Talent Advisors and Exceptional Hiring Managers

Over the last decade of my career, I have spoken to and received feedback from hundreds of talent acquisition, HR, and business executives.

One theme rings true through the last 10 years, but more recently has gotten louder in the last year in these conversations with TA leaders.

“I want (need) my recruiters to turn up differently.”

When you drill into these comments for more specificity, this is what you hear as the main pain points related to this theme:

  • I need my recruiters/sourcers/RPO partners to be more proactive vs. reactive
  • I need my recruiters/sourcers/RPO partners to be more strategic and consultative vs. tactical and transactional
  • I need my recruiters/sourcers/RPO partners to be more consistent with their delivery

When you start to get into deeper discussions and define what the talent acquisition, HR, and business executives actually mean when they say “turning up differently,” what you find is that the majority of these things are defined as a person’s “soft skills.” Or, simply put, they can be translated into a set of competencies and behaviors that make up a talent advisor.

But at the same time if you have been in recruiting for a while you also know that for a company to be the most effective at the identification, attraction, assessment, and ultimately the hiring of candidates, the business needs to turn up differently as well.

I once got into an interesting discussion with a few business executives and the CHRO about how many hires the talent acquisition function made per year for the company, and how many are quality hires.

My smartypants response was: “last year we hired 12 recruiters.”

Their collective response was: “No, the company hired thousands of people last year.”

My follow up was: “The recruiting function’s primary goal is to identify and consistently deliver to the business the best possible candidates, but ultimately we don’t make the hiring decisions — you all do.”

The point here is that way too many problems in recruiting are not actual recruiting problems but business problems, and that also means that not only do recruiters need to turn up differently but so do hiring managers.

As an output of all these conversations, we thought it would be helpful to define what an exceptional hiring manager looks like:

“Exceptional hiring managers make hiring a top priority by partnering in the attraction and assessment of talent by defining key job success criteria while committing themselves and their teams to an exemplary candidate experience.”

Here is a one-page slide that I encourage you to share and discuss with your business and hiring managers. You can download it here.

If you have been following what myself and others at ERE Media have been doing in the last year, you will have noticed that we have been starting to build some solutions based on feedback from TA leaders to complement our existing events and media business. Our Benchmarking product was the first.

So based on those inputs and having them validated by leaders, here is ERE’s talent advisor definition and some more details below on our new online, self-paced Talent Advisor course.

“Talent Advisors are a trusted recruiting partner to the business who consistently delivers the best candidates in support of the business mission while continually improving the hiring process and candidate experience.”

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In the last 12 months, we interviewed lots of talent acquisition executives and senior recruiters to define practical experience and examples of what exactly a talent advisor is. Based off all the great feedback, the common “soft-skill” themes helped create 14 critical competencies and behaviors:

  1. Building Trust with your recruiting stakeholders
  2. How Talent Advisors Effectively Communicate
  3. How Talent Advisors Effectively Listen
  4. Data-centric Thinking to Influence the business
  5. Solving recruiting problems through Creativity
  6. How Business Acumen gets you better outcomes
  7. Partnering with the business to produce better results
  8. How Talent Advisors Influence
  9. Convincing (Selling and Marketing) hiring managers and candidates
  10. Priority-driven Time Management
  11. Talent Advisors’ Critical Decision Making
  12. Persistence and Adaptability, the DNA of a Talent Advisor
  13. Consultative Problem Solving to optimal outcomes
  14. Result Orientation — getting the outcomes you want

As part of our interviews to build the course content, we uncovered and include real video case studies from leaders and recruiters in the training of how “talent advisors” apply these skills on the job. In addition, we uncovered and included content on practices, programs, and solutions that different companies use (large and small) from a diverse set of industries for each of the key elements of the recruiting workflow:

  • Intake Process & Meeting
  • Screening and Presenting the Candidate
  • Interview Frameworks and Questions Types
  • Offer & Pre-Boarding
  • Talent Relationship Management: Passive Types/Personas and the candidate experience

As of today, we currently have over 10 hours and 150+ micro-learning videos tied these 14 talent advisor competencies and true stories from the intake meeting through to hire. Our plan is to continue to add more and more of these TA leader interviews.

If you want to learn more about ERE’s Talent Advisor course, go here.

Additionally, here is a one-page slide of the talent advisor competencies you can reference and discuss with your teams. You can download it here.

Rob McIntosh

Rob McIntosh is the principal advisor and founder of McINTOSH & Co., a boutique talent acquisition advisory firm helping corporate and industry executives improve business results.

He is a senior talent executive with 20+ years of global recruiting experience spanning four continents where he has consistently delivered results through building high-performing teams for Fortune 100 companies in senior leadership roles for McKesson, Avanade, Deloitte, and Microsoft. 

As a public speaker his articles, presentations, and case studies have been shared and downloaded over 50,000 times. He is one of the early pioneers of corporate sourcing functions and the co-founder of SourceCon. He is the primary content, strategies, tools, and case studies provider for the Human Capital Institute Talent Acquisition Strategist Course & Certification and ERE Media’s Talent Advisor course.

His strategic advice is constantly sort after for use of advanced metrics/analytics to help tell the business story around the value of talent acquisition, and how to scale delivery while improving quality of hire through optimal talent org designs; shared services, CoE, offshore, outsourcing, and hybrid talent acquisition structures. 

You can learn more about Rob and McINTOSH & Co.