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Are You an Order Taker or a Strategic Business Partner?

Are You an Order Taker or a Strategic Business Partner?

During Adway’s latest LinkedIn Live, Sara Dalsfelt sat down with none other than the legendary Keynote Speaker, Author, and Ex-Facebook Talent Advisor, Anna Stenbeck. And, needless to say, there was a lot to hash out. Sara and Anna covered everything from activating hiring managers to showcasing how recruiters can add real value and not just be seen as “resume factories.” 

If you want a detailed summary, keep right on reading!  


Meet Former Facebook Talent Advisor: Anna Stenbeck

Anna Stenbeck is a passionate, award-winning TA nerd and published author who has advised organizations like Capgemini and Bombardier. Most recently, she spent 2.5 years working as a standalone Talent Sourcer in the Nordics for Facebook. Anna’s areas of expertise lie in internal and external Employer Branding and Recruitment, Diversity and Inclusion, working both on a strategic and operational level.


Finding the “Pain Points” in the TA Process 

As per usual, it all starts with data: 

  • According to a study from the ICIMS Hire Expectations Institute, 61% of hiring managers think recruiters don’t understand the jobs they’re filling.
  • According to Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation Report, the two biggest bottlenecks in recruitment are hiring managers failing to progress the candidate into the next stage and getting stuck in resume review. 
  • According to a study from Deloitte that determined the top 15 performance drivers in TA, the #1 driver was the relationship between recruiters and hiring managers. Yet, in this same study, 50% of recruiters felt hiring managers had no idea what recruitment is all about, while 63% of the hiring managers felt recruiters didn’t know enough about the jobs they’re supposed to fill. 

Bottom line here: there’s a whole lot of pain and a big disconnect between talent acquisition and hiring managers! To get to the future of TA, it’s going to take some work…

Future Proofing TA Through Strategic Partnerships

Now that we know about the great disconnect, how can TA move forward to become a strategic business partner? Anna says, for starters, think about how you’re positioning yourself. Start with yourself. It’s everybody’s job to be strategic, and it’s up to you to find the “why?” How do you approach relationships, collaborations and conversations in the workplace? What are you offering strategically to the organisation? And, to take it a step further, what is the organisation’s “why?” 

Secondly, it might sound simple, but you have to have a partner. It takes two to tango. And you’ll need to pull that partner into the conversation. Bringing business managers on board will engage them and foster a feeling of joint responsibility, moving away from pointing fingers and into a place of strategic partnership. 

1. ACTIVATE Your Hiring Managers

Okay, we know a strategic partnership is the goal, but how do recruiters get their hiring managers engaged? One word: activation. This means giving the hiring manager something to do. 

Start by questioning outdated job descriptions and ensuring every requirement and detail is relevant to the candidate audience. Get the hiring manager to sit down alongside you and work through the process. Next, you can nail down the perfect pitch for recruitment outreach. Or, ask the hiring manager to reach out to specially identified candidates, especially if you notice the hiring rate data shows their involvement is beneficial. 

There are LOTS of activities that give hiring managers a chance to be ACTIVATED. Take advantage of the vital tools they bring to the table and, guess what, you’ll be sitting at the table, too.

2. Use Data to Influence The Conversation

On your quest to activate hiring managers, you might need a little bit of data to make them understand why their involvement matters. If you can bring a compelling business case with you to the meeting, there’s a far greater chance of getting hiring managers on board with the process and working together as strategic business partners. Let yourselves align over the business case and how beneficial it will be for the bottom line. 

3. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

  • Client meetings 
  • Product trainings
  • Business meetings
  • Learning and development opportunities 

The goal is to get to know your company intimately so you can a) be acutely aware of every plan and b) arm yourself with the kinds of insights that help you interface with hiring managers. You’ll be so in the know, you can challenge the next steps as you go. Because the time will inevitably come when you can say “hey, how does this decision impact TA?” Be the detective, not the police. 


Recruiting Can Bring Real Business Value

Once you’ve stepped outside the recruitment comfort zone and gained insight into the deepest aspects of the business, you can finally bring the best possible solutions and business value to the table. It’s about serving managers and leaders with opportunities and, in order to do so, you’ve got to be part of the business. 

Questions From the Audience 

Glenn Martin, Talent Acquisition Project Manager & Podcaster

What are the top 3 soft skills you look for in an individual who’s trying to make the transition from “Orderville” to Business Partner? 

  1. Be able to influence others. You can’t be the only one doing the work. You need to get others on board. 
  2. Be resilient. It won’t happen overnight. It’s a huge job. And you might take two steps forward and one step back for a while. 
  3. Be analytical. Be able to analyse the trends and waves in both the business and the talent market. Connect those two dots with data. Create something with your findings, whether it’s a key decision or a behavioral change. 

Anne Masson, National Talent Sourcer at Starbucks 

As we worked day to day through the pandemic, our team has slid back into the order taker mindset. Now that we are on the other side, how do we influence our own teams and the teams we support to get back into thinking more strategically? 

  • Start with yourself. Get your team together, ask each of them what their personal “why” for TA is, and how they see the organisational “why.” Combine those narratives into one pot and see what you have in terms of the offering. Try to find the opportunities that are stemming from this strange time we are in and plug yourself and your team into them. 

Phil Strazzulla, Select Software Reviews  

How can I impress hiring managers in a strategic way, beyond just bringing them great candidates? 

  • Don’t be the resume factory! Showcase the added value you can have through the insights and strategies, and by being proactive instead of reactive.

Anna’s Key Takeaways

  1. Reflect on your why’s! If you don’t have it, you can’t sell it to anyone else. 
  2. Get as much insight as you can to build your case. Use data to be practical and predict. 
  3. Don’t be a pleaser. Dare to not please. Dare to say “no.” Dare to challenge. 

Take a Trip to Strategic TA Paradise

We hope this epic conversation with Anna and Sara helped you learn a little bit more about what it takes to get out of “Orderville” and into Strategic TA Paradise. 

As always, stay tuned for an opportunity to tackle some of TA’s biggest issues in our future LinkedIn live streams.