidate pipeline be sure to think about the ways your company interacts with its candidates, and what you want your employee brand to be.

After branding, you’ll need to determine how you will source candidates. You should consider how you will use referrals, social media, google, recruiting services and agencies, and other avenues to the source. Some of the top avenues of sourcing include:

  • Referrals
  • LinkedIn
  • Events
  • Recruiting boards
  • Previous applicants

Aside from considering the different types of applicants, recruiting metrics can help you indicate the most successful metric.

As you create your job descriptions for these roles you’d like to source, be mindful this can impact your overall pipeline. Too general of a description and you may have a too wide set of candidates either under or overqualified, and too narrow of a description you may not have enough candidates.

Lastly, consider what roles are going to be long-term be harder to source for, or what roles often need to be filled to help build a sustainable pipeline over time. Sourcing and pipeline can also influence your diversity initiatives for hiring, being intentional about the ways you source and the talent pipeline, and how your job descriptions are read.


A strong recruiting function at a company can be the thing that sets a company apart, and how you ultimately hire and retain top talent. If you have not already considered an applicant tracking system (ATS), this can definitely make a big difference in automating, and bringing more data-informed decisions in your recruiting process. An ATS can help your company see recruiting metrics across the pipeline.

In addition to an ATS, you should consider your process of candidate communications and the ways your recruiters will follow up with candidates throughout the process. For example, what is the application follow-up process? Who is responsible for scheduling time for an interview? How often should you follow up with a prospective candidate? These metrics can also help you streamline your overall recruiting process, lower the costs of hiring, and also improving the candidate experience.


Onboarding is an important aspect of any recruiting team, and given the prevalence of remote working, onboarding remotely is another thing to consider. Successful onboarding can change how quickly your new team members learn their roles and are productive. It also can help set the stage for company culture as a whole. You should be asking and clarifying things such as

  • When does onboarding start? (the moment they sign, or first day, or before the first week of the first day, etc.)
  • How long is onboarding?
  • Who is in charge of individuals onboarding? (their managers, HR, an appointed buddy)
  • What are the goals of onboarding?
  • How will you improve or reassess your onboarding?

For remote employees specifically, you may want to build a virtual onboarding program. This could include video meetings, but also could include other virtual education opportunities. HR experts a full program of schedule- including get-to-know you’s, one on one’s, team presentation, team all-hands, etc. It’s also recommended you think beyond just a week of activities, and think big picture. Plan the various aspects needed to fully onboard an employee and how that translates to online. Given that everything is online, include technology training so your new team members have an understanding of the technology stack.

Example of Talent Acquisition

Now that you have a better idea of the components of talent acquisition, learn more about one example of how talent acquisition in a company can function and impact their success:

Small Business Talent Acquisition stars! (Let’s call them team stars for now!)

Planning hiring needs

Team stars started off by planning their hiring needs. Being that talent acquisition is strategic recruitment for companies. Thus, planning is a crucial step. Star determined their hiring needs for the year, as well as identifying the roles that are particularly hard to hire, which for them was software engineers.

Built employee brand

Next, the team set up a great career page, and google analytics on that page so they could determine what’s working and how long users are active on the page. They also started posting on LinkedIn general company culture information and began a friendly competition between coworkers to re-share on their LinkedIn.

Set DEI goals

With the help of larger company plans and goals, the star team included DEI goals in their recruiting efforts. This way, as they continued through their talent acquisition plans, they could do so with a DEI lens.

Pulled data on previous hires source

Looking back at their past few hires, the star team found that LinkedIn and referrals were their strongest hire source. So they invested more in LinkedIn emails and ads, and less on recruiting boards and started a referral program among employees.

Created fun & engaging job descriptions

Knowing that catching top talent's eyes can be challenging, the star team decided to make their job descriptions a bit shorter, and to include a more fun question, and engaging language.

Optimize recruitment process

Next, the team planned ahead for their recruiting process- determining who would lead interviews, the communication plan for candidates, and the ideal length from the first interview to hire.

Onboarding plans (both in-person & remote)

Once the star team hired their new talent, they created an onboarding plan for both in-person and remote workers- including one-on-ones, training, meet and greets, and fun team-building activities.

