How to Become a Talent Advisor

The role of a Talent Advisor has emerged as a linchpin for organizations seeking to build high-performing teams. Talent Advisors are the architects of talent strategies, the shepherds of talent pipelines, and the trusted guides who steer companies toward the best talent available. As the recruitment landscape evolves at an unprecedented pace, the role of Talent Advisor has never been more critical, and its potential for impact is only increasing.

This SocialTalent guide will be your compass on the journey to becoming a trusted Talent Advisor. Whether you’re a seasoned recruiter looking to transition into an advisory role, or a newcomer to the world of talent acquisition, this comprehensive resource is designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills, and insights needed to excel as a Talent Advisor.

What will you learn?
What a Talent Advisor is and the difference between this role and a Recruiter.
The steps on how to become a Talent Advisor.
How to best partner with Hiring Managers and get the most from this relationship.
Sourcing and interviewing strategy.
Operational excellence in recruiting and how essential this is.

What is a Talent Advisor?

In the world of human resources and corporate recruitment, a Talent Advisor plays a pivotal role. Representing a significant shift from traditional recruiting practices, Talent Advisors place a higher emphasis on strategic hiring, talent development, and company culture. Rather than merely filling vacancies, a Talent Advisor focuses on the bigger picture, ensuring that the right talent is aligned with the organization’s goals and values.

A Talent Advisor is like a consultant who guides an organization in its talent acquisition efforts. They use their in-depth knowledge of the industry, job market trends, and the specific needs of the organization to make informed hiring decisions. Their role includes not just identifying and attracting top talent, but also nurturing and developing these individuals to ensure their success within the organization.

In essence, a Talent Advisor is a strategic partner who adds value to an organization by helping shape its talent landscape. Their role extends beyond mere transactional recruitment, encompassing aspects of talent management, employee engagement, branding, and retention strategies.

What is the Difference Between a Recruiter and Talent Advisor?

The Recruiter

Traditional recruiters are the worker bees in the quest for talent. Their primary responsibility revolves around sourcing, attracting, and hiring candidates to meet the organization’s immediate needs. They are the ones who post job ads, sift through resumes, conduct initial interviews, and oversee the hiring process from start to finish.

Recruiters are typically very process-driven, focusing on filling vacancies as quickly as possible. They are the ones who make sure the hiring funnel is always full, and they are usually the first point of contact for candidates. Recruitment is often a numbers game, and recruiters are judged on their ability to deliver quantity – the number of hires made within a given timeframe.

Learn more: How the Role of TA is Evolving

The Talent Advisor

On the other side of the coin is the role of a Talent Advisor. A Talent Advisor is a strategic partner who contributes to the company’s long-term success by sourcing and attracting top talent. They are forward-looking, focusing not just on immediate hiring needs, but also on the future talent needs of the organization.

One of the defining characteristics of theTalent Advisor is how closely they work with hiring managers and business leaders, nurturing these relationships to understand the organization’s strategic goals and translate these into actionable talent acquisition strategies. They utilize their deep understanding of the market, industry trends, and the competitive landscape to advise on the best course of action for talent attraction and retention.

Unlike recruiters who are often reactive, Talent Advisors are defined by their proactiveness. They don’t just wait for job vacancies to be handed to them; they actively scout for talent and build connections with potential candidates, even before a position opens up. 

The Difference Between a Recruiter and a Talent Advisor

Read our dedicated blog post to truly dig into the differences between Recruiters and Talent Advisors and discover how the SocialTalent platform can enable any talent specialist to elevate their effectiveness.

How do you Become a Talent Advisor?

According to SHRM, for recruiters to elevate themselves into the position of a Talent Advisor, they “have to switch from thinking that they serve the business to understanding that they are the business.” 

A Talent Advisor isn’t an order taker, mindlessly filling requisitions – the job is to influence and mold strategy, to listen and understand business concerns, to bring data, communicate with stakeholders, and plan. And this transformation won’t happen overnight. It is a cumulative development that requires recruiters to shift mindsets and hone competencies and skills that would otherwise go unused. 

