Organizational Wellness

What is Talent Acquisition? 11 Proven Strategies to Find Great Employees.

Oct 11, 2022
Last Updated Dec 12, 2023

Gone are the days of predictable career paths and easy talent acquisition. Today's workforce is dynamic, and as a result, the process of finding and securing the right employees has become more complex.

In the past, companies could rely on internal promotions and college campus recruitment to fill entry-level positions. But times have changed. A highly competitive labor market and a mobile workforce mean that HR leaders must now invest more time, resources, and strategic thinking into building their organization's talent pool.

To truly thrive in today's global marketplace, a strong talent acquisition strategy is essential. This goes beyond simply filling open roles — it requires a proactive approach to identifying and attracting the talent that will drive your organization forward.

What Is Talent Acquisition?

Talent acquisition is the process of finding, attracting, and onboarding skilled employees. It takes a long-term view of an organization's talent needs and prepares ahead of time to meet these demands, from headcount this year to executive succession planning. Talent acquisition requires understanding the organization's culture, its talent needs, the competitive market for talent and recruiting techniques that will yield desirable outcomes.

In many cases, the responsibility for effective talent acquisition belongs to human resources (HR) departments. Because of this, they are often responsible for the development and implementation of a recruitment strategy. This can include everything from building relationships with potential candidates to using technology such as applicant tracking systems (ATS). 

Talent acquisition is an ever-evolving practice that requires HR departments to keep up with new trends in order to remain competitive and successful in their efforts (learn more in Talent Acquisition Trends).

Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment

Recruitment is part of talent acquisition. While recruitment is a short-term activity focused on filling a specific vacancy, talent acquisition is a broader, long-term strategy. It requires anticipating talent needs across the organization and coming up with a big picture strategy about how you will attract the right employees, especially for hard-to-fill roles.  

Recruitment is part of talent acquisition. While recruitment is a short-term activity focused on filling a specific vacancy, talent acquisition is a broader, long-term strategy. It requires anticipating talent needs across the organization and coming up with a big picture strategy about how you will attract the right employees, especially for hard-to-fill roles.

An example of recruiting would be placing job ads on LinkedIn for a product developer after an employee turns in their two-week notice.

Talent acquisition, on the the hand, would include researching target markets to understand what potential employees are looking for and developing relationships with leadership at executive networks to have relationships with potential future department heads. Talent acquisition also involves looking internally, understanding the needs of different teams in your organization and using data to inform strategies about how best to attract talent.

Talent Acquisition Examples

Recruitment Marketing

This strategy typically involves creating an online presence that helps attract potential employees from a wide range of sources. This includes using job boards, social media, blogs and other digital channels to cultivate interest among prospective applicants.

Referral Programs

Companies can create referral programs to incentivize current employees to refer their friends and colleagues for open positions. This type of program helps attract quality talent — referral candidates are four times more likely to be offered a position than online applicants.

Targeted Outreach

Companies can use targeted outreach to reach out and engage with potential candidates specific to their needs or goals. This could include attending job fairs, reaching out to universities, or attending industry events. 

Social Recruiting

Companies can leverage social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to source candidates through referrals or direct messaging campaigns. This type of recruiting is an effective way to find qualified individuals that may not be actively looking for a job but who would be interested in the right opportunity.

Employer Branding

Employer branding helps companies create a positive perception among potential applicants by highlighting the unique aspects of their workplace culture and values. Creating digital content around topics like career development, company values and benefits can help attract top talent.

The Benefits of Talent Acquisition

Your workforce is the foundation of your success. From top executives to interns, every member plays a pivotal role in driving profitability and overall achievements. That's why talent acquisition goes beyond mere recruitment—it's about strategically cultivating the right team to meet both present and future needs. 

Nailing talent acquisition can help you:

Set the Stage for Growth

Like planting seeds for a bountiful harvest, talent acquisition lays the foundation for long-term expansion. By cultivating a network of exceptional candidates, you can swiftly fill crucial positions, saving time and resources while fostering accelerated growth for your business.

Increase Productivity

Boost workplace productivity by bringing in the right people for the right roles. Actively engaged top talent is powerful, as unengaged employees cost the global economy a staggering $7.8 trillion in lost productivity in 2021. A strategic approach to talent acquisition will help you avoid contributing to this alarming figure.

Drive Innovation

A good strategy can bring in the best and brightest minds, preparing your organization to tackle future trends and developments. With a team of forward-thinking innovators, you'll stay ahead of the competition by leveraging their creative solutions for maximum success.