Gather data & improve the process

Finally, to keep the star team top-notch in talent acquisition, they gathered recruitment metrics to determine what was working well in the process and what could be changed for next time.

What is Talent Management

While talent acquisition refers to the first engagement of talent up through the hiring process, talent management includes talent acquisition, as well as all other aspects of talent, meaning the development of employees, employee assessment, retention, and larger planning and analytics.

Components of Talent Management

Talent management involves each process of recruiting, developing, retaining, and planning for talent. In addition to the best practices of talent acquisition listed above, this means that talent management teams must consider.

Talent Development, Performance, and Retention

Although most leaders recognize the importance of developing talent, and performance, many organizations lack the structure or the follow-through to do so. Strong talent management can help support development for employees and ultimately influence their performance. All of that then can influence a talent’s decision to stay or leave the company.

Talent development

Some things you may want to consider are who is responsible for talent development? Although managers are often held accountable for talent’s performance, oftentimes they are not held accountable for talent development. For example, at some top companies, 25% of senior leadership's annual incentive is based on their performance against talent and employee objectives.

Talent performance

In addition to programming and learning development for talent, regularly assessing talents' performance helps develop them overall. Determining when performance reviews happen, who gives input for performance review, and steps that are taken after all is important both for company goals and talent transparency.

Talent Retention

A huge part of talent management is creating a talent environment that people want to stay in. Giving talent the opportunity to develop and grow, creating a company culture, can all help with retention. You should regularly assess and try and improve retention rates, especially if your retention is lower than the industry standard.

Leadership development

Given the changing demographics, developing leadership internally is one-way companies are combating the shortage of leaders. In fact, for some teams, this is where their talent management is spending the most time. You should consider how you develop leaders, and what plans need to exist, as well as how the development of leaders and top talent aligns with your overall company goals.

Talent analytics and planning

Lastly, a huge portion of the strategic value of your talent management will come from analytics and planning. All of the above can be carefully informed with recruitment and talent metrics and questions including,

  • Sourcing data- Where is top talent coming from? What is the cost per source?
  • Recruitment data- What’s the cost per hire? How long does it take to hire? Where do we lose people in the recruitment funnel?
  • Talent development- What do our employees think of our talent development opportunities? Where are we investing in talent development?
  • Retention data- What’s the average turnover rate?

Finding data to answer these questions, will better inform your talent management overall and help you decide how to plan accordingly.

Example of Talent Management

Now that you have a better idea of the components of talent management, learn more about one example of how talent management in a company can function and impact their success:

Small Business Talent Management stars! (Let’s call them team stars for now!)

Develop a talent management strategy in alignment with business objectives

First, they take a step back and decide how talent management will feed into their greater goals and objectives.

Make talent management a priority

The team also sets up the structure so multiple parties, HR, leadership, employees all see the benefits of a strong talent management function. From the CEO to the new hire, talent management is known and seen.

Practice talent acquisitions best practices

See above for the nitty-gritty of how this team recruits the best talent!

Learning & Development implementation

Team star creates options for learning and development for its employees. Specifically based on an employee survey, they decided to give a learning budget every quarter so employees can choose a variety of opportunities.

Leadership Development

Based on that same employee survey, they found out that employees were interested in leadership groups for development- thus they created a leadership group opportunity for a special group of individuals appointed by the company or their managers.

Set retention & succession goals

Knowing that turnover is bound to happen, team star decides to set retention goals in line with their industry standards. Then they also have time to plan for succession if needed.

Pull data on talent analytics

Finally, the star team takes all the metrics they’ve been gathering throughout the year.

Start planning process again

The star team is never quite satisfied, so are always looking for ways to improve their process and talent management. Using the data they’ve pulled and the learnings throughout the year, the star team plans for the next year.

The Big Differences Between Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

The big difference between talent acquisition and talent management is the overall function they serve at an organization and the part of the talent management they serve. Talent acquisition refers to every part of sourcing, recruiting, and hiring top talent, while talent management can refer to talent acquisition it is a part of the larger scheme- including retaining, developing, and planning talent initiatives. The main takeaway is that both functions are crucial to stay competitive within the market and to have top talent in and growing in your organization.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting, or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.