Strategic Talent Acquisition: Case Study – Accenture

It’s not uncommon for people to believe recruitment and talent acquisition are one and the same thing. This huge mistake is one of the reasons many companies are currently suffering from an acute talent shortage.


So, what is the difference?


Recruiting is a subset of talent acquisition that comes into play when there is an urgent need to fill a vacancy within the company. It is the default response to losing a member of staff and setting in place a system to fill empty roles when a person has left.


On the other hand, talent acquisition focuses on identifying future business needs and building a candidate talent pool for the future.  Going a step further, strategic talent acquisition involves using predictive analytics, industry experience and forecasted business needs to predict the future talent needs of the company so potential candidates are identified ahead of time.


For talent acquisition professionals to be able to improve recruitment decisions and make the workforce ‘future-proof’, they need to be skilled in areas such as standard recruitment techniques, employment branding practices and strategic corporate hiring initiatives.


Effective talent acquisition requires well thought out corporate messaging around hiring and talent development. As such, marketing and PR are often blended with talent acquisition and are geared towards the strategic procurement of talent.


A great example of a company where talent acquisition was done well is Accenture which was awarded The Personnel Today Award for Innovation in Recruitment in 2014.


The Challenge


In 2013, Accenture embarked on a major change programme that changed the structure of the organisation and how it dealt with clients. This meant it needed to recruit for roles that hadn’t existed before, such as big data consultants, and beat its competitors to highly sought after digital talent.


What the organisation did


  • Invited prospective candidates into the organisation to see the technologies and solutions it was working on.
  • Created a fully interactive room in which attendees could interact with demos using iPads, Xbox controllers, Twitter and other tools.
  • Ran 30-minute demos of its Innovation Centre.
  • Used Google Hangouts on key industry topics so people could talk to Accenture professionals in a more dynamic way than using Facebook/Twitter Q&A.
  • Recruitment team built their social media profiles, using LinkedIn to attract talent and making the business more visible.
  • Introduced a customer relationship management tool called Avature.


Benefits and achievements


  • Videos of Google Hangouts have attracted more than 3,500 views.
  • Hired 42 of the 400 people who attended events, representing higher ratio than CV-to-hire model.
  • Social media training has contributed to 100% uplift in LinkedIn applications in some areas.
  • Better conversion rates; one in every six candidates is hired (compared with 1 in 20 that agencies put forward).
  • Achieved more than double the number of hires compared to previous year.




In these times where there is an acute shortage of great talent, organisations need to adopt both short- and long-term strategies to embed a talent management plan that includes recruitment at the sharp end and talent acquisition plans at corporate level. The future success of all organisations, large or small, depends on an effective talent acquisition strategy.


Written by Genevieve Craig