Build a Diverse Team

Assembling a team with various perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences can help your business think more holistically and arrive at better solutions. An effective talent acquisition strategy considers all aspects of diversity, from gender, ethnicity and cultural background to experiences and perspectives. This helps you build an inclusive work environment andpull in talent that adds to your company culture — and bottom line, given that companies with diverse leadership are more profitable

Improve Employee Retention

By choosing the right people for the job in the first place, you’ll be able to create an environment where employees feel valued and respected—which in turn leads to higher levels of retention. This saves your company money down the line, given the costs of finding, hiring, and onboarding a new employee.

The Complete Talent Acquisition Process

Every business is unique and will likely need to develop its own take on talent acquisition. That said, most organizations will probably need to follow a similar process.

Talent acquisition strategies

  1. Define Your Needs

If you’re hiring to meet business needs rather than fill open positions, you first need a clear idea of what those needs are. Work with stakeholders and leadership within your company to determine which business goals are relevant to the position you’ll be hiring for, and what specific talents, experience, and other factors the candidate will need to possess. 

  1. Develop a Pipeline

A pipeline of pre-vetted prospects increases the likelihood your company will acquire top talent. This can include current employees who may be a good option for advancement, referrals from trusted employees, previously interviewed candidates, or others. A strong talent pipeline will allow you to limit your search only to those candidates who are most likely to fit your needs. 

  1. Start Recruiting Talent

As you begin the recruiting process, reach out through social networks, online communities, forums, and other areas where you’ll be able to connect with specialists who may be interested in taking the position. Develop a competitive employee benefits and compensation package, and make sure that you highlight the advantages of your company culture as you work to create a positive candidate experience. And don’t forget to keep in touch with those who are exceptional but maybe aren’t a perfect fit just yet — they can be added to your talent pipeline for future consideration. 

  1. Begin Interviewing

With your needs defined and the right candidates identified, create an interview process that highlights the skills relevant to the position. Place increased focus on the candidates’ ability to problem solve, evaluate options, and think creatively. You may wish to include certain tests or tasks as part of the interview process to further refine your pool of potential hires. 

  1. Check References

Sometimes a candidate that interviews well and looks great on paper can still end up a poor fit. This is because there will always be issues that the interview process fails to account for. You can reduce your chances of hiring the wrong person by making sure to follow up on the candidate’s references. This will give you an insider’s opinion on the candidate and help you develop a more clear picture of any strengths, weaknesses, and potential concerns that should play a role in your decision. 

  1. Make Your Selection

Gut feelings can be beneficial when deciding whom to hire, but they should still be backed up by data. Create a system for measuring quality of hire and use it for comparing and selecting from your top candidates. If other stakeholders and leaders need to have a say in the selection, make it easy on them by giving them a clear overview of what each candidate brings to the table.

  1. Hire and Onboard

Have you found the right person for the job? All that’s left is to reach out to them with your offer. Remember that top talent will likely want to negotiate on certain terms of their contract, so be open to this possibility. Once they’ve accepted the position, all that remains is to make it official and begin the onboarding process.

Eleven Talent Acquisition Strategies to Find Great Employees

Ready to pour jet fuel on your talent acquisition? These proven tactics will help you attract the best candidates and build a stellar team:

  1. Prioritize Employee Wellness

A comprehensive wellness program sets you apart as an employer: 78% of workers believe their wellbeing is just as important as their salaryWellbeing initiatives also boost productivity and create a positive work environment to boot, making them a valuable part of both talent acquisition and management strategies. 

  1. Showcase Your Amazing Company Culture

Careers are  about more than salary. Job seekers prioritize company culture, so make yours visible. Share your organization's awesomeness through social media, employee stories, and blog posts. Let prospective hires see why your culture is irresistible.

  1. Invest in Skill Development

Show candidates that you prioritize their growth. Offering opportunities for skill development and professional advancement will help attract ambitious candidates who want to continually improve.

  1. Promote from Within

Build a talent pipeline by considering internal candidates for open positions. Hiring from within is efficient and ensures hires align with your culture. Current employees and former interns can bring fresh perspectives and loyalty to your team. It can also boost employee longevity, with eight out of ten of hiring managers saying that internal recruiting improves employee retention.

  1. Network, Network, Network

Tap into your network to build awareness about open positions. Reach out to former colleagues, industry associations, and even the local college. Don’t be shy about spreading the word - referrals are one of the most effective ways to find top talent.

  1. Foster a Positive Interview Experience

Recruiting and hiring can be stressful for both employers and job seekers. Make sure your interviewing process is well-structured, timely, respectful, and consistent for all candidates. A positive interview experience will increase the chance of great hires.

  1. Invest in Talent Acquisition Tech

Leverage technology to streamline recruitment efforts and improve your talent acquisition strategies over time. Automation tools — like applicant tracking systems — help find the right candidate quickly while ensuring compliance with equal opportunity regulations.

