Staffing vs Hiring vs Recruiting vs Talent Acquisition: What is the difference?

Staffing vs Hiring vs Recruiting vs Talent Acquisition: What is the difference?

In the HR domain Staffing, Hiring, Recruitment, and Talent Acquisition are often used interchangeably. They all refer to the process of bringing in talent to the company but differ in the process of how it is done so.

Staffing usually refers to the continuous process of finding suitable candidates with the appropriate qualifications, experience, and skills; hiring them, and building a professional relationship with them. It also refers to the process in which a company builds a relationship with a potential employee. The goal of staffing is usually to fill the various roles within a company and maintain a competent workforce with all positions filled throughout the corporate ladder. Staffing ensures a higher job satisfaction as people only those people who are would gel well with the company culture are hired. It is actually an umbrella term and is a function involved in the managerial process

Some of the activities involved in staffing are:

• Collaborating with leadership to determine the vacancies in a company
• Creating job descriptions and posting them
• Finding candidates, evaluating them and finally hiring them
• Building an onboarding process and training the new hires

Hiring on the other hand is the process of finding candidates who are best suited for a particular job. When a job requirement emerges, the company quickly looks for the best suitable candidate, evaluates them, and ultimately hires them if they have the required skills. Hiring is mostly done in short bursts of period and is not an ongoing process. It is essentially what we call “a quick fix”.

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It involves activities like:

• Posting job description specifying role, skills required and expectations
• Promoting the job openings
• Screening candidate resumes
• Organizing interviews
• Conducting background and reference checks of candidates
• Evaluating candidates, making decisions, extending offers.

Recruiting on the other hand though similar to hiring is a much slower process. It is a long-term solution to hiring, wherein the recruiters actively search for candidates that have great skills in their respective fields and can add value to the company. Most of these candidates might be passive and thus recruiters have to contact and convince them to make the switch. It is also a scope limited process.

Some activities involved in the process of recruitment are:

• Identifying the hiring need
• Searching for qualified candidates
• Approaching the candidates
• Convincing them to interview for the position
• Evaluating the candidates
• Making and negotiating job offers

Hiring and Recruitment are the terms that people confuse the most. This is because in essence they can be used interchangeably but technically there is a significant difference between the two. In simple words, we can think of hiring as when candidates approach you but in recruitment, you approach the candidates.

Talent Acquisition is also a form of recruitment but is carried out in a larger, cohesive, and strategized manner. The main difference is that talent acquisition is a long-term and ongoing process. Recruiters, sourcers, HR professionals, hiring managers together make up the talent acquisition. Sometimes talent acquisition may have its own department which works in coordination with the human resource department. It is the process of searching for the best talents in the field, irrespective of whether there is an active job opening, and convincing them to join your company. It is mostly done for managerial-level roles. But unlike recruiting it is not scope limited and doesn’t cease with the hiring of the candidate.

Some of the main activities in talent acquisition are:

• Sourcing and Lead Generation
• Recruiting and Attracting
• Interviewing and Assessing
• Checking References
• Making Final Selections
• Hiring and Onboarding


All these terms although have similar activities differ in the way they are carried out on a deeper level. While using these terms synonymously isn’t a life-changing mistake, it is essential to understand their subtle differences so as to gain clarity while working in a particular role.