It is common to see firms lauding their people as their greatest resource. It is no surprise then that talent acquisition is firmly back on the agenda as the economy recovers and companies start competing for the best and brightest professionals once again.

There is a trend at the moment – particularly for some of the larger PLCs and top accountancy firms – to follow the banks’ lead and build internal talent acquisition teams, separate from standard HR functions. Having felt the effects of skills shortages during the last boom, many of these companies are bolstering their internal recruitment capabilities to stay ahead of the pack as the hiring market tightens in 2011.

Talent acquisition teams have an important role to play in building a formulated and wide-reaching recruitment strategy. In order to get the best person on the market for crucial roles, these teams should not close any door. Recruiters are very often the first stop for professionals seeking new career opportunities, particularly those in specialist markets such as the accounting and finance sectors. They prefer to have a third party to approach companies, organise interviews and advise in those ‘trickier’ situations such as salary and notice negotiations.

The other factor to take into consideration when hiring, is time. The best people will always move quickly within the recruitment market and may have multiple opportunities/offers open to them. Lengthening the recruitment process with additional internal decision makers can be prohibitive to timely hiring of these top tier candidates.

Recruiters should also be able to add value as well as finding strong candidates. For example, some recruiters now offer interview facilities, salary guidance, legislative seminars, market and employment trend information.

It is important for hiring managers and HR professionals to keep these factors in mind when preparing talent acquisition strategies. Maintaining solid working relationships with a good recruiter is key to finding the best talent, in a timely fashion in a talent-short market.