Emerald Technology Aug 3, 2022 9:02:15 AM 10 min read

Do We Need A Talent Acquisition Specialist Or A Recruiter?

The term recruiter and talent acquisition specialist can get switched around a fair amount lately and it’s easy to see why. Choosing between a recruiter and talent acquisition specialist should be easy, but a few things have happened in the last decade to muddy the waters.   

An increasing number of recruitment agencies have positioned themselves as talent acquisitions specialists, but they aren’t. Demands of the economy have meant that when push comes to shove, sometimes, high street agencies have over promised what they can deliver to gain market share.   

This compounds when newer agencies pop up and, unknowingly, copy the older agencies by calling themselves talent acquisition experts.   

It’s time to set the record straight, and we can do this by first answering a question.  

Q: Is a recruitment agency the same thing as a talent acquisition specialist? 

A: No, talent acquisition isn’t the same as recruitment.


What’s The Difference Between Recruitment And Talent Acquisition?  

Recruitment is something you do when you need a person in a seat tomorrow. It’s more of an administrative task, writing job vacancies, screening potential candidates, running interviews and, hopefully, hiring someone.   

Talent Acquisition is something you do when you need to attract A+ talent to your business and keep them there. It’s a strategy aimed at attracting the very best talent a business can afford. It’s creating a culture where the best in their field want to move to your company.   

Recruitment is a subset of talent acquisition, but talent acquisition is not an integral part of recruitment.   


What Does A Recruitment Agency Do?  

Typically, a general recruitment agency will work with clients to fill vacancies as fast as possible. This would include sourcing candidates, screening resumes, interviewing, and hiring people for the position.   

The result is that a recruiter spends a lot, if not all their time, talking to potential job candidates. Client turnover can be high, because of the revolving door nature of recruitment at the lower end of the scale.   


What Does A Talent Acquisition Specialist Do?  

Since talent acquisition is a more holistic approach, it takes a lot of things into consideration, not just filling vacancies.  There’s a genuine headhunt for passive talent, not just active talent looking to get hired. 

These added vectors include:  

  • Helping the client develop a recruitment strategy  
  • Marketing the recruitment drive  
  • Employer branding  
  • Onboarding  
  • Talent search analytics  
  • Providing recruitment and talent assessment tools. 


Should You Prioritize Talent Acquisition?  

We think that “recruitment VS talent acquisition” is an unfair comparison, since recruitment is an integral component of talent acquisition.  

Honestly, it depends on the industry you’re focusing on. Since you’re reading this on our site, we assume you’re in the tech space, so we will focus on this aspect. The tech industry should prioritize talent acquisition over recruitment 100% of the time. 

Recruitment as a standalone concept is simply filling gaps in your human resource map. However, the tech industry requires genuine talent to push forward and create the innovation required for businesses in the sector to succeed.  

Instances when you’ll need talent acquisition: 


  • Your company experiences rapid growth. If your company doesn’t have a solid hiring strategy and is growing exponentially, there is a greater risk of hiring the wrong people and warping the company culture 
  • You require talent acquisition because your business requires niche talent. Industries like technology and software are so specialized that you’ll need a solid strategy in the future just to identify the correct talent  

  • Your industry is competitive, again, like technology and software you’ll need to prioritize talent acquisition over recruitment. The sheer number of businesses looking to get the smaller and smaller pool of talent to go work for them is a key indicator that recruitment alone is not enough  

  • This problem becomes even larger when the talent is in key leadership positions. Complex industries require complex hiring strategies for positions where succession is at stake.  


Other Benefits Of A Talent Acquisition Strategy 

  • Designing a comprehensive talent acquisition strategy allows you to nurture and grow your candidate pool. This gives you a greater number of candidates to choose from when it comes time to fill those gaps in your staff 

  • It’s also beneficial for intentional hiring or culture hires 

  • You can also cut down your time-to-hire by having a proactive strategy. 

  • Attract passive, not just active talent. 


When Should We Choose A Recruitment Agency?  

So, we’ve seen the benefits of using a talent acquisition partner. Now let’s look at the benefits of using a traditional recruitment agency. 

