What is a Talent Advisor?

Talent Advisor (noun): A strategic recruiting professional who delivers value beyond filling jobs.  At their core, talent advisors are strategic influencers who see the company as their customer, the hiring manager as their partner, and speed, quality, and diversity as their measures of success.

Savvy talent acquisition leaders have been elevating their recruiters to true talent advisors for years, now.  Why?  It’s not because it’s a popular job title change.  It’s because the business expects and needs more from the recruiting team.  We’ve talked to thousands of hiring managers at many of the world’s most interesting companies and they seek something more than just a resource to help them fill their reqs.

Transactional recruiters say:

The Hiring Manager is my customer.  If I take an order and provide good customer service to the Hiring Manager, they will give me good feedback, and that’s how I know I’m doing a good job.

Strategic recruiters say:

The company is my customer.  I think like an owner, and do what’s right for the company, even if it’s not what the Hiring Manager prefers.

I see my job as not only recruiting great talent, but building a culture of recruiting, where all hiring managers see recruiting as part of their day jobs, skilled and regularly engaging in planning, sourcing, interviewing, and closing.

Learn more:

Transactional recruiters say:

I lead an intake meeting, where I ask the Hiring Manager to describe their ideal candidate and preferred process, and then I do my best to give them what they asked for.

Strategic recruiters say:

I don’t wait until a req is open to talk strategy with hiring managers.  I’m a regular participant in talent planning meetings, where I bring insights and strategy recommendations to their leadership team.

When a req is opened, I lead a strategy meeting, where I bring talent market insights to the two-way conversation with the hiring manager.  I don’t take an order in an intake meeting– instead, I lead as a strategic recruiter by partnering to develop multiple success profiles, co-building a fair, speedy process, and engaging the hiring manager to play a leadership role around the strategy and process with their team.

Learn more:

Transactional recruiters say:

I try to follow our consistent process best practices, making adjustments based on hiring manager preferences.  I see myself as the manager of the recruiting process, and am measured primarily on speed/time to fill and my hiring managers’ satisfaction with my services.

Strategic recruiters say:

I understand the business and calibrate regularly with the hiring manager to ensure we’re leveraging the right process given their business priorities around speed, quality, diversity, and cost.  There is not a “one size fits all” process that I’m trying to follow for every req – entry-level hourly versus executive versus engineering versus field sales rep processes should look different.  And a process optimized for quality over speed should look different, too.  I co-build process and look to the hiring manager to be a leader of their process in partnership with me.  We are measured together – as a team – on what’s most important: speed, quality, diversity, or cost.

Transactional recruiters say:

I don’t coach the hiring manager.  I try to get them to follow our consistent process, but generally don’t push back if they decide to do something differently.

Strategic recruiters say:

I see my relationship with the hiring manager as a partnership, and as such, I bring my subject matter expertise to our conversations.  I’ve earned trust and credibility by delivering speed, quality, and diversity for the company.  As a strategic recruiter, I regularly coach the hiring managers on planning, diversity, sourcing, interviewing, candidate experience, and closing.  My advice is sought out for critical talent needs and hiring decisions.

Transactional recruiters say:

If a hiring manager requests more candidate diversity, I do my best to source talent from places that will generate talent from under-represented groups.  I see my diversity support primarily focused on sourcing – what happens after I present candidates is largely out of my hands.

Strategic recruiters say:

I understand my company’s goals around diversity, inclusion, and belonging, and work hard to understand root issues that prevent us from hiring the best, diverse talent.  I recognize that improving diversity ROI isn’t just about sourcing and interviewing diverse slates.  Therefore, as a strategic recruiter, I play an active role pre-funnel: I help widen the aperture to consider multiple success profiles, ensure equal access exists, train teams, build holistic strategies that complement what HR, D&I, and L&D are focused on, and create fair processes.

Learn more:

Transactional recruiters say:

I regularly share our ATS-generated internal reports with hiring managers via email, and will respond to custom-report requests as time allows.

Strategic recruiters say:

I align with executives on their priorities – speed, quality, diversity, cost – and then recommend insights that will help us improve.  I’m curious by nature – I don’t just report on what, but I dig into WHY, too.  And I don’t just email standard internal reports to hiring teams.  I lead conversations to diagnose problems and develop solutions.  I bring internal insights and external market insights to craft the strategies needed to get the talent we need.

Learn more:

Who is my Customer?

Transactional recruiters say:

The Hiring Manager is my customer.  If I take an order and provide good customer service to the Hiring Manager, they will give me good feedback, and that’s how I know I’m doing a good job.

