So you wanna be a…Talent Advisor

Looking for a TA career change but not too sure how to get there? Our ‘So you wanna be a…‘ series takes a look at some of the more niche TA roles and digs deep into the who, how, and why behind them. We chat with some of your favourite TA leaders in that space to find out how they got started, what their role really looks like, and what tips and tricks they have for other TA superstars looking to get a foot in the door.

In this issue, we sat down with Antonia Jennings, freelance talent advisor and founder and director @ Avidity + Co, to find out what really goes on in the life of a Talent Advisor.

First things first, what is a talent advisor?

A talent advisor is a critical part of any organisation. They are the individual that creates talent communities in order to build sustainable pipelines of people interested in working for your organisation now and in the future.  They consult with the business on the challenges of attracting, hiring and retaining talent and provide creative strategies to overcome these challenges.

What led you to become a talent advisor?

It’s been a career I’ve been in since graduating.  I don’t think anyone leaves uni with talent advisor as their career goal but its a career that draws people to it as you’re making an impact in peoples lives every single day.  You get a seat at the table to drive business change and you get to wear multiple hats such as marketing, business analyst, HR, workplace champion – its such a varied career path I couldn’t think of another that has so much to offer.

What does your day-to-day involve? What about the bigger picture work? 

No one day is the same and I can say that from being in this role for 20 years.  You can be sitting with a C-suite or board team doing workforce planning for the next 3-year strategy to deliver to Wall Street and by lunchtime you’re on the phone selling how amazing the company is to a new student who’s looking to join your intern program. 

The big picture work is part of that day-to-day; without the long term planning, forecasting, and consulting you aren’t being a true talent advisor.

What are some of the biggest blockers/challenges you come across in your everyday work?

Mindset is a huge challenge. Changing the mindset of managers who are siloed in their thinking of what great talent looks like, changing the mindset of finance with the market data that salary ranges aren’t true to market, changing the mindset of graduates joining you that they can be and do anything they want in your company, they are their only limitation.

What do you love most about your job?

Making a difference.  Whether it’s coaching a hiring team to step into the candidates shoes and see what the process looks and feels like and get them onboard to create a fantastic experience, or working with a candidate on interview preparation as you know this is the perfect new job for them – it’s all about giving back and making a difference to people in everything you do.

What kind of working relationship do you have with the rest of the TA/HR team? What about your working relationship with the wider organisation?

I’ve always worked with TA and HR as absolute partners – we are one journey for someone looking at us as their new employer, we can attract and give them a great experience through the hiring process, and then HR take the baton to ensure they have an amazing onboarding experience, training, promotion, return to work, etc.  The TA’s relationship with the wider business is vast, you touch every part of it whether it’s through the consulting elements or the direct hiring.  You’ll often find TA is the go-to for the business to know what’s happening, who’s moving where, what’s coming up in the future as we have to be across every bit of news (good and bad) to be ready to answer this with candidates.

What type of qualities do you think make a good talent advisor? 

Resilience – you have to be able to take it on the chin. You’re not going to get hires for every role and you need to be resilient to managers saying no, headcount getting pulled at the final moment, and candidates rejecting your offers. 

Trust – your business relationships have to be built on trust. You are the keeper of a lot of confidential information and you need to protect that and work with multiple stakeholders without breaking that trust. 

A positive attitude with strong self awareness – you have to be the brightest and switched on because you’re selling every single day, whether it’s selling your company to a candidate, a candidate to a hiring manager, or a new process to a hiring team you’re engaging and influencing in everything you do. 

However you have to know your limits and have good support systems in place when things aren’t going your way.  You can’t be everything to everyone so you need to know how to delegate, collaborate and sometimes just call time and step back for a moment to reassess.

The last two years have been tough for anyone working in the talent acquisition space. How has a global pandemic, frequent lockdowns, and a move towards people wanting more hybrid work options impacted the type of work you are doing right now? 

For Avidity, we’ve had the busiest three years. Every client is facing these challenges so for our consulting engagements to work through them with leadership teams, bring teams together when people are virtual and build engagement strategies has been critical.  It’s also given our clients the opportunity to grow in ways they hadn’t thought, to tap into international markets with remote workers that they’ve not considered before, to hire with more flexible working arrangements like job share, part-time or contractors/freelancers which has increased the diversity of their workforces beyond what they were expecting.

Antonia’s Cheat Sheet for Aspiring Talent Advisors

What are some of the actionable things you can do if you want to be a talent advisor? Here are some suggestions from Antonia of who to follow, what to use, and where to seek out your info.

Industry experts and influencers to follow

Kameron Kales, Aubrey Blanche, and Katrina Collier

Absolute must-use productivity and tech tools to make your life so much easier

I’m actually pretty useless as I love a new shiny thing so I never get much productivity out of them before I want to try the next one. 

Productivity though for me is actually about stepping away from the tech.  I am least productive when I’ve been sat on zoom interviews all day with a training deck staring at me to get finished and a board report that needs my input on buzzing a reminder at me.  Productivity is knowing my boundaries to step away, get fresh air, clear my brain, and then get back on task

Newsletter and event recommendations to keep the brain ticking over and your network fresh?

I’m at ATC addict, love the newsletter and Talentpalooza from TalentTable for networking.

Is there a specific niche area of recruitment you’d like to know more about. Email us and let us know.

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