Talent Acquisition

What is talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition refers to the HR functions necessary to source, attract, process, screen, qualify and hire talent. They include:

  • Developing a hiring plan
  • Developing an elegant candidate acquisition program
  • Writing job descriptions
  • Posting jobs to job boards, careers pages, and social media accounts
  • Tracking hiring metrics
  • Receiving and tracking applications and resumes
  • Developing screening questionnaires, candidate scorecards and interview scripts
  • Scheduling and conducting interviews
  • Performing background and reference checks
  • Writing offer letters
  • Employment contract negotiation
  • Creating employee referral programs
  • Finding the best candidates who may not even be looking

Talent Acquisition Management

The task of talent acquisition varies depending on the size of a company. In small businesses, owners may handle all recruiting tasks themselves. In larger organizations, Human Resources departments and hiring managers perform much of the recruiting work. At the enterprise level, companies may outsource recruiting to staffing agencies or professional recruiters (sometimes called headhunters).

How does a talent acquisition specialist fill an open job?

Here is the general process a talent acquisition specialist or hiring manager would follow:

  • Submit a job requisition to appropriate members of leadership and obtain approval
    • Perform a job analysis to identify the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics required for a position.
    • Decide whether to fill the new position with an outside candidate or through internal placement.
    • Write a job description based on the position analysis
    • Create the application including any screening questionnaires included in the application process
  • Post the job to job boards, social media sites, careers pages or other job advertising venues
    • Seek referrals from current employees
    • Review applications and resumes for qualifications and experience
    • Select a pool of top candidates from the overall applicant pool
  • Manage the interview and evaluation process:
    • Select the candidates from the initial pool who will advance to a phone interview
      • Of those candidates, choose which candidates to invite for in-person or video interviews
      • Schedule interviews
      • Conduct interviews
      • Gather feedback from the hiring team
  • Make the final hiring decision
    • Obtain approval from the executive team (or other necessary stakeholders)
    • Conduct background and reference checks
  • Extend an offer letter
    • Negotiate the employment contract

See also

Additional resources

Job Description

What is a job description?

A job description is a formal listing of an employee’s specific responsibilities and important details about the position.

A good job description will:

  • Define the job responsibilities
  • Reduce the applicant pool to those who qualify
  • Introduce the applicant to the company and its culture

Creating a job description is the first step in the hiring process. It’s important to get it right and to tailor it to attract qualified candidates.

A good job description will filter out applicants who aren’t qualified and discourage candidates who aren’t a good cultural fit. This way, you won’t waste any time on unqualified applicants. And poor-fit job seekers won’t waste time applying.

How do you write a job description?

First, establish the basic information about the position. This is easy: company name, job location, and job title. Next, identify the specific skills and qualifications needed for this position.

Describing job skills can be challenging. You can get ideas by searching the web for examples. LinkedIn, JuJu and CareerBuilder are all good places to see how other companies are doing it.

Keep the job description brief but detailed enough to attract a good applicant pool. Make sure the description fits your company’s personality.

Here are the elements:

  1. Job location
  2. Job title
  3. List of job responsibilities
  4. List of candidate requirements
  5. List of desired candidate credentials
  6. Statement about company and benefits
  7. EEOC statement

Avoid overcomplicating job descriptions with acronyms, jargon, and creative titles. Be clear and concise. Don’t make it difficult for applicants to know if they want to apply. You might call your website manager a Digital Alchemist, but don’t do it in a job description.

Benefits of a Well-Written Job Description

A well written job description will:

  • Help attract the right candidates
  • Be a template for writing outside job postings and advertisements
  • Serve as a guide for formulating your interview questions and candidate evaluation
  • Set realistic expectations for the new hire (jobs in a small to medium size company can shift depending on your growth and direction)
  • Assist managers and supervisors in conducting performance reviews and identifying training needs
  • Prevent future legal problems with federal agencies in the event of a discrimination allegation

If a job description remains unchanged for a long time, it can become misleading and inaccurate. Flexible job descriptions keep employees informed about their duties and responsibilities, which makes them feel better about their jobs, as well as making them more productive. When writing a job description, you should make sure it is concise, clear and flexible enough to allow employees to grow within their positions and learn how to make larger contributions to your company. Reviewing your job descriptions periodically will ensure that they accurately reflect what each employee is doing and your expectations of results from that employee.

