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Talent advisors: The key to better recruitment

Recruiting the best people is getting tougher and more expensive. So how can recruiters change things for the better?

Here’s something to make you sit up. Recent analysis by CEB shows that it now takes 63 business days to fill a position. That’s 21 business days (a whole four weeks) longer than it took just six years ago. It gets worse. Roles which organisations judge to be business critical take up even more time: 81 days, up from 49 over the same period.

Translate that increase into financial terms and the situation becomes even more troubling. The average company is losing nearly £300 a day per open position—that’s about £18,900 in lost productivity and recruiting costs for every vacancy. Now factor in the additional burden placed on the employees who have to pick up the extra work, or rely on this position to carry out their own job effectively. The knock-on impact of having an open position increases the pressure and stress on the workforce and restricts their ability to get things done.

It’s true the good talent is hard to hire these days, but something has to change—especially as recruiters deal with 33 per cent heavier workloads and demands for faster, better sourcing.

As a result, nearly two-thirds of recruiting executives are upgrading their organisations’ assessment and selection capabilities to one of their top priorities, and are increasing their budget for assessment and selection by an average of 15 per cent.

Recruiters need to work smarter by making the assets they already have work harder for them. This means leveraging their existing relationships, knowledge, assessment tools and skills in a different way. Not so much a revolution as an evolution to make sure these talent investments pay off. So rather than just reacting to hiring requests recruiters need to be ahead of the game, helping to shape recruitment decisions. If that sounds like a more positive way forward then let me introduce you to the Talent Advisor.

These high impact recruiters are the voice of talent strategy. They align recruitment efforts with organisational strategy to build talent pipelines to meet both short and long term business needs. They use deep labour market knowledge and strategic workforce insights to challenge stakeholder thinking and influence decision-making. And, they’ve optimised the assessment process around the needs of the candidate, and the organisations, which also improves the operational process of filling positions and the strategic consultation they give to hiring managers. The Talent Advisor – armed with the right approach and information – can make this happen.

Right now fewer than one-in-five recruiters are proficient as Talent Advisors. Operating in this way requires a step change in how they work with partners in the firm, how they use the assessment tools and technologies they already have, how they hone and apply skills in influencing and data analytics, and how they adapt their processes. For those recruiting professionals and their organisations that flex this advisory capacity, the rewards are considerable.

Working smarter and building the Talent Advisor’s capabilities boosts individual recruiter performance by 25 per cent and increases their business influence. Furthermore, recruiting cycles are improved (with a reduction in the time taken to full a position by 32 days). Finally, stakeholders are happier as they receive better guidance from recruiters, stronger job candidates to interview and access more robust talent pipelines.

Recruiting the best and brightest people is only going to continue to get tougher. Taking a more proactive and strategic approach – by seizing the opportunities that the Talent Advisor offers – will bolster more productive working relationships, improve the recruitment process, and make a demonstrable and positive impact on the way organisations build a stronger workforce for the future.

Nick Shaw is managing director, UK & Ireland at CEB