Every so often, as a profession grows and expands, someone throws out a suggestion to rename the department and the positions in it.
Internal Recruitment, also known as “Resourcing” was quite successful at this when it looked to highlight the fact that they did more than just recruit. Talent Acquisition has also successfully differentiated themselves from Agency Recruiters. HR tried with People and Culture but you’ll still see there is a decent split of both titles being used. Internally, people “get” what that the function does but Talent Acquisition has a different predicament – it needs to be widely understood by the external market. That is – every employable person.
I was asked a few months ago if Talent Acquisition should rename itself and whilst it was flattering that someone would think to ask me, I noticed that everyone else in on the conversation was in the industry in some way. Some questioned the use of “Talent” for everyone. Should this just be reserved for the top performers? (In my opinion, no. That’s what emerging talent, high-potential talent, and high-performing talent breakdowns are for. Besides, everyone wants to be included in the positive group, right?)
Then there were others who took issue with the word Acquisition. In fairness, it does seem cold and in my opinion should never have been named this to begin with. But now we’re here, do we bother changing it?
A name change should also reflect other changes. Have we outgrown TA, both as an industry and as a profession? Are we still not acquiring skills? Largely, yes. I’d hate to see a name change for the sake of it. Also, I wasn’t sure people were paying that much attention to it to warrant an industry-wide change.
These thoughts led me to reach out to a range of people in wide and varied professions – those sitting well outside of the TA world – to ask them what they think. After all, they are our primary audience. Here’s what they said.
All responses have been anonymised for privacy reasons.
Talent Acquisition is “Politely Complimentary”
Author and Slam Poet
Giving you an edge over your competitors
“Talent sings more to the entertainment industry”
More basic terminology is important when working with multicultural communities
“Talent speaks right across the spectrum”
All terms are “pretty bad and dehumanising”
“Makes me feel like I have something special to offer”
So, is it time to rename TA?
I have no issue with a rebrand as long as everyone decides to do it together, and it’s not just another additional title that people (candidates) have to deal with.
We also need to remember that what sounds good to “us” doesn’t necessarily sound good to the external world. I asked someone what they thought of fun titles like Employee Experience and they said “I’d laugh! I think it’s too vague. I don’t know what that encompasses. It’s in the vein of People and Culture Manager, which sounds fancy but doesn’t mean much.” This means we have a fairly large job on our hands to find something that fits what current TA does and what the world – or at least all the employable people within it – understand.
Got any ideas? Let us know in the comments below!
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