Talent Acquisition: The Art of Hiring Top Talent in 2023

The job market has been undergoing a major reset for the past three years. 

Before the pandemic, the talent acquisition process was largely commoditized, with too many companies treating people more like inventory than talent. That dynamic, like so much else, was turned on its head in 2020.

While labor market signals remain mixed, employees still have a strong say in demanding better work-life balance, more flexibility, and competitive benefits from their employers. And there’s no predicting what’ll come next. 

This market presents a chance for recruiters to revamp how they approach talent acquisition. It all starts with getting clear on objectives and how talent acquisition fits into your greater hiring motions. 

What is Talent Acquisition?

Talent acquisition is the process of identifying, attracting, and hiring skilled people to fulfill the company’s current and future human resource needs. A company’s talent acquisition process plays an essential role in ensuring that it has the right people to reach its goals.

What’s the Difference Between Talent Acquisition and Recruitment?

Talent acquisition is the high-level strategic framework and plan that helps companies find, attract, and engage the candidates who have the most potential to add value. It involves strategic planning, careful evaluation of candidates, and targeted marketing and recruitment campaigns.

Recruitment, on the other hand, is more tactical and describes all the activities involved in hiring, including candidate management, job posting, interviewing, onboarding, and reference checking.

How Does Talent Acquisition Fit Into Human Resources?

Talent acquisition provides a longer-term view of the talent pipeline, while HR provides day-to-day operational support to talent acquisition efforts. 

HR works to ensure the company has the right people for the right roles, while talent acquisition focuses on finding, attracting, and engaging the best candidates in the market.

Talent Acquisition Strategy: A Framework

A talent acquisition strategy is the framework for your recruitment process. These are the talent acquisition tenets that recruiters must focus on while building out their strategy: 

Developing and defining roles and responsibilities: This involves creating clear roles and responsibilities for the talent acquisition team, including shaping, recruiting, and managing the talent pipeline.

Fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion: A strong culture of diversity and inclusion will attract a wider range of talent and foster a better working environment for a broad array of talent.

Creating an employer branding strategy: Develop a solid employer branding strategy to attract the best talent and differentiate the company from competitors.

Crafting a recruitment process: Create an efficient recruiting process that includes steps such as job postings, interviewing, onboarding, and measuring performance.

Using the right technology: Use candidate intelligence platforms to your advantage to streamline the recruiting process and identify the best talent quicker than your competitors. 

ZoomInfo TalentOS product screenshot several contacts being "Added To Email Sequence"

Talent Acquisition Tools

Three tools are a must-have for teams looking to establish a solid foundation for their talent acquisition goals — an applicant tracking system, candidate data, and a recruiting intelligence platform. 

Applicant tracking system (ATS)

An applicant tracking system (ATS) governs all aspects of the recruitment process, from sourcing candidates to onboarding new employees.

Talent acquisition teams save time by automating resume screening, applicant tracking, and job posting with an ATS.

High-quality data

Quality data is the most efficient, effective way to speed up the hiring process and improve the acquisition funnel from end to end.

ZoomInfo’s TalentOS lets you easily identify good-fit candidates with features such as:

  • Keywords
  • Years of experience
  • Technologies
  • Job history
  • Scoops
  • Recommended similar companies
  • Interactive org charts

Recruiters can search by location, industry, job function, and management level with ZoomInfo TalentOS, making a list of qualified candidates and their contact information available in just a few clicks.

Talent intelligence platform

A talent intelligence platform automates and informs the recruitment process from candidate sourcing all the way through hiring. 

With talent acquisition analytics and fresh candidate data, TalentOS helps recruiters save time and streamline their hiring efforts. 

Talent Acquisition Strategy and Tactics

Here are some of the most effective ways to engage top-tier candidates in 2023: 

Invest in “quiet hiring”

In contrast to quiet quitting, quiet hiring encourages hiring internal candidates with untapped potential to fill open positions. It emphasizes their growth potential and the new skills and capabilities they will acquire. 

With a quiet hiring strategy, it’s important to highlight how a new job will benefit a candidate’s career goals and position them for future career development — after all, a new position could mean a major life change for an internal candidate. 

Embrace hybrid work

Today, many people are embracing a hybrid schedule that gives them options for where they work while maintaining a connection with the team.

Start by revisiting your employer branding to incorporate and clearly communicate how you’re embracing hybrid work. By playing up the quality-of-life factor that’s enhanced by a hybrid work position, you stand a better chance at attracting the right talent. 

Prioritize diversity and inclusion

Rewriting job descriptions to be more inclusive, creating employee resource groups and revisiting your employer brand are only some of the ways to highlight diversity and inclusion

Robert Daugherty, senior vice president of talent acquisition at ZoomInfo, says recruiters should work to understand the behaviors and actions that make meaningful change.

“We have to be willing to continuously educate ourselves and others, which might include uncomfortable but important conversations,” Daugherty says.

Highlight career development

Offering a clear career progression is one of the strongest drivers of work culture. Ensure your top talent is aware of the opportunities for internal growth and feels that their job is secure. 

Career development should be one of the main pillars of your recruitment strategy. Consider offering perks like continued education stipends or mentorship programs for skill-building. 

Build your employer brand

Your employer brand is the public perception of your company as an employer. Company websites, word-of-mouth referrals, and social media accounts are all channels that can help establish and maintain your brand.

“Recruitment marketing is the way you tell your employer brand story to the market. In a competitive market, a strong recruitment marketing strategy attracts the right candidates at scale,” Daugherty says.

Refine your approach with company culture data

Company culture is a strong lever to use in any talent acquisition or retention strategy. An attractive, healthy company culture will attract the right people to your team and help you keep the most valuable hires onboard for the long term.

When you’re trying to source candidates, lean on company culture data to find good fits that may not otherwise be obvious — if your culture compares favorably with a candidate’s previous employer, your recruiters have a compelling way of making a connection.

Initiate more meaningful conversations with candidates by being informed about what they expect from an employer. Using a searchable and filterable database of job factors to inform your candidate search is key. 

Optimize your recruitment funnel

Put your candidate data to work. With the right platform, you can easily filter candidates based on location, industry, skills, and other criteria. For example, pairing your applicant tracking system (ATS) with a talent intelligence platform can help automate tasks like candidate matching, and help you iterate messaging and measure performance throughout your recruitment funnel

Engage the best passive candidates

Asking persuasive questions is a key way to engage curious candidates. If someone has not considered changing jobs before, these questions can be helpful in persuading them to consider your offer:

  • What initially motivated you to take your current position?
  • Have you found your position within the company to be as satisfying as it was when you first started?
  • Do you have the growth opportunities you want in your current role?

Consider that establishing trust and building relationships with passive candidates is a marathon, not a sprint. As the job market continues to shift, so should your approach to talent acquisition.