Here are 7 ways you can start on your path to becoming a Talent Advisor:

1. Self-assess where you’re at

SocialTalent’s resident talent expert, John Vlastelica, has created a free diagnostic tool to help recruiters and recruiting teams assess if they are successfully operating as Talent Advisors or not. The evaluation looks at eight different areas:

  • Engaging your hiring manager 
  • Leveraging external insights
  • Leveraging internal insights
  • Having more strategic pre-sourcing conversations
  • Getting more ROI from your sourcing strategy 
  • Building a more effective interview plan 
  • Improving your decision-making process
  • Closing candidates more effectively. 

After rating yourself in each of these different categories, you can then identify the opportunities for improvement. This is an essential first step in the journey to becoming a Talent Advisor.

Learn more: Download the diagnostic tool here

2. Gain in-depth industry knowledge

One of a Talent Advisor’s key strengths lies in their deep understanding of the industry in which they recruit. Whether this is market trends, competitive landscapes, unique challenges (or indeed, opportunities), a Talent Advisor has their finger on the pulse. Armed with this kind of information, you can confidently support hiring decisions that are based in fact.

Pro tip: To gain industry knowledge, set aside dedicated time each week to read articles (like those found on the SocialTalent blog!), listen to reputable podcasts, subscribe to relevant newsletters and mailing lists, attend events, and participate in the community. Remember – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Building this knowledge base requires consistent effort.

3. Expand your business acumen

There’s no point trying to level-up as a recruiter if you’re not keenly aware of the business’ goals. It’s important to learn about your company’s financials, growth plans, and how talent impacts its success. Talent Advisors should be able to speak the language of business and show how their efforts align with the organization’s bottom line.

Pro tip: Internal networking is key here. To gain an understanding of the business goals, reach out to the relevant stakeholders and set up casual meetings to talk through each element. Start to build relationships with these core individuals and gain the organizational insights you need.

4. Enhance your communication skills

Clear communication skills underpin every successful Talent Advisor. Whether you’re in contact with candidates, hiring managers, or leaders, your ability to persuade, inform, and inspire is paramount. Depending on the situation there are different ways to improve. Struggling to craft effective emails or written content? Download a tool like Grammarly to help keep your prose simple and free from error. Or, use generative AI as a sounding board to draft and enhance text. Do you get nervous when you need to speak up in meetings? Practice with a colleague or consider enrolling in a dedicated course to help improve your public speaking. Be proactive in this endeavor, but remember: clarity trumps all! Always aim to keep your communication simple, clear, and free from waffle.

Learn more: Discover how AI can transform communication throughout the hiring process. Download our FREE e-book – 20 Essential ChatGPT Prompts for Recruiters.

5. Cultivate industry relationships

Build a strong network within your industry. This can include attending industry events, joining LinkedIn groups, and connecting with other professionals who can offer insights and support. In a similar way to cultivating your industry knowledge, creating connections is an important factor in becoming a Talent Advisor. Whether you need advice or referrals, a thriving network can be a font of insight.

Learn more: New to networking or want to improve your approach? Kingsley Aikins’ masterclass on the SocialTalent platform is a must-watch! 

6. Focus on your talent pipeline

Recruiting tends to be quite a reactionary role – a position in the company is created or made vacant and we set out to fill it. Talent Advisors are slightly more visionary in their approach. Not only concerned about present talent needs, they also seek to understand and nurture a pipeline that can cater to future requirements also. 

This is where workforce and business planning knowledge comes to the fore. While it may seem like a lot of these roles just ‘pop up’, the truth is that there is often a long term strategy in play. By becoming privy to this kind of information, you can start sourcing and warming potential candidates long before a requisition goes live! SocialTalent’s Holly Fawcett explains this in much greater detail in her dedicated mission on our learning platform, take a look:

7. Seek mentorship and continuous learning

Talent Advisor training is a necessity on this journey, so it’s imperative that you invest in your professional development. The “Licensed Talent Advisor” learning path on the SocialTalent platform, for example, covers everything from building effective hiring strategies and working with hiring managers, to tips on sourcing, influencing key stakeholders, and bolstering diversity and inclusion efforts. Delivered by the incomparable John Vlastelica, this really is the definitive Talent Advisor Training!

