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Talent Advisor vs. Recruiter: What’s the Difference?

Is there really a difference between a traditional recruiter vs. a talent advisor? 

Many people consider themselves recruiters, but as they describe their work process, my brain interrupts with, “You’re a talent advisor!” So many recruiters are inadvertently taking on a talent advisor role but aren’t getting credit for that work, skill, or effort.

Let’s dive into what makes a recruiter, what makes a talent advisor, and how you can make the transition. Spoiler: You’ve probably already started!

What Is a Recruiter?

As with any job, what a recruiter is varies depending on your experience level and where you work. 

But SmartRecruiters presents a good overview:

“A recruiter finds qualified candidates for a job opening and works to meet the demands of both the employer and the employee throughout the hiring process. The recruiter owns the end-to-end process of talent acquisition.”

That means working with sourcers and hiring managers directly to build talent pools and fill the position. They manage the transactional steps of the hiring process, maintaining communication and a feedback loop with both the hiring manager and the candidates.

Some recruiters also have the skills to guide hiring managers through a particular market with an eye for the future and an understanding of complex data… that’s where Talent Advising comes in.

What Is a Talent Advisor?

Talent advisors advise hiring managers (and even candidates) to manage the transactional aspects of hiring and more strategic understandings of a talent pool.

Talent advisors often work beyond the recruitment process to assist hiring managers with retention. In addition, some redeploy candidates in a staffing environment.

Thanks to their understanding of their particular market, they also tend to have the skills and knowledge to push back on hiring managers regarding a job’s requirements, salary, experience level, etc. It’s not uncommon for talent advisors to have a specific focus on one industry over another. Still, the skills are often transferable should a talent advisor wish to move into a different market.

3 Ways To Transition from Recruiter to Talent Advisor

Let’s say you feel like you haven’t entirely made the transition from recruiter to talent advisor. That’s alright! We’ve got three ways that you can make it happen.

Dedicated Experience in the Market

If you’ve been recruiting software engineers for 5+ years, you’ve likely learned all the secrets of the market. You’re already making more of the transition than you may realize. While years of experience isn’t everything, it translates to a level of knowledge that many hiring managers don’t have and gives you the position to use it for strategic decisions.

Talent Intelligence and Automation

Talent Intelligence contextualizes information around talent with the power of artificial intelligence to help you make better recruiting and staffing decisions. Since data is critical in being a talent advisor, normalized data and talent intelligence will be essential.

So if you don’t have years of experience in the market or need to get other team members up to a talent advisor role quickly, you need to build trust in recruiting automation and talent intelligence tools.

Invest in Communication and Community

Never underestimate the power of learning from the people around you. If you’re looking to transition from recruiter to talent advisor, LinkedIn groups or local/virtual events can be a great place to learn from your community.

One of the most tactical ways to become a talent advisor is to invest in upfront communication. How can you make your intake meeting more of a strategy call? Can you come to those meetings already knowing some about the role and competition you will be facing? What about your team of sourcers? How can you use their skills to support your communications with the hiring team?

Ultimately, the difference between a recruiter and a talent advisor may feel small, but it significantly changes how recruiting and staffing are approached. Not to mention the role that one-the-ground recruiters can take in the process. And remember: Your skills, experience, and intelligence are valuable. Don’t underestimate yourself.