When asked for his advice on hiring, Steve Jobs response was simple: “Hire the best.”
It may be an obvious answer but isn’t easy to put into practice, and it pays to remember Apple wasn’t always the hottest company to work for so it’s not as glib a recommendation as it might first sound.
Every year the world’s largest and most successful companies try to follow Jobs’ advice and fight to hire the best talent in the market in a bid to hit their corporate goals. With such pressure on recruiters to find and hire these people, many senior leaders are spending increased time and money to turn their recruiters into “talent advisors.”
Talent advisors are recruitment professionals who also possess the business and labor market knowledge to do more than just run an efficient recruiting process. They actually improve hiring decisions by challenging the line managers who are looking to fill a position, and helping them find someone well suited.
Since 2010, 49% of executive recruiters reported that they have increased the amount they invest to develop their recruiters into talent advisors. But, even though all this extra money has been spent, recruiters aren’t doing a better job. In fact, during the same period, the time to fill a position has increased by 21 days without there being a meaningful increase in the quality of hire, according to CEB data.
Why the Talent Advisor Model Isn’t Working
The reason for this underwhelming return on investment in recruiters’ development can be traced back to the environment in which they work.
As the way we all accomplish our work changes, individual roles are becoming more diverse and many employees find they consistently assume more tasks and responsibilities. This is especially relevant for recruiters who are being burdened by increased workloads and additional admin tasks in the recruitment process.
In 2016, four out of five recruiters say they struggle to work through the additional numbers of colleagues, technologies, and regulations that are now part of the hiring process. Even the very best functional teams will struggle if the environment in which they work isn’t helping them, and in fact 43% of how well a recruiter will perform at their job can be explained by the environment in which they work, according to CEB analysis.
The key for all companies is to not just focus on the individual recruiter’s skills but on creating the right work environment to enable them to apply those skills. Three steps will help.
Conduct a talent advisor assessment: Identify which of your recruiters already operate as talent advisors, which have the potential to become talent advisors, and what skill gaps remain to get them there. This will position you to set a targeted development plan for individual recruiters or the function as a whole.
Develop your talent advisors: Those recruiters that have the skills to become talent advisors will particularly benefit from consistent training and professional development that helps them earn the right to influence hiring decisions.
Communicate the role to stakeholders: Educate line managers on what the company expects from its talent advisors. This should help line managers hold their recruiting partners accountable for talent advisor-type contributions, and demand the right kind of advice.
Requisition kickoff forms – used to start the recruiting process – should indicate that recruiters will discuss labor market trends and sourcing strategies at the kickoff meeting. Sharing the form prior to the meeting elevates the hiring manager’s expectations of the recruiting partner’s consultative service.