Outside of this, it can also prove fruitful to identify a senior TA Leader with experience in this sphere and approach them for mentorship. Through regular meetings they can provide guidance, share insights, and help you navigate your career goals.

Learn more: Talk to our team today to see how SocialTalent’s Recruiting Training can help you and your team become Talent Advisors.

So, let’s take stock. We now understand what a Talent Advisor is, we’ve dug into the differences between this role and that of a recruiter, AND we’ve discovered how you can become a Talent Advisor. Next, we’re going to discuss some of the more pressing elements that define this role. We’ll be examining how to build the perfect hiring manager relationship, the importance of optimizing your sourcing and interviewing strategies, and why Talent Advisors must lean into operational excellence. Let’s get to it!

How to Partner with Hiring Managers

I’ve been in the recruiting industry for over 20 years,says SocialTalent CEO, Johnny Campbell, “and one of the most common gripes I’ve witnessed is the often strained relationship between hiring managers and recruiters. It’s like they’re from different planets!

The connection between the hiring professional and hiring manager is so crucial in terms of overall success, but without a concerted effort to build and maintain this relationship it can actually hinder the outcome. Both play different, but equally important, roles in the process. It’s a Talent Advisor’s job to understand the candidate market and bring insight on best practices for things like job descriptions and interviewing. A hiring manager, on the other hand, is armed with the priorities of the organization. They can provide detail on required skills, team dynamics, essential elements and nice-to-haves, etc. So, when the two come together on the same page, forming a tight, co-ordinated team, it becomes a recipe for excellent hiring.

A true Talent Advisor fully understands the importance of this relationship. It is not something to fight against; it is something to cultivate and actively seek out.

Why is the Talent Advisor / Hiring Manager relationship so important?

  • Alignment of Goals and Expectations: The Talent Advisor and hiring manager need to be on the same page when it comes to understanding the role to be filled. By building a strong relationship, they can ensure they share a common language on the job requirements, qualifications, desired skills, etc. This alignment helps in sourcing and presenting candidates who are a good fit for the position.
  • Candidate Quality: A strong relationship allows the Talent Advisor to have a deep understanding of the hiring manager’s expectations and the company’s culture. This knowledge enables the advisor to screen and present candidates who not only meet the job requirements but also align with the organization’s values.
  • Speed of Hiring: Always a big concern for hiring managers! With a solid connection, the Talent Advisor can streamline the recruitment process, resulting in a faster time-to-hire. Quick and efficient collaboration can lead to better candidate selection and quicker decision-making, which is essential in a competitive job market.
  • Candidate Experience: The Talent Advisor and hiring manager’s partnership plays a crucial role in creating a positive candidate experience. Candidates who have a seamless and well-coordinated interview process are more likely to view the company in a favorable light, even if they aren’t selected. This can enhance the company’s reputation and help attract top talent in the future.
  • Feedback and Continuous Improvement: An ongoing relationship allows for open and constructive feedback between the Talent Advisor and the hiring manager. They can discuss what’s working well and what can be improved in the hiring process, leading to continuous development and optimization of the talent acquisition strategy.
  • Reduced Turnover: When the hiring manager and Talent Advisor collaborate effectively, they can select candidates who are not only qualified but also well-suited to the company culture and the team they’ll be working with. This can reduce turnover rates as employees are more likely to stay in roles where they fit and feel comfortable.
  • Cost Efficiency: A strong partnership can help in optimizing the hiring process, reducing the need for rehiring or making poor hiring decisions that can be costly in terms of time and resources.

Learn more: We recently spoke with Charlotte Cantu, Head of Global Talent Acquisition at Tokio Marine HCC, on our Work: Smart Podcast about talent advisory and getting hiring manager buy-in. Check it out:

How do you create a positive relationship?

