What is a TA specialist?

What Is a Talent Acquisition Specialist and What Do They Do?

Discover the key responsibilities, skills, and strategies of talent acquisition specialists and their role in building a strong talent pipeline.

What Is a Talent Acquisition Specialist and What Do They Do?


This is some text inside of a div block.
a blue circle with the word linked on it
share on linkedin
the letter x in a black circle
share on twitter
the instagram logo in a circle
share on instagram

A key player in the neverending quest for top-tier candidates is the talent acquisition specialist. These professionals are the architects of your talent acquisition strategy, guiding your company toward a future brimming with success. Working closely with hiring managers and human resources teams, they identify, attract, and recruit exceptional individuals who will be the driving force behind your organization's growth.

But what exactly does a talent acquisition specialist do, and what skills and qualifications are required to excel in this role? 

Read on to learn more about this dynamic role: the tasks a talent acquisition specialist handles, the essential skills they bring to the table, and the strategies they employ to secure the best talent for your business. 

What Is a Talent Acquisition Specialist

Talent acquisition specialists are drivers of your overall talent acquisition strategy. They are key in spotting, attracting, and recruiting the best candidates for roles, ensuring a powerful workforce. They're typically part of the human resources team, collaborating closely with hiring managers to understand job needs, create hiring strategies, and participate in recruitment events. 

Talent acquisition (TA) specialists focus on a range of tasks that ultimately contribute to your company’s hiring success. 

Let's dive deeper into some of the many tasks and parts of their job.

Identifying top talent

The responsibilities of a TA specialist include the following:

  • Identifying top talent
  • Researching and understanding the industry, company culture, and specific job requirements to determine the ideal candidate profile
  • Maintaining awareness of industry trends
  • Developing a robust candidate pipeline
  • Equipping the organization aptly for filling vacant positions and preparing for future hiring needs

It's also important for talent acquisition specialists to have the ability to:

  • Recognize potential in candidates
  • Evaluate not only their current skills but also their potential for growth within the organization
  • Exercise foresight when sourcing candidates for leadership positions or future executives

Creating job descriptions

One of the important tasks of a TA specialist is to write clear, complete, and compelling job descriptions. A good job description lists the skills and qualifications needed and clearly explains the job's duties and expectations. This helps attract the right people for the job and saves time by reducing the number of unsuitable applicants.

Managing the hiring process

TA specialists are involved in all stages of the hiring process, including:

  • Posting job opportunities on job boards and social media
  • Reviewing resumes
  • Conducting initial interviews
  • Working closely with hiring managers to define required skills and experience
  • Developing a robust screening process for applicants
  • Collaborating with the human resources team and other stakeholders to streamline the hiring process
  • Selecting the most appropriate candidates
Employer thinking of the difference between a TA specialist and recruiter

What Are the Key Differences Between a Talent Acquisition Specialist and a Recruiter

Even though talent acquisition specialists and recruiters both have a role in hiring, there are some key differences in their main focus and objectives. Understanding these differences can help you decide which role suits your hiring needs.

TA specialists are strategists who focus on long-term human resources planning. They are proactive, seeking out the best talent to build a robust workforce that will propel the organization forward now and in the future. They are often involved in understanding and shaping company culture, employer branding, and succession planning. Their role is about more than just filling vacancies; it's about understanding the bigger picture and how each hire fits into that.

By focusing on long-term needs, talent acquisition specialists help companies build a strong talent pipeline, which supports their growth and success over time.

On the other hand, recruiters have a more immediate focus. Their primary objective is to fill open positions as quickly as possible. Recruiters are reactive, often responding to immediate hiring needs rather than planning for future ones. They work fast to find suitable candidates for current vacancies, utilizing various tools and platforms to advertise jobs and attract candidates. While their role is crucial, it's more transactional and less strategic than that of a talent acquisition specialist.

What Are Some of the Strategies an Effective Talent Acquisition Specialist Uses?

