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  1. Blog
  2. Career Development

What Does a Talent Manager Do?

“Getting people their dream job—it’s so rewarding”

Businesswoman talking on the phone
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This article is part of InHerSight's What Do You Do? series. This series explores the working lives of women by job title. Readers can get a glimpse of what it's like to work as an account executive, software developer, restaurant manager, and more.

What does a talent manager do?

Talent managers help companies find the best candidates for their open positions. They also often assist job seekers in finding the right match for their qualifications and interests. These professionals are expert networkers and have excellent communication skills, since engaging with people is a regular part of the job.

Many talent managers have human resources backgrounds, but some may come from the communications field or similar areas of study. Like true matchmakers, they help companies find the person that checks off all the boxes, taking into account company culture considerations as well. They may also assist with updating a company’s recruitment process and developing new strategies.

InHerSight talked to two women working in the talent acquisition and management field to give you a better idea of what a talent manager does.

Danielle Shelton

Recruitment consultant for Nonprofit Talent & Development for three years

What does a talent manager do?

Nowadays this position has many different titles! Talent manager, Talent acquisition manager, or recruiter. But in a nutshell, this person needs to help attract, hire, onboard, and offboard employees for a (or their) organization.

What’s your professional background, and why did you pursue talent acquisition?

I actually come from a teaching background. I taught for six wonderful years but had a desire to pursue something else. I then got into sales and operations, and then recruiting kind of fell into my lap.

I was applying to jobs and saw a recruiter position and realized many of the duties were similar to sales. I applied to the job and got it. I was always interested in college recruiting or admissions (I knew some people who were doing this) so that’s how I knew to look for this type of position.

For me, I love helping people, and I like fast-paced jobs. Recruiting is just that. It is technically sales. You are selling your company/the position to the candidate, and you are selling this new candidate to your coworkers and the leadership team. Your product is your candidate.

It took me a bit to get here, but I’m really glad that this is my career now. I also don’t just recruit for anyone. I only recruit for nonprofits or schools, which makes my job even more rewarding. 

How do you help the company?

Employees are the foundation of an organization. I help bring employees to the company, which also shapes the culture of the organization as well.

What does a typical workday look like?

Ha! Crazy. While I love people, they are also a lot of work. Fifty percent of my day is just follow-ups with hiring managers or candidates. It also consists of phone screens, interview facilitation, headhunting on job boards, job posting, writing job descriptions, meeting with hiring managers, background checks, reference checks, offer coordination, and onboarding.

 What are the three most important parts of your job?

  • Consistent follow-ups

  • Writing “attractive” job descriptions

  • Networking

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Hiring managers not following up or candidates not showing up. Both are also not something you can control so it makes it even more frustrating.

What’s the best part of your job?

Getting people their dream job—it’s so rewarding. Not to mention you just filled a position, which means that department is probably a lot more complete now because of you.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone interested in being a talent manager?

You have to love people and you have to be sales-minded.

Lana Martinez

Senior Manager of Talent Services for LinkedIn, with 20+ years of experience

What does a talent manager do?

At its essence, a talent services manager manages various HR Operations Services. Specifically, my team is responsible for requisition, candidate, hiring, and onboarding support. In addition, we perform various audits to ensure LinkedIn’s hiring practices remain legally compliant and fair.

What’s your professional background, and why did you pursue talent acquisition?

I have spent the majority of my career in HR Operations leadership roles at multiple Silicon Valley tech companies. I have worked at small companies like Xilinx in the early 2000s and tech giants like Cisco and Google. While the culture at each company varies, the fundamental goal of HR Operations remains the same: designing a service delivery strategy that contains the right balance of operational excellence, customer service and strategic partnership, ultimately meeting the needs of the company and the employees alike.

How do you help the company?

We provide operational support at scale for various transactional aspects of the hiring process at LinkedIn. When executives at LinkedIn decide to pivot a key business strategy to meet the demands of the marketplace, we are there to help talent acquisition execute on the related hiring strategies. We also protect the company by providing process controls on key compliance requirements. We are key stakeholders in cross-functional projects and partner with internal teams to deliver strategic initiatives.

What does a typical workday look like?

The people manager aspect of my job keeps me invested in the phenomenal talent on my team. 1:1s, performance coaching, career development, and priority-setting are fundamental aspects of my job. As a strategic leader, I lead initiatives that further the organization’s vision and multi-year roadmap. I am a decision-maker on cross-functional steering committees and build key relationships with our internal partners. However, the services we provide to LinkedIn are the primary focus. It is my job to ensure my team is trained, resourced, and operating smoothly so we can execute our day-to-day tasks efficiently. It’s also my job to ensure the team can rise up to respond to new and unexpected business demands like retrofitting our services to operate in a post-COVID, virtual world.

What are the three most important parts of your job?

  • People management

  • Operational excellence

  • Strategic partnership

What skills are necessary for a talent manager?

A talent services manager must understand every aspect of the services they are responsible for. That starts with understanding the service portfolio and the key factors that drive volume, customer satisfaction, turnaround time, and cost up or down. Additionally, people management, resource allocation, capacity planning, strategic partnership, and strategic planning are required skill areas to possess.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part of this job is the constant tradeoffs we have to make to balance limited resources, budget ,and time. There is never enough of any of those things!

What’s the best part of your job?

Working at LinkedIn! LinkedIn is a top notch company. The culture is supportive, exciting, and challenging. While I do have a great passion for Operational Excellence in the HR Operations space, those skills are transferable, and I can do this job anywhere. Getting to work at such an amazing company among esteemed peers and up-and-coming talent on our team is truly a privilege.

What’s something people might not know about what talent managers do?

A huge part of my job is figuring out how to pull off miracles. The business doesn’t know (and shouldn’t have to know) how major market plays are actually pulled off behind the scenes. That’s why an HR Operations team exists. They figure out ways to get ahead of market trends and remain profitable. We figure out how to deliver talent to make those market transitions happen in real life. What people don’t understand is how difficult that sometimes is. We must deal with systems limitations, compliance requirements, country-specific legal requirements, up and downstream data impacts, resourcing constraints, and time-consuming manual workarounds. The complexity is staggering.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone interested in being a talent manager?

Get good at the basics. Understand why what you do is critical to the company. Analyze the customer value proposition you offer. Define and monitor the factors that drive your team’s performance up or down. Monitor quality and metrics, and invest in relationships. Learn how to diplomatically say no and protect your team from burnout as often as you can. Help your team connect the dots between their day-to-day job and the larger picture. Most importantly, understand what your stakeholders need and set expectations for the things your team can and cannot provide.

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