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Additional resources


What is recruiting?

Human resources recruiting is the process of finding and hiring talented employees. Recruiting includes tasks such as sourcing, attracting, screening, and offering jobs to high-quality candidates.

Recruiting may involve the following tasks:

  • Developing an elegant candidate acquisition program
  • Designing a hiring plan
  • Submitting and obtaining approval for job requisition requests
  • Writing job descriptions
  • Posting jobs to job boards, careers pages, and social media accounts
  • Tracking hiring metrics
  • Receiving and tracking applications and resumes
  • Creating screening questionnaires and candidate scorecards
  • Writing interview scripts
  • Scheduling and conducting interviews
  • Performing background and reference checks
  • Writing offer letters to make a good impression
  • Negotiating employment contracts
  • Managing compensation and benefits programs
  • Creating internal hiring and employee referral programs
  • Finding the best candidates who may not even be looking

Who manages recruiting?

Recruiting is handled in different ways by different companies. In small businesses and startups, owners or managers commonly handle recruiting. In larger organizations, a Human Resources department hires and retains the talent acquisition team that finds candidates for open positions. Enterprise-level companies may have a specialized team with hundreds of recruiters working to fill job openings. Large companies may also outsource recruiting to staffing agencies and professional recruiters (sometimes called headhunters).

Automated Recruiting using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

An applicant tracking system (ATS) automates nearly every task involved in hiring. These tasks include job posting, tracking and managing resumes, sending emails to applicants, creating hiring workflows, filtering candidates, creating interview scripts, and writing job descriptions.

How can job boards improve recruiting?

job board is a search engine that allows users to search open jobs by a variety of variables. These include job role, geographic location, industry, and job type (contractor, part-time, remote position, etc.). Some job boards specialize in tech jobs or a specific geographic area; others focus on an underrepresented employee demographic. Job seekers can apply for jobs and upload resumes on the job board; recruiters can post open jobs and search for best-fit candidates in the resume database.

What is a job distribution platform?

This is a website that aggregates thousands of independent job boards. For those seeking employment, it doesn’t work much differently than a job board. Users can search by job title, location, company, job type (part-time, remote, intern, contractor) or many other variables. Job distribution platforms allow companies to post jobs on multiple job boards at once, making it quicker and less expensive than posting to individual job boards. These platforms also provide artificial intelligence tools to help recruiters identify the best boards for their specific job postings.

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Additional resources

Hiring Manager

What is a hiring manager?

The hiring manager hires new employees to fill open positions in for-profit, non-profit or governmental organizations. Hiring managers are typically people from the department in which the new employee will work. They may serve as the new employee’s supervisor once they accept the position. Hiring managers work with the Human Resources department as well as any recruiters or agencies hired by the organization to fill jobs.

What is a Hiring Manager Responsible for?

