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Recruiting Agency or Talent Acquisition Specialist: What's the Difference?

Kristin Bachman
4 min read

If your agency is struggling to fill open roles — or is simply scaling so quickly that you need help with your hiring — then it may be time to seek specialized help. 

Many growing companies choose to work with talent acquisition specialists to assist with their long-term staffing strategies beyond the capabilities of traditional hiring managers or a human resources department.

Of course, hiring a talent acquisition specialist isn't your company's only option. Some may prefer to work with a recruiter, whereas others may benefit from a more combined approach. 

By having a better understanding of what a talent acquisition specialist does, how this differs from the role of a recruiter, and how you can enjoy the best of both worlds, you can make the right talent-sourcing decisions for your growing business.

What Is a Talent Acquisition Specialist?

So, what exactly is a talent acquisition specialist (TAS), and what skills do these professionals bring to the table?

Job Brief

In simplest terms, a talent acquisition specialist is somebody responsible for hiring within an organization. These professionals may work as part of the organization's HR department or may be sourced from a third-party agency when job openings need to be filled.

Talent acquisition specialists take on very specific roles that reflect the company's long-term needs. Rather than simply filling positions for the short-term, talent acquisition consultants seek qualified candidates who will require minimal training and stay with the company for many years to come. These professionals often handle every step of the recruitment, screening, and hiring process.

Roles and Responsibilities

While the exact roles and responsibilities of a talent acquisition specialist can vary from one company to the next, most handle full-cycle recruiting and hiring tasks that include:

  • Writing detailed job descriptions for open roles and publishing them to job boards, social media pages, and other outlets
  • Understanding an organization's company culture, unique needs, and hiring standards
  • Screening potential candidates based on their initial applications and resumes
  • Scheduling and conducting interviews with candidates via video chat, telephone, or in person
  • Making direct hiring recommendations to HR staff

In some cases, talent acquisition specialists may also assist with the onboarding and training process — though this can differ from one company to the next.

Experience and Skills

The most successful talent acquisition specialists must possess excellent written and verbal communication skills and interpersonal skills, especially when composing job openings and conducting interviews with potential new employees. 

However, these professionals must also be able to effectively communicate with HR teams and members of other departments to get a solid understanding of the roles that need to be filled and the qualifications for these roles.

Organization is another important skill to have as a talent acquisition specialist. Sifting through piles of job applications and resumes, scheduling numerous interviews, and working around candidates' schedules can be challenging. In many ways, these professionals serve as the face of the company during a talent acquisition process, so working with professionalism and order is vital.

While not always a requirement, some companies prefer hiring talent acquisition specialists with HR certifications or Bachelor's degrees in Human Resources or a similar field. Some may also prefer working with professionals with at least a few years of experience with hiring/onboarding.

Some other important skills for talent acquisition specialists to have include:

  • Full-cycle recruiting experience
  • Proficiency in using professional networks, social media, and databases for sourcing top talent
  • Work experience using applicant tracking systems (ATS)

How Does a TAS Differ From a Recruiter?

While it may seem like a talent acquisition specialist is the same thing as a recruiter, there are some subtle yet important differences between the two. 

Most notably, a talent acquisition specialist is more focused on the long term. In contrast, recruiters tend to be more focused on filling roles quickly with less regard for the "big picture."

Specifically, talent acquisition specialists must do a lot of long-term planning when filling specialized roles for a company. 

For example, these professionals can predict that a senior employee will be retiring within the next five years. As a result, they'll be able to start a talent search for a replacement with plenty of time to onboard, train, and prepare a new hire to assume the senior role later on. 

This kind of perspective on an organization's big-picture staffing needs ultimately sets a talent acquisition specialist apart from a recruiter.

Likewise, talent acquisition specialists tend to be more skilled at negotiating and recruiting skilled workers for the long haul. These professionals, for example, understand the impact that the "Great Resignation" has had on the American workforce. 

They also understand that hiring and retaining workers means more than just offering a competitive salary; it's also about benefits, workplace culture, and brand values. 

Consider, for example, that 63% of today's job seekers consider work-life balance as a top priority when looking for a new job. An experienced talent acquisition specialist will understand these job market nuances and be able to recruit competitively.

Of course, this isn't to say that general recruiters don't play a vital role in staffing. When organizations need to fill many roles or have vacancies that need to be filled immediately, recruiters put their skills to use by holding job fairs and other recruiting events to make this happen.

Hunt Club: Where Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Converge

As you can see, both traditional recruiters and talent acquisition specialists can bring a lot to the table when filling open roles within your organization. However, why choose between working with a recruiter and a talent acquisition specialist when you can enjoy the best of both worlds?

At Hunt Club, we combine the benefits of rapid recruiting with detail-oriented talent acquisition strategies to help you find the best long-term talent for your company's needs.

Utilize Tech to Expand Your Pool of Talent

Hunt Club's proprietary and robust technology gives your organization access to a huge talent pool that cannot be tapped by a single recruiter or talent acquisition specialist alone. 

In fact, our technology searches the networks of 20,000 industry leaders to mine for only the most qualified candidates. We can tap into those leaders to refer their top connections directly to your open positions.

Surface the Best Talent Through Proven Communities

Our full-service recruiting company is powered not just by our advanced technology but by proven communities as well. 

We leverage the power of our relationships with more than 20,000 experts and 1,000 different companies to give your organization access to a pool of more than 7.8 million passive candidates. We also rely on referrals from our extensive network of subject matter experts to find the right talent for your job openings every single time.

Provide Top Recruiters With Functional Expertise

Our recruiters bring valuable functional and industry expertise to every search because they have personally worked in the positions you need to fill. 

As a result, they understand the unique skills and strengths needed to excel and know exactly what to look for in an ideal candidate. 

This is a level of expertise that you simply won't find with a traditional recruiter, talent acquisition specialist, or HR professional who has never actually worked in the roles for which you're hiring.

Find the Best Candidates Today With Hunt Club

Creating strong talent pipelines for your organization takes a great deal of time, work, and experience. For some companies, working with a talent acquisition specialist or recruiter may be a suitable option. However, for those who want to take their hiring to the next level, working with Hunt Club can yield unrivaled results.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to our team to discuss your company's unique recruiting and hiring needs. Then, join more than 1,000 businesses that trust Hunt Club to build their talent pipelines while providing best-in-class service at every step of the recruitment process.

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