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The future of recruiting: The talent advisor model - Spring 2018

By Marcia Horn Noyes, New Braunfels, TX


Evolve or get left behind. That wise insight, often erroneously attributed to Charles Darwin, can most certainly be applied to today’s recruiting career, where a tide of artificial intelligence (AI) technology is lapping at the doorsteps of the field. Currently, most staff physician recruiting occurs within a transactional model: requisitions are handed down and recruitment ensues. Yet, in industries outside of healthcare an evolving recruiting model is gaining strength. For recruiters who fear eventual replacement by the latest AI technology, this newer construct is one that offers hope and deserves careful consideration.

Crystal Miller, CEO of Dallas-based Branded Strategies, says the future is moving toward the talent advisor model for recruiting. Miller runs an employer brand consulting firm that works with companies that have 3,500 to 5,000 employees on average, all the way up to the Fortune 15. When asked which industries are embracing this talent advisor model, she says it’s probably easier to say where she doesn’t see it. “I don’t see it accepted as quickly or as easily in industries like healthcare, fast casual dining, retail, manufacturing and in pure government organization,” she says.

The overall pace at which healthcare moves is likely the reason for healthcare’s delayed acceptance of this model. However, Miller says that healthcare’s massive hiring demand also creates a lag in the model’s adoption, when finding candidates with the right licensure and credentials remains the most pressing need.

Defining the talent advisor model

The role of talent advisor is more of a consultative one. While recruiters may see themselves as instrumental in filling requisitions and recruiting, talent advisors play a more strategic function. Miller explains, “Talent advisors should be able to understand how to get from point A to point B, or from where the organization is to where it needs to be in order to obtain its defined business goals.” In addition to straight recruiting tasks, talent advisors will also train managers on how to get the most return on their talent investment, provide expert advice on how to dominate the external talent marketplace and more.

One need only look within today’s healthcare industry to see a comparison between the transactional and the talent advisor model. In March 2010, when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the traditional fee-for-service payment model had to be reevaluated. The signing of Obamacare launched an industry-wide transition to value-based care reimbursement that left many providers straddling the fence between the old fee-for-service model of care and what loomed on the horizon.

Likewise, many organizations both in and outside of healthcare will likely play the same balancing act when trying to implement the talent advisor model. In addition to the “sales” function of recruiting, “marketing” facets also exist within the advisory role, as well as the role having a counseling or coaching component. “It’s not a pure anything, but more of a hybrid role,” and one Miller says organizations may put in place alongside the transactional norm.

Special skills of the new advisor

Within the last few months, Miller’s firm has put together an advisor profile requisition for two different organizations. In both, she recommended searching for a candidate with a combined background of marketing and consumer behavioral psychology. Miller says that as the industry evolves with this new role, basic behavioral psychology skills will be more highly sought. “Having a basic understanding of behavioral psychology or consumer psychology helps recruiters better understand why people make decisions, what their motivators are and how to create calls-to-action.”

Implementation challenges

As with the shift toward value-based care from fee-for-service, an organization should not expect the path forward to be smooth when moving toward an advisory model. Budgets will likely be a challenge. “With the new advisory model, organizations will find that budgeting becomes, ‘we are all one budget.’” That can create problems when figuring out how to charge back certain items or split costs between different value centers.

Miller offers a typical example of the challenge. “Take an organization that is accustomed to charging per hire by level or by seniority. With the new model, it will now function from a value basis, so every part of the business chips in ‘x’ amount of dollars for all hires.” The “we are all one” approach works quite well, until a problem occurs in one business unit or region that doesn’t have the same cost that other regions encounter. The challenge arises when other parts of the organization have already “thrown money into the pot.” While Miller points out that a work-around solution is possible, the bumps in the road are ones that organizations have yet to easily navigate.

Recruiting goal: always provide value

While considering the benefits and immediate challenges with the talent advisor model, Miller says one thing will always remain true, “If you can’t evolve and keep up, you will get left behind; you won’t be able to hang on to the role that you have. We always need to be growing our skills, growing our career and making sure that we are adding value to the companies for whom we work, or odds are good that we won’t be able to work for them any more.”

Talent advisor tools

Beyond metrics that recruiters typically track, like timeto- slate and time-to-fill, the talent advisor model offers a wealth of data to examine, given the right tools. Miller says an organization that is considering the talent advisory role should strongly consider implementing some of the best tools on the market to track these new data. Here are some of her recommendations:

  • Pando — a dashboard that can be obtained through Aspen Advisors
  • TinyPulse — software for real-time feedback that measures the happiness, frustration and burn-out of employees
  • Elevated — software used to help with understanding organizational makeup from a culture perspective. This tool can help determine the following and more:
    • Individual value of the employees that work in the organization
    • What values employees perceive within the organization
    • What the overlaps might be so that proper messaging can be created
    • What profile ranges will work in your organization to help you create persona profiles

Primary Source List

1. Crystal Miller, CEO Branded Strategies 214-585-2474 Dallas, TX Email:

Secondary Source List

1. Darwin Correspondence Project. 2018 University of Cambridge six-things-darwin-never-said#quote1

2. Sullivan, Dr. John. 2017. The Future of Recruiting — the Talent Advisor Model Dominates (Part 1 of 2), ERE. the-future-of-recruiting-the-talent-advisor-model-dominates-part-1/