The increasing automation of recruitment functions has led a number of HR thought leaders to propose a remake of the recruiter’s job. The term of art for this new role is “talent advisor,” a phrase that’s easy to say, but a transformation that will be difficult for many to implement. Their challenge is an opportunity for job boards.
While it’s not widespread, at least at this point, there is some anxiety about the future of the recruiting profession. Artificial intelligence and machine learning-based chatbots, recruitment platforms, interviewing and assessment programs and more all seem to point to a day when recruiters will no longer have a job … unless they can establish and take on a new facet of talent acquisition. That’s the impetus behind the talent advisor movement.
Dr. John Sullivan has defined a talent advisor as someone who “spends most of their time consulting with managers as to how to improve their talent-management capabilities and how to get the most out of their talent. This role provides expert advice on internal talent optimization and how to dominate the external talent marketplace.” It is, as Sullivan goes on to say, a role designed “to improve business outcomes.”
That last phrase creates a very different set of needs among job board customers.
Traditionally, job boards have assisted recruiters with writing job ads and the mechanics of posting them, provided insights on the benefits of alternative advertising and marketing packages, and depending on the client, offered advice on the timing and distribution of ads. The goal, of course, was to ensure that the customer gets the outcome they want and for which they paid. But now, these customers are being urged to work on a very untraditional set of outcomes – so-called “business outcomes” – and job boards can help them measure up … but only if their support is equally as untraditional.
The Role of Business Partner
Recruiters have long been captive of the day-to-day demands of their job. They’re responsible for multiple requisitions, each of which can generate dozens or even hundreds of applicants, all of which have to be evaluated (at least in theory) and some percentage of which must also be interviewed, background checked and sold on an opening. As a result, they’ve had precious little opportunity to develop the skills or acquire the knowledge necessary to be a credible “talent advisor.”
To fill in those gaps, job boards should reset themselves as their customers’ “business partner.” That word partner is especially important.
• First, it’s a term HR people have used before to describe themselves – they’ve long aspired to be “business partners” of line and business unit managers. Adopting the term to describe a job board’s role, therefore, will make it more understandable (and comfortable) for both HR professionals with recruiting responsibilities and the HR leaders who oversee recruiting operations.
• Second, the word actually describes a change in the way job boards interact with their customers. They will cease operating as external vendors with something to sell and start serving as consultants with the skills and information to help. They will still sell recruitment advertising and brand marketing, of course, but now it will be done in the context of providing expert advice on “business outcomes.”
What does that advice look like?
Job boards can tap external sources and their own databases to help recruiters provide useful business advice to the hiring managers who are their customers. They can, for example, offer insights on:
• The size of the labor pool for specific occupations in specific geographic locations;
• The number of jobs ads that will compete with an employer’s ad for a specific occupation in a specific location;
• What other employers are paying to attract applicants for a specific kind of opening in a specific geographic location; and
• The time-to-fill a specific kind of opening in a specific location.
A famous clothier once said that “An educated consumer is your best customer.” It’s a CRM strategy that job boards should consider as their customers evolve. Adopting the role of a business partner who supports recruiters with the insights that help make them successful talent advisors will also make them your job board’s best customers.
Food for thought,
Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle is brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.
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