Building a successful and effective relationship between Talent Advisors and hiring managers is crucial for making the best hires possible. Collaboration between these two roles can streamline the recruitment process, improve the quality of candidates, and reduce time-to-fill. Here are some actionable pieces of advice to help you align and work together effectively:

Clear communication

According to Cielo, 57% of recruiters feel that hiring managers do not understand recruiting, while 63% of hiring managers feel that recruiters do not understand the jobs they are filling. There is huge disconnect here. And focusing on clear communication through the hiring process is the only way to solve this.

Pro tip: Both Talent Advisors and hiring managers should be in regular contact to discuss job requirements, candidate profiles, and the progress of ongoing searches. Establish regular communication channels, such as weekly status meetings or daily check-ins to discuss candidate progress, expectations, and feedback.

Define roles and responsibilities

Clearly outline the responsibilities of each party. Talent Advisors are typically responsible for sourcing, screening, and initial assessments, while hiring managers have the final say on candidate selection. But it’s worthwhile documenting this to create a sense of shared accountability and reduce the risk of confrontation.

The intake meeting

These are non-negotiable. According to CareerBuilder, 84% of surveyed employers say positions can stay open up to two weeks longer when an intake meeting is not held.

Conduct thorough intake meetings at the beginning of each recruitment process. These meetings should include discussions about the job description, ideal candidate profiles, and specifics on hiring criteria. This ensures both parties are on the same page from the start and can help weed out any unrealistic expectations. As John Vlastelica famously says, “misalignment is the root of all evil!”

Training and development

We’ve already advocated for recruiter training, but what about hiring managers? By investing in the professional development of your hiring managers, you can help them understand both the nuances of the recruitment process and why it’s so important to get hiring right.

SocialTalent offers an entire learning path to help hiring managers better align on ‘what good looks like’, ensure a great candidate experience, sell to top talent, and ultimately, make great hiring decisions. Check out a preview here.

SocialTalent Case Study: Avanade

Download our FREE case study to learn how Avanade used the SocialTalent platform and the ‘License to Hire’ learning path to improve hiring results and increase their pool of interviewers by an incredible 400%! 

Speed and quality are paramount

It can be frustrating for Talent Advisors when hiring managers see recruiting as a secondary role. They are time-poor and want a position filled quickly and with the best possible candidate – it can create a nightmare scenario! But understanding this also allows the Talent Advisor to prepare and remedy. As John Vlastelica says: “ideas in service to speed are in service to the hiring manager!

Pro tip: Diagnose your funnel and connect the dots. And show your hiring manager how certain processes or procedures can help requisitions close quicker – some may seem tedious to them at first glance, but if they understand the benefits long term it’s absolutely worth it. And the same rules apply for ensuring quality. It’s all about showing a hiring manager.

Learn more: The 5 biggest lessons I learned from my smartest hiring managers, with John Vlastelica.

Mastering Sourcing and Interviewing Strategy

When we’re talking about sourcing and interviewing, and elevating these elements as a Talent Advisor, it really revolves around strategy rather than the tactical ways to find and hire candidates. It’s about the planning and engagement – communicating with hiring managers and business leaders about the best approach to recruit the talent they need. Or bringing targeted insight and data to the conversations to ensure a more effective outcome.

What do we mean by sourcing strategy?

To better understand what we mean when talking about strategic sourcing, watch this short excerpt from John Vlastelica’s Talent Advisor course on the SocialTalent platform:

Here we can see that strategic sourcing, in the context of being a Talent Advisor, refers to the process of identifying, attracting, and selecting the best talent to meet an organization’s specific needs and long-term objectives. It is a systematic and proactive approach to finding and acquiring the right people, with an emphasis on planning, efficiency, and long-term talent management. According to Beamery, only 46% of companies know how many candidates they have in their pipeline – by creating and implementing a robust sourcing strategy, Talent Advisors can galvanize this process, diversify talent, and make more informed hires.

