Never before has the war on talent been so fierce. In an economic climate where quality candidates are not only highly sought after, but also increasingly demanding of their potential employers, managers are looking for competitive advantage.
Recruitment as we know it today is a recent concept brought about by a shrinking talent pool stretched across a growing number of skilled professions.
In the aftermath of both world wars, women entering the workforce, and baby boomers coming of age, First World economies experienced a labor market where candidates were in abundance. There was little need to fight for the best talent by promoting the virtues of a business as an employer of choice.
However, when the baby boomers weren't replaced in the same numbers by the next generation, it created a candidate shortage, sparking a recruitment problem. Recruitment agencies popped up to assist businesses in addressing the shortfall of quality candidates.
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As the war for talent enters its most intense phase, with the millennial generation proving to be the pickiest candidates the market has seen, companies are realizing they need to develop a system to attract, recruit, and retain quality candidates.
But all too often, once a company establishes a recruitment function, they languish in the human resources department.
In theory, it seems logical, and certainly convenient, to lump recruitment and human resources in one 'people management' basket. But it can't be underestimated how different the skills required of two functions are. Just as sales and marketing were once fused together as one department, so recruitment and human resources are today. As we have seen sales functions and marketing functions come into their own as distinct disciplines, a similar progression should take place for recruitment and human resources.
Recruitment doesn't have a lot to do with human resources. Of course they are related in that the people of the business are the commodity, but the similarities end there.
Human resources is about managing compliance and risk mitigation for the business whereas recruitment, nowadays, needs to be first and foremost a sales process: selling your company as an employer of choice, and your role as a worthy proposition to an in-demand candidate -- much like selling a product to a consumer who has too many choices.
Companies who want a competitive advantage in securing their greatest asset - their people - will have a designated recruitment department, made up of people with sales and recruitment marketing skills to recruit high-potential candidates strategically. These teams should be charged with developing a comprehensive recruitment process, incorporating an integrated marketing program, advertising strategy, screening and selection procedure, and culminating in an on-boarding and leadership development plan.
Ideally, these departments, responsible for the critical role of sourcing the best talent, will report directly to the CEO and Board of Directors as their own distinct business unit.
So, when developing your own recruitment platform, it pays to not only craft a winning value proposition for talented candidates; it is also critical to invest in the right skills, channeled into the right recruitment sales methodology, to carry out your vision.
Tudor Marsden-Huggins is Managing Director of the Employment Office, a talent recruiting firm headquartered in Australia.
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