For a TA specialist, it's not just about finding candidates—it's about finding the right candidates. This requires a strategic approach and a deep understanding of the industry, the company, and the roles to be filled.

In this section, we will explore a few of the key strategies that effective talent acquisition specialists employ to ensure they're attracting and hiring top-tier talent.

Using multiple avenues to source talent

A good talent acquisition specialist leverages multiple avenues to source talent as part of an effective strategy for several reasons. The primary reason is to maximize the pool of potential candidates. By using a variety of recruitment methods, they can reach a broader range of potential hires and increase the chances of finding the perfect fit for the company.

Additionally, using multiple avenues for sourcing talent allows for a more targeted approach. For instance, using industry-specific job boards or attending specialized job fairs can help talent acquisition specialists find candidates with the exact skills and experience needed for a particular role.

The avenues that TA specialists can use to source talent include:

  • Online job boards: These are a common and effective way to reach a large pool of potential hires.
  • Networking events: These events provide opportunities to meet potential candidates in person and learn more about their skills and experience.
  • Social media: Platforms like LinkedIn can be a great way to find professional candidates, while other social media platforms can be used to reach a younger demographic.
  • Employee referrals: Current employees can often recommend potential hires that would be a good fit for the company.
  • Recruitment agencies: These agencies have access to a large database of candidates and can help speed up the recruitment process.
  • University job fairs: These events are a great way to find recent graduates who are eager to start their careers.

By utilizing these multiple avenues, TA specialists can ensure they are finding the best talent for current needs and building up a strong candidate pipeline for the future.

TA specialist leveraging industry trends and technology

Leveraging industry trends

Staying informed about the latest trends and shifts in the industry is a crucial part of a talent acquisition specialist's role. This knowledge allows them to ensure their company remains competitive and appealing to top-tier talent.

To achieve this, they may need to:

  • Embrace and utilize new technology: As the industry evolves, new tools and platforms emerge that can streamline the hiring process or provide access to new talent pools. Being open to these changes can give the company an edge in a competitive job market.
  • Adapt job descriptions to reflect industry changes: The ideal candidate profile for a particular role may change over time due to shifts in the industry. By keeping job descriptions up to date, talent acquisition specialists can ensure they're attracting the right candidates for the job.
  • Explore innovative recruitment strategies: Traditional methods of finding candidates may not always yield the best results. By exploring new strategies, such as social media recruitment or virtual job fairs, talent acquisition specialists can reach a wider pool of potential hires and attract more people to the company.

Implementing diversity initiatives

Making sure the company is diverse is important to many brands today, and a TA specialist can drive this goal by having this be a focus of the overall TA strategy.  For example, using different sourcing methods (as mentioned above) will often allow for a more diverse range of candidates. 

Talent acquisition specialists can make sure the company is diverse by using fair hiring practices and making sure everyone feels welcome.

A focus on diversity allows companies to benefit from a range of different perspectives, ideas, and experiences, making the company stronger and more successful. In fact, diversity in the workplace has been shown to increase creativity and overall company performance and lead to better decision-making.

Employer using laptop looking at skills a TA specialist should have

What Skills Should I Look for in a Talent Acquisition Specialist?

To excel in their role, successful talent acquisition specialists must possess a unique combination of skills and expertise. Some key skills and qualities of a talent acquisition specialist include:

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills for building relationships with candidates and understanding their needs
  • Organizational abilities to manage multiple tasks and deadlines efficiently
  • Familiarity with applicant tracking systems to effectively manage and organize candidate information

Let's dig deeper into these important skills.

Interpersonal and communication skills

For TA specialists, good interpersonal and communication skills are essential. These skills help them connect with potential hires and understand what they are looking for in a job. This makes it easier to see if a person would be a good fit for the company and the job they are being considered for.

Being able to communicate clearly and convincingly is key when they are writing job descriptions and trying to show potential hires why the company is a good place to work.

Organizational skills

Being organized helps talent acquisition specialists manage many tasks simultaneously and meet deadlines. This means they can plan well, manage their time, and give the attention needed to all the hiring stages.