  1. Reach Out to Passive Candidates

Not every great candidate is actively looking for a job. Proactively reach out and connect with passive candidates through networking events, LinkedIn messages, or employee referrals. You never know who you might connect with!

  1. Stand Out with Competitive and Creative Benefits

Go beyond the basics and offer benefits that make candidates take notice. Health savings accountsstudent loan repayment plans, and flex time off can make a valuable hire choose your company over the competition.

  1. Reward Your All-Stars

Once you've found your ideal hires, rewards will help retain them — think performance bonuses and flexible hours as well as career pathing and mentorship opportunities. Investing in your existing employees enhances loyalty, making it more likely they’ll stick around and develop the institutional knowledge invaluable to any organization.

  1. Keep Improving

Finally, don't forget to continuously review and evaluate your talent acquisition strategies. Make sure they're in line with your company's values and goals while keeping up with the latest trends in recruitment. With the right tactics, you can build a winning team!

How to Measure Your Talent Acquisition Success

Despite the clear tie between talent acquisition and business success, many organizations struggle to evaluate their performance. After all, how do you measure the value of something with so many moving parts?

Fortunately, there are several key performance indicators (KPIs) to consider when assessing your talent acquisition approach. 

  • Time to Hire: The average amount of time that passes between the initial contact with a candidate and when they accept the offer.
  • Cost of Hiring: The average cost associated with hiring a candidate — this includes any money spent recruiting, onboarding, outfitting, etc., but also needs to take into account any productivity losses from the position going unfilled during the hiring process.
  • Yield Ratio: The percentage of applicants that progress from one stage to the next during the hiring process.
  • Quality of Hire: The overall value that a new hire brings to the organization; this metric will need to take into account other metrics, such as company turnover rates, individual job performance metrics, and metrics related to whether the employee is a fit for the company culture.
  • Employee Retention Rate: The percentage of new hires that remain employed for a specific length of time. 

The best metrics to use will depend on the strategy and ultimate goals. It’s recommended to use multiple KPIs when evaluating the impact of your TA efforts to gain a holistic view of its impact.

Talent Acquisition Trends

The workplace of today is constantly evolving, and the talent acquisition sector is no exception. In order to stay ahead in the ever-shifting TA landscape, it’s important to be aware of the latest trends that are driving innovation and shaping the industry. Here’s a look at five of the top TA trends for 2023.


Automation is transforming many aspects of business – from AI-driven customer service to automated scheduling solutions – and HR TA processes are no different. By streamlining recruitment processes with automated systems, companies can reduce costs while improving their hiring process. Automation also makes it easier for recruiters to track candidates through each stage of the application process, helping them make more informed hiring decisions. 

Skill-Based Hiring

As the needs of businesses shift, so do their hiring requirements. Companies are now looking beyond specific job titles and degrees when making hiring decisions, instead focusing on a candidate’s skillset and capabilities. In order to attract the best talent for specific roles, TA teams need to have an understanding of the skills needed for each position and focus their recruitment efforts accordingly. 

Candidate Experience

How recruiters treat job applicants has a major impact on the company’s reputation. Companies should prioritize creating a positive and enriching experience for candidates throughout the recruitment process in order to attract top talent and create a lasting impression. This includes streamlining processes, providing timely feedback, and offering meaningful opportunities during the onboarding period. 

Employer Branding

As competition for top talent increases, employers need to communicate their unique value proposition in order to stand out from the crowd. Having a strong employer brand that reflects your company culture and communicates the advantages of working there is essential for creating engaging job postings and attracting qualified candidates. 

Talent Communities

Building relationships with potential candidates is essential for successful TA teams. Companies can use talent communities — like social media groups, alumni networks, and industry forums — to engage and nurture their candidate pool, allowing them to build a strong pipeline of interested and qualified applicants that can be tapped into when roles become available.

Workforce Wellness Fuels Talent Acquisition

Prioritizing wellbeing at every stage of the talent acquisition process gives employers an edge. As the competition for talent stays hot, workers are flocking to companies that treat them well. There's a reason that 85% of HR leaders say their wellness programs decrease their talent management costs, from recruitment to retention.

Factoring this into your TA strategy will help you stay ahead in the game. From offering flexible hours and remote work to providing wellness benefits such as meditation breaks, fitness discounts, mental health counseling, and subsidized healthy meals, you can show candidates that you care about their wellbeing — all while also boosting satisfaction, increasing productivity, and saving on healthcare spending.

Speak with a Wellhub wellbeing specialist today to discuss how our flexible wellness platform can strengthen your talent acquisition!

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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