Talent advisors say:

The company is my customer.  I think like an owner, and do what’s right for the company, even if it’s not what the Hiring Manager prefers.

I see my job as not only recruiting great talent, but building a culture of recruiting, where all hiring managers see recruiting as part of their day jobs, skilled and regularly engaging in planning, sourcing, interviewing, and closing.

Learn more:

Strategy

Transactional recruiters say:

I lead an intake meeting, where I ask the Hiring Manager to describe their ideal candidate and preferred process, and then I do my best to give them what they asked for.

Strategic recruiters say:

I don’t wait until a req is open to talk strategy with hiring managers.  I’m a regular participant in talent planning meetings, where I bring insights and strategy recommendations to their leadership team.

When a req is opened, I lead a strategy meeting, where I bring talent market insights to the two-way conversation with the hiring manager.  I don’t take an order in an intake meeting– instead, I lead as a strategic recruiter by partnering to develop multiple success profiles, co-building a fair, speedy process, and engaging the hiring manager to play a leadership role around the strategy and process with their team.

Learn more:

Process

Transactional recruiters say:

I try to follow our consistent process best practices, making adjustments based on hiring manager preferences.  I see myself as the manager of the recruiting process, and am measured primarily on speed/time to fill and my hiring managers’ satisfaction with my services.

Strategic recruiters say:

I understand the business and calibrate regularly with the hiring manager to ensure we’re leveraging the right process given their business priorities around speed, quality, diversity, and cost.  There is not a “one size fits all” process that I’m trying to follow for every req – entry-level hourly vs executive vs engineering vs field sales rep processes should look different.  And a process optimized for quality over speed should look different, too.  I co-build process and look to the hiring manager to be a leader of their process in partnership with me.  We are measured together – as a team – on what’s most important: speed, quality, diversity, or cost.

Coaching

Transactional recruiters say:

I don’t coach the hiring manager.  I try to get them to follow our consistent process, but generally don’t push back if they decide to do something differently.

Strategic recruiters say:

I see my relationship with the hiring manager as a partnership, and as such, I bring my subject matter expertise to our conversations.  I’ve earned trust and credibility by delivering speed, quality, and diversity for the company.  As a strategic recruiter, I regularly coach the hiring managers on planning, diversity, sourcing, interviewing, candidate experience, and closing.  My advice is sought out for critical talent needs and hiring decisions.

Diversity

Transactional recruiters say:

If a hiring manager requests more candidate diversity, I do my best to source talent from places that will generate talent from under-represented groups.  I see my diversity support primarily focused on sourcing – what happens after I present candidates is largely out of my hands.

Strategic recruiters say:

I understand my company’s goals around diversity, inclusion, and belonging, and work hard to understand root issues that prevent us from hiring the best, diverse talent.  I recognize that improving diversity ROI isn’t just about sourcing and interviewing diverse slates.  Therefore, as a strategic recruiter, I play an active role pre-funnel: I help widen the aperture to consider multiple success profiles, ensure equal access exists, train teams, build holistic strategies that complement what HR, D&I, and L&D are focused on, and create fair processes.

Learn more:

Analytics

Transactional recruiters say:

I regularly share our ATS-generated internal reports with hiring managers via email, and will respond to custom-report requests as time allows.

Strategic recruiters say:

I align with executives on their priorities – speed, quality, diversity, cost – and then recommend insights that will help us improve.  I’m curious by nature – I don’t just report on what, but I dig into WHY, too.  And I don’t just email standard internal reports to hiring teams.  I lead conversations to diagnose problems and develop solutions.  I bring internal insights and external market insights to craft the strategies needed to get the talent we need.

Learn more:

Talent Advisor Resources for Strategic Recruiters

How do you know if you’re operating as a talent advisor? Our team here at Recruiting Toolbox is engaged by world-class companies to help elevate their recruiters to talent advisors, and as part of our work, we assess how effectively recruiters engage and influence hiring managers. Leverage what we’ve learned to self-assess your talent advisor capabilities with this free one-page diagnostic tool.

Download the Talent Advisor Diagnostic Tool

Additionally, access our free How to Be a Talent Advisor resource page for 40+ best practice articles, training videos, podcasts, and external resources to help you win in your job, and download a sample talent advisor job description (coming soon).

Talent Advisor Diagnostic Tool for Strategic Recruiters

Check out our custom, live talent advisor training workshops
for corporate recruiting teams of 15+ people.

learn more