What to Look for In a Talent Acquisition Partner

There are essentially three types of talent acquisition partners:

  • 1) Internal stakeholders outside the recruiting org (e.g., C-suite members, human resources leaders, hiring managers) who support one or more hiring-process stages
  • 2) External agencies or consultants, like recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) firms, who lend regular assistance (usually around sourcing) and insight to your recruiters
  • 3) Your primary recruiting software provider that (ideally) empowers your entire talent team to develop a sustainable, well-coordinated, full-cycle recruitment strategy

Non-recruiting colleagues, RPOs, and other outside advisors can help boost your recruitment performance. For instance, you can partner with hiring managers to better understand their needs regarding open roles — info that can inform your sourcing efforts.

But working with your main TA tech vendor — more specifically, their customer experience and support (CX&S) team — to make the most of their solution day in and day out is how you’ll best achieve your short- and long-term pipeline and headcount goals.

The question to ask yourself now: Is our current ATS a true talent acquisition partner or not?

What is a talent acquisition partner?

A talent acquisition partner is an entity (as noted above, a single person or group of experts in and/or outside your org) that can aid with many facets of your recruitment strategy.

The ideal partner:

  • Helps talent leaders take a step back to review their recruitment model and metrics
  • Assesses the talent pipelines built by and sourcing strategies put into play by recruiters
  • Points out areas for improvement with the candidate experience provided to prospects
  • Offers tactical tips to TA teams (e.g., how to write better impact job description copy)
  • Aids recruiters with tech usage (e.g., syncing their platform with critical recruiting tools, setting up candidate nurture campaigns, drilling down into talent analytics to unearth new insights)

An in-house recruiting operations manager with a technical and analytical background can help with the first four tasks listed here. (Notably, they can provide ongoing, in-depth insights on individual recruiters’ and the entire talent team’s performance.)

To ensure your whole TA team can take full advantage of your central recruitment solution and connected tools, though, you need a savvy and experienced CX&S staff who work for said vendor and can teach you how to leverage their solution’s (hopefully advanced) ATS features and candidate relationship management (CRM) capabilities.

If your ATS provider doesn’t offer hands-on support, it’s time to turn to a new talent acquisition suite — and partner — that can help you elevate your recruiting output and ROI.

what is a talent acquisition partner

4 traits of a strong talent acquisition partner

Here are four traits the CX&S team at your TA tech vendor of choice must have to be a highly effective talent acquisition partner for your recruiting staff and business at large.

1) Subject matter experts

Your ATS provider’s support reps should obviously know their platform inside and out and be able to relay best practices around using said solution to customers (see: teams like yours).

However, they should also know what the best talent acquisition strategies entail today.

More to the point, they should know how to help companies of all kinds build scalable, predictable TA programs that help them attract active candidates, engage passive prospects, and move those individuals through their funnel with relative ease.

2) Years of experience

A Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources may seem like a prerequisite for the CX&S pros who work at your applicant tracking system provider. (It certainly couldn’t hurt, given their roles.)

But it’s not a necessity. You simply need a support staff that has a wealth of experience working with talent acquisition teams of varying sizes/structures and with varying goals. Why?

Because this ensures the CX&S team can provide a blueprint for success based on their previous work with other top talent teams (i.e., helping them bolster their pipelines, drive down time to fill/hire, and fill open positions more quickly and efficiently).

That doesn’t mean they’ll ‘copy-paste’ their suggestions from their work with other customers.

Rather, it means they’ll take your respective business objectives and recruiting and hiring goals into account to tailor their advice to your TA team on how to effectively leverage their platform to boost their sourcing, nurturing, interviewing, and rediscovery efforts.

talent acquisition partner

3) Knowledge of goals

Speaking of goals, even the best CX&S reps can’t be the talent acquisition partner you need to succeed if you don’t provide a complete picture of what your TA team aims to achieve in terms of pipeline and headcount growth in the weeks and months ahead.

Once you share details regarding your hiring goals and the makeup of your team (small vs. large, new vs. experienced recruiting function, talent ops person in place vs. no in-house operational assistance), though, your ATS provider’s support staff can implement an action plan to help you gradually move from one talent maturity level to the next with the help of their solution.

Consider Lever’s own CX&S team. During and after implementation of our complete ATS + CRM solution, we ask customers what’s important to their company:

  • Do they want to build a diverse workforce and achieve DEI-centric objectives?
  • Are they looking to implement a high-volume hiring approach to fill many roles?
  • Is it vital for them to improve and better track their hiring speed and efficiency?

Posing questions like these to talent directors and other leaders at our customers ensures we can provide prescriptive advice that ensures they leverage our platform accordingly to achieve their unique goals and contribute to organizational growth as needed.

4) True business partner

In the grand scheme of things, your recruiting tech provider should not just be a strong TA partner, but also a dedicated business partner — one that’s invested in helping your recruiters streamline day-to-day operations and organization realize its growth goals.

“In the over three years I have been at Lever, we have always looked at talent acquisition as a team sport,” said Lever Sr. Customer Success Manager Stephanie Heisz.

“Choosing the right TA tech vendor is critical to being able to attract and hire top talent. Our CS team is equipped with both product and industry knowledge so that we can be a true partner and identify customers’ distinct needs so they can grow and scale.”

what is talent acquisition guide

Finding the right talent acquisition partner

Your RPO firm can aid your recruitment marketing (e.g., advertising active and upcoming roles on social media, conducting outreach via online career communities and their networks).

Your recruiting ops manager can provide daily assistance to recruiters regarding systems and process updates and democratize talent analytics across the TA team and org at large.

Your HR team can assist with employer-branding initiatives and help you discern the quality of hire of the candidates your team previously interviewed and who were ultimately hired.

But to fully understand your talent pool, engage the right individuals to fill open reqs, and leverage insights imparted by the ops team, you need a TA tech provider that has powerful ATS capabilities, robust CRM functionality, and — just as importantly — a knowledgeable CX&S staff who can be a true talent acquisition partner for years to come.

Take our Talent Maturity Assessment to discover the state of your org’s hiring process and recruiting efforts — and how the right talent acquisition partner can bolster your strategy.

talent maturity assessment

Further reading