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Combining Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

May 27, 2021

By Sheila Hoover, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Talent acquisition and talent management have traditionally been separate functions within human resources, but now some companies are starting to combine them under the umbrella of one leadership position.

This is not new for smaller companies with one or two human resources professionals on their teams.  However, larger companies who have the resources to define the specialist functions are starting to combine them.  Why? Is it really possible to combine these roles into one? Let’s take a look at what’s going on and what it means for the recruiting industry.

Talent Acquisition and Talent Management Definitions

Let’s first take a step back and define talent acquisition and talent management to better understand if they truly can be combined.

Talent acquisition is all about recruiting and being proactive to find the best candidates for an open position. It is a combination of marketing, networking, and candidate management. Talent acquisition professionals are ambassadors for their companies and help prospective candidates understand why they would want to work for that organization.

The talent acquisition field also involves ensuring the interview process goes smoothly and cultivating relationships with candidates even when there are no open positions that match their skillset. A good talent acquisition professional strives to proactively maintain a pool of potential candidates for when a position becomes available, to be able to spring into action getting those people to apply. They also know how to quickly find and develop additional candidates for active searches.

Talent management focuses on working with employees once they have been hired, to set them up for both short-term and long-term growth and access. A successful talent management strategy might include training, benefits, professional development, and other opportunities to keep employees moving forward toward their ultimate career goals.

A talent management professional might also have some more traditional human resources duties, like working through employee performance issues or being part of the termination process. How much talent management is involved in these tasks depends on an organization’s size and overall human resources capacity.

With this framework in mind, it is easy to see why talent acquisition and talent management have traditionally functioned as separate roles. But just because things have traditionally been thought of one way does not mean they need to stay like that forever, as some companies are experiencing firsthand.

Make it Happen

Beyond the obvious financial savings that come from combining talent acquisition and talent management, there are several strategic reasons why an organization might want to consider fusing the two.


COVID-19 changed what work looks like in many sectors and job functions, particularly for white-collar positions in engineering, marketing, finance, and other fields. Employees are realizing that they are no longer bound by location when it comes to finding a new job or staying in the one they have.

These changes mean that talent acquisition and talent management are much more closely linked. Because it is so much easier for an employee to leave a position, talent management needs to be part of the conversation from the very beginning to ensure that a new hire won’t be out the door to a new remote position in a few months.  The candidate experience is now more important than ever.

A company could certainly have two people working in tandem with remote employees, but there are opportunities for synergy and efficiency by combining them into one.

New Technology

Technologies like human resources management systems give talent acquisition and talent management access to the same information about each candidate. They present opportunities for more personalized engagement throughout an employee’s tenure with an organization.

These systems also help make the case that perhaps the job is better accomplished by one person who can stay with someone as they transition from applicant to employee, rather than continuing to have talent acquisition and talent management as separate functions. This process is a holdover from the days when records and data were not as well integrated as they are today, and it increasingly makes sense to merge the functions.  Many talent acquisition professionals are motivated by knowing the new employee they identified is growing successfully with the company.  It makes sense that they participate in the growth path for that employee.

Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Finally, the push to make workplaces more diverse, equitable, and inclusive requires closer collaboration between talent acquisition and talent management. Creating a team that is truly inclusive requires a holistic view of an organization and its priorities; the silo that can exist between talent acquisition and talent management makes that difficult to do. 

Further, recruiting and retaining diverse candidates requires closer collaboration between talent acquisition and talent management. Communication is key.  Whether the roles are combined or adjusted to work closer together, they must have effective communication to ensure they both have the same view of the company.

Candidates need to know that they are being welcomed into an environment where they will feel welcome and appreciated before they accept their offer, which requires work and input from both positions.

Prepare for the Future

While combining talent acquisition and talent management does not currently appear to be widespread, that could change as the business world comes fully back online after COVID-19. Human resources professionals might increasingly need to be well-versed in both roles and be prepared to seamlessly transition from one to the other.

Now is a great time to explore professional development options to begin learning more about talent acquisition or talent management. Schedule time to job shadow colleagues or explore courses and other learning opportunities to brush up your skillset so you are ready to hit the ground running if and when this shift comes to your organization.

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