7 Key Skills Every Talent Manager Needs

HR Insights for Professionals

HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Talent managers are a key part of the recruitment process, helping companies find the exact professionals they need to succeed.

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The growing skills gap for many industries has meant that recruitment has become a much more technical process, with specialists in this field proving to be an asset. With a business landscape that is quickly evolving, talent managers need to have a variety of skills that allow them to find and nurture the professionals organizations are looking for.

So what do companies need from talent managers? And which traits should you look to develop if you want to go into this?

1. Be innovative

Talent management is a highly demanding, fast-moving space where the ability to find innovative solutions to challenges can prove extremely valuable.

If you're facing the common problem of trying to find recruits with the key skills and experience you need in a tight labor market, being bold and testing out new talent acquisition methods could be the best route to finding the people you need.

For instance, rather than relying on the traditional approach of posting a job advert and waiting for responses, you could look for new ways to engage with passive candidates on social media.

2. Be completely open

The most important part of being a talent specialist is being able to see the professionals behind the skills and build a strategy based on this. Of course, you're not going to be an expert in all areas of business so this relies heavily on being able to listen to those around you, evaluate what they're saying, and use critical thinking to decide where your talent management skills fit in.

You'll need to absorb a lot of information from other professionals and be open-minded in what approach will be the basis of your strategy. This sometimes involves being more creative with structure, while other times traditional working dynamics will be the best solution.

Like any other business consultant, talent specialists need to keep any personal feelings or opinions to one side and focus entirely on what skills are most needed and which would complement each other.

3. Be analytical

Effective analysis of the wide range of data at your disposal has never been more important in business. Every department and function - including HR and talent management - has something to gain from scrutinizing their data and drawing actionable conclusions that can benefit the company.

Talent managers who take an analytical approach to their work can make stronger, more informed decisions. People analytics will help you gain a better understanding of the company's existing workforce, where it’s performing well, and where it needs to improve.

This will lead to more relevant and rewarding training, stronger staff engagement and better recruitment.

4. Be a brand ambassador

Employee retention is something that most companies prioritize, whether because they want to reduce recruitment costs or are concerned about losing people to competitors; talent managers play a key role in this. You need to ensure the business is doing everything possible to support employees so you can present the brand as a top employer.

This means talent managers need to be able to absorb PR and marketing skills and transfer this ethos to the workforce. Identifying the best communication channels is a foundation of this and will allow you to work with the other departments to develop the best brand strategy.

5. Be a keen networker

It's estimated that up to 80% of jobs aren’t advertised, but are filled through networking and contacts.

It’s clear networking is a vital part of recruitment and talent management. Having a broad, diverse network of professional contacts increases the likelihood of finding the people and skills you need, whether they’re actively looking for a job or not.

Keeping in touch with fellow talent managers and other people in your industry can also help you stay up to date with unfolding trends, improving your ability to anticipate the skills you're likely to need in the future.

6. Be a tech enthusiast

Technology is becoming a more prevalent part of the business landscape and talent managers need to be right in the thick of it. From analytics software to help you measure and track progress to ensuring individuals on a wide range of devices and platforms can access your resources, you need to be able to adapt to the latest technical innovations.

This is an essential part of on-going talent management and will ensure you can provide the evidence your bosses need to prove that you are a valuable part of the business.

7. Be comfortable with change

Working in a fast-moving field like talent management means you have to be comfortable with change and ready to take on whatever fresh challenge is around the corner.

This year alone there have been a number of significant trends for talent managers and HR decision-makers to keep track of, including:

  • The empowerment of employees to dictate their own professional development
  • A move away from annual appraisals, towards more regular, responsive performance reviews

Rapid change means there will always be unprecedented questions to answer and new objectives to achieve. As a talent manager, you need to be open-minded, adaptable and resilient to succeed in this dynamic environment.

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