Good organization ensures the hiring process runs smoothly and efficiently—and when acting fast could mean the difference between securing your first-choice candidates or not, an efficient process is crucial. 

Knowledge of applicant tracking systems

Understanding how to use applicant tracking systems (ATS) is vital for managing the hiring process effectively. These systems help talent acquisition specialists track and manage information about candidates, especially when there are many applicants.

An ATS allows for efficient screening of resumes, scheduling of interviews, and tracking of candidate progress throughout the recruitment process.

Having a good understanding of how to use an ATS—or other tech used in HR—allows TA specialists to save time and resources and ensures a more streamlined hiring process.

What Education and Certification Requirements Should a Talent Acquisition Specialist Meet?

TA specialists usually need a bachelor’s degree in HR or a related field and HR professional certifications. 

Bachelor's degree

A bachelor’s degree in human resources management or a similar field gives a strong base in HR best practices, including managing talent, employee relations, and following the law.

Degrees in related fields, like business, finance, or communication, can also be good for those wanting to work in talent acquisition, so don’t discount those when looking for a TA specialist.

Professional HR certification

Professional HR certifications, like SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional) or PHR (Professional in Human Resources), while not completely necessary, can make it easier to gauge a TA specialist's level of knowledge. These certifications show a dedication to staying up to date with industry trends and the best ways of doing things, as well as a mastery of the skills and knowledge needed to do well in the field.

Besides formal education, experience in recruitment is, of course, essential.

Employer and TA shaking hands

Final Thoughts 

The role of a talent acquisition specialist is complex and multifaceted, requiring a deep understanding of the industry, company culture, and specific job requirements. However, not every company has the resources to hire for this demanding role or the bandwidth within their HR department to implement a robust talent acquisition strategy. 

That's where Near can help.

If you are thinking about hiring a TA specialist, consider the additional benefits of leveraging our expertise at Near. 

Hundreds of US companies partner with us and cut out 50–70% of sourcing and screening time, significantly reducing the burden on their HR or talent acquisition efforts. When you partner with Near, you get access to our growing talent pool of over 35,000 highly skilled and diverse candidates from Latin America. Plus, hiring from LatAm, will enable you to slash overhead costs by 30–70%.

We understand the intricacies of the hiring process and are committed to helping you build a strong, diverse, and top-performing team that aligns with your company's culture and objectives.

Why take on the burden of talent acquisition alone when you can have a dedicated partner in Near? Schedule a free consultation call with us today, and let's discuss how we can propel your company to new heights with the right talent.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do talent acquisition specialists measure their success?

Success for TA Specialists can be measured in various ways, including the quality of hires, time to fill positions, sourcing channel efficiency, and retention rates. They may also track metrics related to diversity hiring and candidate experience.

To learn more, read our article on talent acquisition metrics.

What are some common challenges faced by talent acquisition specialists?

Common challenges include finding qualified candidates in a competitive job market, ensuring a good fit between the candidate and the company culture, managing hiring needs across different departments, and staying updated with industry trends and advancements in recruitment technology.

What are the career growth opportunities for a talent acquisition specialist?

TA specialists have various career growth opportunities. They can advance to roles like talent acquisition manager or director, transition into broader HR roles, or become a talent acquisition consultant. They can also specialize in areas like executive search or diversity and inclusion.

Is talent acquisition more difficult than recruiting?

It’s not necessarily more difficult—they both have their challenges. But talent acquisition can involve more work and long-term thinking than regular recruiting, making it a bit more complicated. It requires a fuller understanding of the overall business and job market trends to decide the best steps to take to build a robust talent pipeline for sustained growth. Read our article "What’s the Difference Between Talent Acquisition and Recruitment?" to learn more.

Frequently Asked Question

Receive remote hiring insights delivered weekly.

a white and yellow background with a diagonal triangle

Discover Why Hiring in LatAm is a Cheat Code. Download our FREE Guide Now.