Differences of Staffing, Recruiting, Talent Acquisition, and Hiring

Around people and companies that work in the employment of people, one may hear words such as “recruiting” and “staffing,” and although they sound like they would be synonymous, they refer to different ways by which an organization may employ an individual.


Staffing refers to filling positions that are short-term and temporary, and often require minimal training. The staffing process is generally aimed towards “active candidates,” who are people that are looking for work, but not necessarily unemployed. Staffing agencies exist to assist with the process of staffing; they have databases of people looking for work, who submitted applications to the agency. If an organization is looking to quickly employ any number of people, they would hire a staffing agency to find them workers best suited to their needs.

For example, music festivals usually hire their own security and staff; these positions do not require extensive training or a particular skill set, so they would hire a staffing agency to hire as many people as it takes to staff a music festival.


Recruiting is a more comprehensive process of searching for and obtaining prospective employees. The recruitment process is used to hire long-term and permanent (i.e. either full or part time) employees, and often to fill higher-level positions, such as upper management. Therefore, this process looks for “passive candidates,” which are people who are still employed. In higher-level positions, individuals typically move from one job to another without periods of unemployment between. Due to the importance of those positions, the search for candidates is generally slow and thorough to find quality candidates that are good fits within the company.

There are two different types of recruiting. Internal recruitment is when a company searches within itself for qualified candidates by promoting its employees to higher positions. External recruitment is when a company searches for outside candidates, often by hiring a recruitment agency. The agency will then search for candidates, assess their qualifications, and conduct preliminary interviews on the company’s behalf.

Talent Acquisition

The purpose of talent acquisition is to find individuals with specific skills that can benefit the company overall. It is an ongoing and strategic process to bring individuals that may have a particular skill set or perspective. Therefore, it is not necessarily reactive to a vacant position. In long-term planning, consider acquiring talent rather than simply recruiting.


The last process is simply hiring. This is when a company searches for and interviews candidates without using a third party agency. Many companies choose to utilize this process for the personalized process; interviewers can ask their own questions that pertain specifically to their company and determine how and if they would fit within the company. A company may choose to go through the hiring process on their own if there are only a few permanent positions that need to be filled, usually mid-level.


Here at Breeze Unlimited, we work in recruitment and talent acquisition, not staffing. We will find specific individuals that will be a good fit for your company to help it be the best it can be.


These are the primary differences of the ways in which an organization can employ people:

Staffing Recruiting Talent Acquisition Hiring
temporary permanent permanent permanent
active candidates passive candidates not necessarily to fill a position passive candidates
low-level high-level mid-level
speed quality personalized
use of an agency option of an agency no use of agency