What strategic sourcing can look like

According to John Vlastelica, “being a Talent Advisor is about really knowing your business, knowing where your hires are coming from, knowing what sources you can directly influence, what sources you need the company to invest in.” So what does this look like?

  • Planning: This is step one. Here you want to present to the hiring manager or business a strategy that includes all the information needed to attract, recruit, select, and hire the best talent. It can include target candidate profiles, for example, funnel metrics, timeline assumptions – any details that can impact the success of sourcing.
  • Understanding the business: We’ve mentioned previously how important business acumen is. When looking at sourcing strategy, a Talent Advisor must completely understand the needs of the company, the skills required, the tech specific roles need, challenges, projects. All of this will inform how and where the search should begin.
  • Understanding the market: Do you know where the best candidates work? What does success look like for the role? Are there particular colleges or universities that specialize in these skills? Are you sourcing with diversity firmly in mind?
  • The value proposition: You also need to understand what motivates talent to move to a new company, and what you as an organization can offer as incentive to entice. It’s the ‘what’s in it for them’ angle!
  • Know your data: Get insight on conversion metrics. By working backward from making the hire, can you work out how many candidates you’ll need to source? And look at the numbers that move on to each stage also. You need to understand these figures because it gives you an insight into the difficulty of the hire and how long it may take.

What do we mean by interviewing strategy?

As a Talent Advisor, the goal is to step-up and drive an interviewing strategy that aligns key stakeholders to ensure the best candidates get hired. Listen to talent expert Paul Bunda to learn more about what interviewing strategy means:

Creating an interview strategy relies on four key criteria:

  1. Helping the interviewing team to know what good looks like in terms of hiring.
  2. Creating a robust and effective hiring criteria.
  3. Ensuring a solid interview process and keeping candidate experience top of mind.
  4. Advising when it comes down to decision-making.

What strategic interviewing looks like

As a Talent Advisor, it is your role to coach the hiring manager through the process of interviewing. Everyone brings their own style and requirements to the table, so it’s important to create a space where each person involved is aligned and there is an agreed-upon plan of action in place. But how do you do this?

  • Alignment: We’ve mentioned this a few times throughout the guide, but one of a Talent Advisor’s biggest responsibilities is to forge alignment with hiring managers and the business at large. Ask questions like: “What does the ideal candidate for this role look like?”, “What are the requirements and nice-to-haves?”, or “What are the characteristics of a top performer?”. Get the details. It’s also important to understand how everyone in the process defines values and skills. Dig in to all of this during the intake meeting and find common ground – this is invaluable for successful interviews.

  • Framework: Having a framework to guide your conversations with hiring managers is crucial. In his training on the SocialTalent platform, Paul Bunda lists four areas of interest: Skills and Knowledge, Behaviors, Motivation, and Achievements. Discuss each of these four categories and learn the hiring criteria. By gleaning this information, an interview can be tailored to find the specific characteristics or skills that are needed in the role.

  • Hiring Process: A poor hiring experience can alienate talent. According to LinkedIn, 60% of job seekers quit online job applications mid-way due to their length and complexity. As a Talent Advisor, you can influence and optimize this experience. Ensure the hiring manager understands the consequences to quality and speed when certain decisions are made. And bring the data – show them how having too many rounds of interviews or too many interviewers can negatively impact the overall hire.

Operational Excellence

Recruiting has become a much more strategic and multifaceted role over the years. There are many more complexities, stages, and relationships to maintain in every single hire – and it can quickly become tricky to manage. This is where operational excellence comes to the fore, and defines the very best Talent Advisors.

What is operational excellence?

Operational excellence in recruiting is the practice of optimizing and continuously improving the recruitment process to achieve better outcomes. This includes the successful hiring of top-notch candidates, reducing time-to-fill for positions, and cost savings methodologies. It is a holistic approach that encompasses various elements, like setting clear and achievable goals, tracking data, measuring performance and outcomes, and focusing on good, habitual administrative hygiene practices.

Why is operational excellence important for Talent Advisors?