You should use a recruiter when: 

  • You need to hire staff immediately because of unforeseen circumstances  
  • You have a high staff churn rate and are constantly looking for low skilled staff 
  • The role is not very technical and can be hired from a large pool of talent. 


How Do You Build A Recruitment Strategy? 

Clearly this differs from business to business, but we have a few tips and pointers that might lead you in the right direction. Although we do always emphasize the importance of working with a reputable talent acquisition specialist such as Emerald if you’re genuinely looking to build a recruitment strategy.  


1: Clarity Is Key  

Obviously, the first port of call would be to clarify your goals. Get them down on paper or a Google/Word document. Since talent acquisition is part of a long-term strategy, it’s important to align this strategy with your overall business goals. What are the company objectives over the next decade or the next 12 months? Answering these questions prepares you for putting together a strategic talent acquisition plan. 

For example, if your company is looking to increase revenue and produce more sales, then having more staff in your outbound sales department would be useful.  

If you’re looking to bring new products to market, then having staff in your research and development team would be beneficial. 

This is also important when you’re branching out into a new geographical area. It’s one reason that an Employer of Record makes perfect sense when looking for talent acquisition partner companies like Emerald. We specialize in placing candidates worldwide. 

2: Workforce Analysis  

Now that you have your goals set in stone, you can look at your workforce and analyze what gaps there might be. You’ll need a mixture of hard skills and soft skills, along with some behavioral models.  

For instance, if you’re trying to increase sales and are looking at employing a sales team, you’ll need them to be upbeat and energetic. Not immediately obvious on a resume, but this will be vitally important to the success of your strategy.  


3: Branding For New Hires  

Branding isn't just about how you look and feel to the client. It’s also about how you look and feel to potential candidates. Studies have shown that candidates are far more likely to apply for jobs and accept those jobs with companies that align with their own belief systems. Showcasing your company mission, company values and showing off your key team members can attract the best talent. 


4: Consider Passive Candidates  

The candidates you are looking for are most likely employed elsewhere. They are talented, vibrant and highly skilled.   

By using a combination of advanced networking, better employer branding and timely outreach, you can attract candidates that aren’t even looking for a new job.  



As you can see, recruitment for your thriving new business can get a little confusing. Just remember that if you’re hiring for a specialized role, a recruitment agency isn’t the way to go. You’ll need the guidance and expertise of a qualified talent acquisition advisor.   

We know this intrinsically because it's part of our core services here at Emerald. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you acquire A+ talent for your tech business, get in touch below.  


Our team is ready to build your team.  


Emerald Technology FAQs

When should we use a recruiter instead of a talent acquisition partner?

A recruiter is best suited when you have an immediate need for a role with high turnover. For instance, secretarial work.


When should we use a talent acquisition partner instead of a recruiter?

A talent acquisition partner is best suited when you need specialized talent like a New Business Development Director for an enterprise level cloud services provider. 


Is recruitment a part of talent acquisition?

Yes, it is. Like a cog in a machine, it’s part of the talent acquisition process. Although it must be said that talent acquisition isn’t part of recruitment, it’s a much larger, wide-reaching concept than just supplying staff.


How much does a talent acquisition service cost?

This depends heavily on the scope of your plans. It’s worth mentioning that the cost of talent acquisition with a company like Emerald is always offset by the increase in productivity your business experiences. Good staff are an investment. 


What locations do Emerald search, hire and payroll in?

We offer a limitless solution. We source, onboard and payroll employees in every region worldwide (except sanctioned countries.)


Who are Emerald’s customers?

We support Pre-IPO, VC or PE backed technology start-ups. We are a trusted partner to some of the most innovative and globally recognised technology companies since 2000.


How quickly can Emerald onboard employees?

We can compliantly onboard employees on average of just 24-72 hours.


What is the difference between Emerald’s Employer of Record solution and Automated Payroll Platforms?

Both support organisations in payrolling employees globally. However, an Employer of Record provides a risk-free bespoke approach, with a high level of experience and knowledge unlike an Automated platforms. An Employer of Record provides end-to-end support including worker onboarding and any HR administration, which a Payroll Platform lacks.