We have spoken to Susanne Simkens, an experienced leader within the recruitment and talent acquisition field. She brings experience from having lived and worked abroad and been active with the recruitment of internationals and leading teams in an international environment. Her focus has always been 'leading to success', either leading a company to success by having a structured talent acquisition process, as well as leading her staff to succeed and thrive.
"I believe TA is vital to any organisation wanting to grow or in need of hiring qualified staff." - Susanne
We have asked her to define the differences between Talent Acquisition and recruitment. What is it that you need for your company when doing recruitment? Are you structuring it in-house, will you be outsourcing the function, or will you be working with external recruitment partners?
In short, what does “TA” (Talent Acquisition) mean and why has it become, or why is it such an important role within an organisation?
Well, to be very brief, TA is the process of identifying an organisation’s staffing needs, attracting, and recruiting qualified candidates and selecting the ones best suited for the open positions. As you can see, the scope can be huge if we are looking at larger or more complex organisations. In an organisation with high growth ambitions, high staff turnover or in a changing market, your TA should be right up there with your sales department in terms of importance. If you do not have the means to attach and recruit the right people to cater to the needs of your clients, be it a product or a service, you will not be able to achieve your goals.
What are the tasks of a TA?
That depends on the organisation and the needs of the company. But in general, any and all tasks related to the hiring process as described above.
Is the TA function important in all organisations, or only within start-ups? What does a TA role look like in a ‘start-up’ and ‘scale-up’ vs. ‘established’ organisations?
I believe TA is vital to any organisation wanting to grow or in need of hiring qualified staff. In a start-up, the TA function is often characterised by a need for speed, flexibility and cost efficiency which will enable the organisation to ramp up or slow down the hiring efforts quickly. In an established organisation, the TA function should still be cost-efficient and flexible to the needs of the organisation, but there is more room for long-term planning, processes and projects.
What is the role of a TA / TA team?
The main role is to ensure an inflow of qualified candidates to enable a company's growth and goals etc. What this entails, varies a lot depending on the organisation you are working for. How responsible for attracting the candidates through sourcing, writing, and posting ads, social media presence and Employer Branding activities they are. And if they are guiding the candidate through the recruitment process ensuring a smooth candidate experience while catering to the companies and hiring managers best interests. A TA partner most often takes an active role in screening and interviewing candidates, advising stakeholders on what you look out for and how to set up an efficient process. If you have a large team, you often see some differentiation in the roles as TA professionals specialize in employer branding, sourcing etc.
What is the difference between TA, and an HR vs a recruiter?
The recruitment process is one of many parts of Talent Acquisition, which is a much broader term. So a TA partner is someone who takes on the whole spectrum of TA, while a recruiter is mainly focusing on the recruitment process. You will often see that if you are working in-house you will have responsibilities beyond simply recruiting and therefore you have a TA role. Recruiters, however, often work in an agency, supporting clients with a smaller part of the TA process. We do still see the terms used interchangeably, you cannot rely solely on someone’s title to ascertain what role they have in a company. An HR (Business Partner) works with teams, managers and key stakeholders to help build an organisation and people capability, and shape and implement effective people strategies and activities within the organisation.
What is the added value of a TA in an organisation?
Very dependent on the organisation of the course, but in general terms and in the best of words more cost-efficient, and has better candidate experience and thus a better employer brand, more structure and better quality of hire.
What does it need to be a good TA? How do you know it is a good TA? What education does a TA usually have?
A TA needs to have a genuine interest in people and make a great match, with a healthy dose of ambition and curiosity. Oh, and you need to be able to stay motivated even when things do not come together as you had hoped. Regarding education, I do not think there is a need for it as long as you have the drive to succeed. Oftentimes it does help to have some sort of background in the field you are recruiting in, be it educational, work experience or just a general interest.
What would your recommendation be to an organisation that does not have an HR or TA in place?
If you are not sure if your organisation could profit from having a TA function, just reach out to one of many talented TA professionals on LinkedIn and ask for a chat. Most of us are very generous with our experience and knowledge and love to talk about what we do!
Another way to find the right staff is to engage with a Recruitment Agency. Are you curious to learn how that works? If you are recruiting in Sweden and you are curious to learn more about Talent Acquisition, Recruitment and what the recruitment strategy should be when you have an open vacant position?
Source of the images in this blog.