There is power in doing the simple things well. When processes run smoothly, stakeholders are aligned, barriers removed, and information is democratized, the impact on the success metrics of hiring can be huge.

​​Companies are constantly seeking top talent to drive their success, and finding the right candidates efficiently is paramount. Talent Advisors who strive for operational excellence can not only help organizations attract the best talent but also work smarter by streamlining their hiring processes, reducing costs, improving candidate experience, and enhancing overall productivity.

If a Talent Advisor adds value by being a strategic partner to the business, it’s so important to ensure that hiring is a well-oiled machine. You must focus on the details as much as the overarching concerns of the business.

What does operational excellence look like in practice?

  1. Streamlining the hiring process

This element is all about diagnosing issues or bottlenecks that could be impacting the recruiting journey in a negative way. Ask yourself some fundamental questions like:

  • Are we sourcing talent in the right areas?
  • Do we quickly communicate with candidates and provide appropriate detail?
  • Is every interview panel aligned on what good looks like?
  • Are we using scorecards and is this data being uploaded and shared clearly?
  • Do we understand what skills and attributes are successful in the business?
  • Are there delays in getting to the offer stage? 

From here you can start to get a more complete picture of the hiring process and find effective ways to keep this system optimized.

  1. Data-driven decision-making

Operational excellence in recruiting hinges on data-driven decision-making. According to Deloitte, 71% of companies see people analytics as a high priority in their organizations. By leveraging data analytics, a Talent Advisor can gain valuable insights into their hiring processes, can identify shortcomings, and make informed choices regarding candidate selection and retention strategies. 

  1. Optimizing applicant tracking systems

The ATS is essentially the nerve center of modern recruitment operations. Its significance lies in its ability to automate and streamline various stages of the hiring process, making it indispensable for organizations looking to maintain operational excellence in recruitment. But to ensure it continues to serve as a linchpin tool, you must remember to:

  • Regularly update your ATS
  • Periodically cleanse and review the database
  • Streamline workflows
  • Automate low-hanging manual tasks
  • Engage in regular user training.
  1. Feedback loops

One of the fundamental principles of operational excellence is the commitment to continuous improvement. In recruiting, this means regularly collecting feedback from candidates, hiring managers, business leaders, and other recruiters to identify areas for enhancement. It fuels iteration and optimization. So whether you collect this information in surveys or through follow-up meetings, it’s crucial to be open to this guidance.

Operational Excellence in Recruiting

A back to basics approach is always necessary when it comes to accurate and effective recruiting. This blog post will guide you through some of the key areas to optimize to ensure the best results.


The role of a Talent Advisor is a pivotal one in today’s ever-changing recruitment landscape. As talent continues to be elusive and the skills shortage complicates how organizations approach hiring, Talent Advisors stand as a beacon amongst this chaos. More than just recruiters, they are strategic partners who contribute to the long-term success of the business.

By gaining in-depth knowledge of both the industry and business, cultivating strong relationships with hiring managers, focusing on the strategic, and never forgetting the importance of optimization, a Talent Advisor will not only zone in on making the best hires for an organization, but also help to forge a recruiting process that both engages candidates and improves effectiveness. 

Talent Advisors are the next evolution of recruiters. Embrace the journey, focus on growth and improvement, and become a true architect of talent strategies in your organization.

How SocialTalent can help you become a Talent Advisor

SocialTalent’s Recruitment Training offers a comprehensive Talent Advisor mission, led by the incredible John Vlastelica. With six hours of world-class content, this course is perfect for taking recruiters to that next level, becoming true talent experts.

As we have learned, becoming a Talent Advisor is not only about selecting great candidates – it’s also about being a consultative and strategic partner to your hiring managers and business. This training will teach recruiters how to lead hiring conversations and make a big impact on the way they source, interview, select, and sell talent.

SocialTalent is one of the cornerstones of bringing our talent strategy to life. Together with our TA team and hiring managers on this learning journey, we are improving our capability to execute our strategic priorities.” 

Interested to learn more about SocialTalent’s Recruitment Training? Speak with our team of specialists today!