Rhona Barnett-Pierce


7 Steps to Position Your Recruitment Team as Strategic Talent Partners

Understand how to collect, analyze, and share data effectively, establishing your team as key contributors to organizational goals.

Most recruiting teams struggle with being seen as Strategic Talent Partners.

When I talk to business leaders, I hear a lot of reasons why they don’t see their Talent Acquisition teams as strategic partners. They see this team as:

  • An administrative or transactional function: The perception is that their main focus is filling positions.
  • Reactive rather than proactive: Their processes are rigid and unable to adapt to changing market conditions.
  • Operating in a vacuum: There’s misalignment with the company’s strategic efforts, and hiring doesn’t meet the organization’s evolving needs.
  • Not Data-informed: They are unable to provide empirical evidence of their impact on business outcomes.
  • Ineffective Communicators: There’s insufficient communication and a lack of understanding of hiring needs.


Unfortunately, Talent Acquisition Leaders are to blame for this. They’re either not sharing data or sharing the wrong data.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Most, if not all, the data needed to establish a Talent Acquisition Team as a strategic partner to the business is usually already available to leaders.

So today, I’m showing you how to collect, analyze, and present data in a way that sets your team up for success.


A Specific Example:

Let’s say you want to establish a link between a newly formed sales team and an increase in revenue.

Here’s how to do it, step by step:


Step 1: Establish a Baseline

Gather revenue data for the period before the new sales team was formed. This will serve as the baseline to measure the impact of the new team.

Here are a few places where you can find accurate figures:

  • Company Financial Reports
  • Sales Records
  • Sales CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Tool

You might need to partner with Finance or Sales to get this data. Many companies are very transparent about this information.


Step 2: Define Relevant Metrics

Choose specific metrics to assess the sales team’s performance. Common metrics include:

  • Total Revenue
  • Number of new clients
  • Average deal size
  • Sales Cycle length

If your sales team members focus on specific areas like product lines, geographical areas, or customer segments, consider segmenting the data to reflect this.


Step 3: Collect Data Post-Team Formation

Collect the same data set as in step 1, but for the period after the sales team has been operational.

Make sure you have a comparable time frame (e.g., if the pre-data is for 6 months, then post-data should also be 6 months).


Step 4: Adjust for External Factors

Consider any external factors that could have impacted sales, such as market changes, economic conditions, or competitive actions. This helps you confidently attribute the revenue increase to the sales team’s efforts.


Step 5: Calculate the Impact

Analyze the differences in revenue between the two periods. Compare the sales team’s performance metrics (number of deals closed, new accounts opened, etc.) against the baseline period.


Step 6: Tie it all back to the TA Data

Establish a clear link between the quality and effectiveness of the hiring process and the subsequent performance of the sales team.

These are some of the Talent Acquisition metrics that can be used to draw this correlation:

  • Time-to-fill: A shorter time-to-fill, without compromising on quality, will allow the sales team to become operational quicker.
  • Candidate Source Effectiveness: If a significant portion of top-performing salespeople were hired through a particular recruiting channel, it underscores the effectiveness of that channel and the Talent Acquisition team’s sourcing strategy.
  • New Hire Turnover Rate: A lower turnover rate in the sales team indicates that the recruitment process is effectively identifying qualified candidates who are a good fit with the team.
  • Interview-to-Offer Ratio: The lower the number of candidates interviewed before making an offer indicates that the Talent Acquisition team is successful in pre-screening and presenting highly suitable candidates. It shows that the team understands the hiring manager’s and the business’s needs.


Other metrics like cost-per-hire, applicant quality, hiring manager satisfaction, and quality of hire can also aid in telling the story of how revenue success ties back to recruiting strategy.


Step 7: Prepare and Present a Comprehensive Report

Compile your findings into a comprehensive report. Highlight the key achievements of the sales team, their direct correlation with the increase in revenue, and tie it all back to your Talent Acquisition Metrics.

Use visualization tools to present this data in an easily digestible format, highlighting the direct impact of your talent acquisition strategy on sales performance.

Present your findings to the company’s leadership and to hiring managers. Illustrate how the strategic decisions made by the TA team and the subsequent performance of the Sales team positively impacted the company’s bottom line.


Correlation Doesn’t Always Imply Causation

It’s important to remember that correlation doesn’t always imply causation. But this doesn’t negate the impact of the Talent Acquisition team’s efforts. It actually emphasizes the complexity and multifaceted nature of business outcomes like revenue growth.

I mention this because it’s one of the common things I hear when presenting my findings to leadership. Acknowledging this up front will lend credibility to your analysis. Here are some talking points to share with any leaders who are skeptical of the correlation:

  • Recognition of Multiple Factors: Business outcomes, especially those like revenue growth, are typically influenced by a variety of factors – market conditions, product quality, marketing strategies, and more, in addition to the performance of the sales team. Recognizing this doesn’t diminish the role of talent acquisition; it contextualizes it within a broader business framework.
  • Value of Strategic Hiring: The talent acquisition team is crucial in identifying and hiring the right sales personnel who can drive revenue growth. Their ability to source, assess, and recruit talent that meets the required skills, fits the company culture, and understands the market significantly contributes to the company’s success.
  • Quality Over Quantity: The emphasis shifts to the quality of hires and how well they perform in their roles. If the sales team, hired through strategic talent acquisition efforts, demonstrates high performance and contributes to revenue growth, it underscores the value of talent acquisition in driving business success.
  • Holistic Impact Assessment: Understanding the multi-dimensional nature of business outcomes encourages a more holistic assessment of talent acquisition’s impact. This approach looks at how well talent acquisition aligns hiring with strategic business goals, adapts to market changes, and contributes to building a workforce that drives overall company performance.


Acknowledging the various factors influencing business outcomes doesn’t negate the Talent Acquisition team’s efforts. Instead, it calls for a more nuanced understanding of how these efforts fit into the larger picture of the company’s success. It emphasizes the need for Talent Acquisition to be strategic, data-informed, and aligned with overall business objectives.



Talent Acquisition teams play a crucial role in aligning hiring practices with broader business objectives, but we’re often seen as merely administrative. In order to demonstrate the strategic value of the Talent Acquisition team, it’s important to manage perceptions within the organization. You can do this by utilizing data-driven insights and engaging effectively with stakeholders.

Recognizing the multifaceted nature of business outcomes, such as revenue growth, and understanding that these are influenced by various factors, including the performance of newly hired teams, is crucial. This approach emphasizes the importance of quality hiring and the strategic placement of talent acquisition within the broader business context.

To effectively position talent acquisition as a strategic partner, adopting a holistic approach that combines business acumen with an in-depth understanding of market dynamics and talent management is essential. Talent acquisition teams should not only focus on filling positions but also on how these roles contribute to the company’s long-term objectives. This involves continuously evolving recruitment strategies, embracing data analytics for informed decision-making, and maintaining open and collaborative communication with other departments.

No one has the power to set the business up for success more than a strong, strategically positioned Talent Acquisition team.

DISCLAIMER: Links included on this page might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you!

Become a Strategic Talent Partner

Subscribe To My Weekly Newsletter

Honest insights and actionable advice for leaders looking to hire qualified talent.