The hiring manager’s job is to ensure that the company hires qualified talent to help execute its business strategy. The hiring manager is responsible for a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Determining the need for a new position
    •  Conducting a job analysis to determine the skills, abilities, and knowledge required for a new or open position.
    • Preparing and submitting a job requisition to the appropriate members of leadership, who must then approve the request.
    • Deciding whether to fill a new position with an outside hire or by promoting from within
  • Writing a job description based on the position analysis
  • Creating the application including any screening questionnaires included in the application process
  • Posting the job to job boards, social media sites, careers pages or other job advertising venues
  • Managing an internal referral program
  • Reviewing applications and resumes
  • Separating the top candidates from the overall applicant pool
  • Managing the interview and evaluation process:
    • Determining which candidates from the initial pool will advance to a phone interview
    • Of those candidates, choosing which candidates to invite for in-person or video interviews
    • Scheduling interviews
    • Writing the interview script for the interview process
    • Creating assessment materials to evaluate the final applicant pool
  • Making the final hiring decision
    • Obtaining approval from the executive team (or other necessary stakeholders)
  • Defining roles and responsibilities for the hiring team
  • Directing the recruitment team throughout the hiring process
  • Working with in-house and outsourced recruiters
  • Writing the job offer
  • Negotiating the employment contract with the chosen applicant
  • Overseeing the onboarding of the new hire
  • Assigning a mentor to the new employee

Differences between a Hiring Manager and a Recruiter

In most companies, recruiters work to attract a pool of qualified applicants for positions. Hiring managers then identify the most qualified candidate from the pool of applicants.

Average Salary for a Hiring Manager

The national average salary for a Hiring Manager is $51,826 in the United States. (Glassdoor) 

What Work Tech can help a hiring manager be successful?

Hiring software, including applicant tracking systems, helps to streamline the hiring process by allowing hiring managers to track applications, post jobs, communicate with candidates and manage job description, email and interview templates. For example, applicant tracking systems can be integrated with Job boards and job distribution platforms to post jobs with ease.

See also

Additional resources

Background Check

What is a background check?

A background check is a vetting process for prospective employees, where an employer or third-party service investigates a job candidate’s past. The areas of inquiry differ from job role to job role and industry to industry, but they may include criminal history, education history and financial status.

Once a candidate has been advanced through the initial screening and interview(s), they will have been evaluated by the employer based on information they provided on their application or resume, as well as their performance during the interview and other interactions.

Background screenings, along with reference checks, enable the hiring team to gather information about a candidate from people or institutions outside of the applicant.

The employer or third-party background check service may contact the candidate’s former employers, managers, and educational institutions. The background check will include employment history, education (including the validity of claimed degrees, licenses and certifications), criminal records, credit history, motor vehicle history and drivers license records.

Employers conduct background checks to ensure that an applicant:

  • Is qualified for the position
  • Did not lie on his/her application, resume and during the interview.
  • Isn’t concealing serious wrongdoing including theft, fraud, harassment, violence, or negligence

Does the employer have to obtain the candidate’s consent to perform a background check?

In order to protect applicants, employers must provide applicants with a formal written disclosure and obtain consent before requesting a background check. The disclosure and consent form must be a separate document and can’t be included in the application. The employer must disclose that the information may be used to influence the hiring decision.

If a third-party service is used, after the employer obtains consent from the applicant, they must inform the background check company that they notified the candidate and obtained their consent. The employer must also verify that they complied with FCRA anti-discrimination provisions discussed below.

Laws that Regulate Background Checks

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates the use of consumer credit reports and other investigative reports by employers who hire third-party service agencies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the FCRA.

When a third party performs background checks, it may obtain information called “investigative reporting”, in which information about the job candidate may contain subjective judgment about a candidate.

How does the FTC define a “report”?

A report need not always be in written form. For example, a report could refer to information obtained in a short phone call that is communicated orally to the hiring manager in another short phone call.

An FCRA consumer report is “Any written, oral or other communication of any information by a consumer-reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living. In the employment context, this definition may, for example, include credit reports, criminal history reports, driving records and other background check reports created by a third party, such as drug tests.” Society for Human Resource Management

If you are requesting an investigative report on a person, you must also inform the applicant or employee of his or her right to a description of the nature and scope of the investigation. EEOC

Background screenings:

  • Protect employees from violence or harassment
  • Protect customers from theft or harassment
  • Protect the business from fraud, theft, a tarnished reputation or legal liability

Background checks are an important part of an employer’s due diligence when evaluating job applicants. Thorough background checks protect the business, the employees, the customers and the public at large.

See also

Additional resources