Differences Between Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

3 people looking at paperwork

Share This Post


Many people, even HR professionals, think that the terms talent acquisition and talent management are the same. While the two are definitely related concepts that are significant to an organization’s growth and success, companies who keep an eye on the bigger picture and the long stretch know there’s a vital difference between the two.

To ensure your HR functions are operating as efficiently and as effectively as possible, it’s important to understand the differences between talent acquisition and talent management – especially when it comes to their corresponding strategies.

What is talent acquisition?

In a nutshell, the meaning of talent acquisition is the process of attracting of hiring the best talent to fulfill your organization’s needs. In a corporate setting, it often involves sourcing, attracting, and interviewing applicants before hiring and onboarding them as new employees. Many discerning recruitment agencies also conduct a personality test for applicants to determine if an individual is fit for the role and the company culture.

 Some common talent acquisition methods include:

  • Employee referrals

According to a LinkedIn report, employee referrals are the best source for hiring top talent. Their data shows that companies can increase their potential in recruiting the best candidates by almost 10x with an effective employee referral system.

  • Careers site

Many candidates head over to your company’s website to know more about your business before sending in their applications.

  • Job boards

Posting job openings on job boards or portals give you a wider audience rather than sticking to your company’s website. Data shows that online job boards remain the top channel that people use to look for new jobs (a whopping 60%).

  • Social media recruiting

Employers reach candidates faster and at a lower cost through social media platforms. This also allows them to engage with their target audience and quickly identify whether certain candidates are a good cultural fit for the company.

For more information and inquiries about personality tests, don’t hesitate to contact Aptitude today.


What is talent management?

On the other hand, the meaning of talent management is the entire scope of HR processes to attract, develop, engage, motivate, and retain high-performing employees. It is composed of strategies and techniques that employers use to manage employees in terms of their output, skills, and training. In simpler words, talent management is basically all about effectively managing or handling your employees. It’s also key to note that talent acquisition is the first step in a talent management strategy.

Key steps in a talent management strategy include:

  1. Planning. This involves identifying where gaps lie in your organization, formulating job descriptions that fit the necessary roles you’re trying to fill and developing a streamlined process for recruitment.
  2. Attracting. Based on your plan, the next step is to decide whether you want to fill in specific roles from people already within the organization or from external sources. If you choose external sources, you can use the talent acquisition methods listed in the previous section.
  3. Selecting. This involves using a string of interviews and written tests to find the ideal person-role-organization match. Psychometric testing such as a personality exam for employment and group discussions can help you gauge an in-depth analysis or an all-rounded picture of the applicant, whether they’re an internal or an external candidate.
  4. Developing. While you hire candidates for certain skill sets, it’s also vital that you help them grow and train them for the expertise needed to succeed in their chosen career path within the organization. This begins with an effective onboarding program that will help the employees settle into their new roles, followed by providing various opportunities for them to enhance their skills, proficiencies, and aptitudes. These include constant counseling, mentoring, coaching, and job-rotation schemes.
  5. Retaining. For your company to be truly successful, you need to effectively retain talent, especially your high-performing employees. You can retain your best talent through increments and promotions, offering opportunities for growth, training for more evolved roles, encouraging involvement in decision-making and special projects, and providing recognition or rewards programs.
  6. Transitioning. A good talent management strategy focuses on the collective evolution and transformation of the company through the growth of individual employees. This means ensuring each employee feels that they are contributing to the company’s overall success and making them feel that they are part of a bigger whole. Effective succession planning and providing employees with retirement benefits may seem like irrelevant career points, but they are all valuable transition tools that promote a shared journey.

What are the major differences between talent acquisition and talent management?

The major difference between talent acquisition and talent management is that the former is just a part of the latter. Talent acquisition is all about making sure your company hires candidates with the right skills who have the potential to grow in your organization and will quickly adapt to the company culture. It consists of building a reputable employer brand to attract the right candidates, strategically sourcing potential hires through various recruitment methods, and proactively building candidate pipelines for the country’s future and immediate business needs.

Talent management follows after talent acquisition. It’s what happens after a great candidate has been interviewed and offered the job. It’s all about developing the skills of these hires and retaining them.

To gain a better grasp of the differences between talent acquisition and talent management, it’s good to look at the various tasks assigned to each team.

These are what a talent acquisition team typically does:

  • Work with executives and hiring managers to forecast staffing needs.
  • Fill the company’s talent pipelines through various recruitment channels and methods.
  • Improve the recruitment process by conducting surveys on the candidate experience.
  • Host or participate in recruitment events to grow their network for attracting or sourcing top talent.

With a talent management strategy and team, you do the following:

  • Onboard new hires by scheduling check-ins and first-day tasks.
  • Assess skill gaps within the organization and schedule training programs to address those gaps.
  • Design an organizational structure and define the roles and responsibilities for each position.
  • Prepare succession planning for hiring needs in the near or far future.

Aside from the discrepancies in tasks and responsibilities, talent acquisition and talent management also have different benefits.

Talent acquisition benefits:

  • Operational efficiency. A good talent acquisition strategy will streamline your hiring process, reduce costs, and improve communication about hiring needs.
  • Better candidate journey. Talent acquisition ensures greater consistency along the candidate journey, especially if your employer brand reflects your genuine employee value proposition.
  • Richer diversity. Effective collaboration allows you to hire employees from all walks of life, contributing to a diverse workforce.
  • Preparing for the future. Talent acquisition is forward-looking because you only hire the best candidates. This helps ensure that the people you onboard will develop into leaders in your company.

Talent management benefits:

  • Improved employee growth. By focusing on the growth of your employees, you help them develop their skills, making them feel more motivated to give back to your company.
  • Retain the best employees. A good talent management strategy helps you minimize attrition and help you stay ahead of the competition.
  • Develop consistent performers. With a proper organizational structure, employees can plan their future in the company better and remain motivated to deliver their best in projects.
  • Builds trust within the organization. With training programs in place, you help employees tighten their bond in the company, with the assurance that you consider their best interests and value their growth.

Talent Acquisition vs. Talent Management: Which is More Important?

In order to win the war on talent, you need both. You can’t have one without the other. A talent acquisition strategy lets you attract and hire qualified candidates, a talent management strategy develops and helps you retain those talented hires. If you give too much focus on one and neglect the other, you won’t be able to unleash the full potential of your organization.

You need to attract, identify, and recruit top talent who are able to learn and develop their skills quickly. Likewise, you need to invest in their development or else you won’t be able to retain them. Therefore, the best HR strategy is to use both when hiring and developing your employee base. When you use both, your company will be able to harness the collective skills and experience of your employees to stay competitive in the market.

I’m In! What Do I Do Next?

Reach out to Aptitude for a free trial of our online recruitment tests today and take advantage of our introductory promo. You’ll get a full overview of our recruitment tests as well as a sample report.