What does “talent” acquisition actually mean?

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There’s been so much talk lately in the business world about acquiring “talent” like they’re buying new shoes or a new car…sounds rather impersonal doesn’t it? And really what does it mean anyway?

From what I’ve read, “talent” acquisition is about placing potential employee’s skillsets at the forefront of the hiring process and then nurturing those skills. With so many buzzwords floating around it’s hard to know exactly what’s really going on in the job market, so the BIG question is, is this really happening? Is it done at the outset but then later promptly forgotten when the buzz has passed? To avoid unmet expectations, hard feelings or worse employees jumping ship, employers can keep their talent onboard and engaged.

Here’s how: 

  1. Instead of filing away a new employees resume and never looking at it again, how about having a quick sit down with them after the whole hiring process is over and ask them what specific skills they believe they can offer the company. Making a note of what they believe are their strengths will give you some options beyond the job description.
  2. Although some new hires may embellish or have incorrect assumptions regarding their skillsets you can better assess this by setting up a meeting between the team leaders or supervisors and the new hire. This will go particularly smoothly if you’ve included the supervisors in the hiring process; they’ll be more likely to properly assess the person and see them as less of a burden and more of a valuable addition to the team.
  3. Make note of all your employee’s strengths, but beware of lumping people together into similar “talent” pools. Most people’s talents come out the most when working in a team with a variety of skillsets. Also take into account that employees can gain or discover new skills that should be added to their repertoire.

The truth is that most people will often take less pay or a lesser position if they feel that their “talents” are valued. Unfortunately, most new employees will rarely point out they feel undervalued or that their skills are underutilized and will instead remain quiet while plotting an exit strategy.

Maybe we could change the buzzword from “talent” acquisition to “talent” management!

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