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  • Writer's pictureKen Hicks

A Few Words on Talent

Talent will always be a people game. We will definitely automate large portions of the process, but at the end of the day you will be recruiting people. You will be using; marketing, sales, people skills, and more, all to attrack the most difficult target... A person.

In my short time as a talent entrpreneur, starting my own firm, I have quite a different perspective on the space, that I love to work in, but am desperate to change.

Company Leadership is Fucking Up Recruiting

Sorry for the course language, but the truth is that recruiters are mirrors. We will go out and find you what you are looking for. What you end up with is a greater reflection of who you are as a leader, rather than a reflection of your talent teams ability. We watch industry folks trash recruiting on linkedin all day for daring to reach out to them, daring to reach out to them in mass, doing what it takes to move the needle. Well, the truth is, there is some hiring manager behind that recruiter who is going to eventually say things like "Our talent team just isn't getting the job done", after they asked for 15 new team members that have a set of skills, and a set number of years of experience in an impossibly new technology. Oh and they want those teammates to start within the next quarter. Oh and they want those candidates to come from a diverse and inclusive background.

The truth is, that if each talent team member had the opportunity to recruit for a reasonable amount of requisitions in any reasonable amount of time, the whole process would benefit greatly. But that is not what the "War on Talent is all about".

Diversity and Inclusion initiatives are impossible without change in our schools or a change in the minds of leaders, or both.

Awesome, you just got a new req, the role is asking for advanced degrees, and 6+ years of experience... Now that you think of it... this seems very similar to all of the other reqs you have filled in your time in your current role. Your leadership has looked around and realized... everyone kinda looks the same and is from the same background... For some reason they are looking to you to change that, even though they keep asking for the same thing. Let that sink in... they keep asking for the same thing, but want the person who eventually joins the team, to be "different". Sounds like insanity to me, and maybe thats why recruiters do in fact eventually go insane.

On one hand, the talent pool is representative of what the education system gives us. So if those from "other" backgrounds do not have the same chance to continue their education, chances are, they will never end up in your pipeline to hire. There are some great initiatives out there to change that, but it's going to take time, and companies seem to be impatient.

On the other hand, your leadership could invest in people since the rest of the system can't/wont adapt quick enough. It's amazing what some organizations have been able to do when they truly started investing in people. For example Slack has been lauded for it's efforts. A larger organization that has a product that we all use, and is incredibly effective, took action and reaped the benefits of it. Companies want to say the D word and then send some poor soul in front of the company at an all hands meeting to say how hard it is to solve this problem. But the reality is... They don't care enough to change their approach to talent to enable their recruiters.

Tech is and isn't the future of talent

Like I said from the beginning, talent will always be a people game. But that to me doesn't mean that the process can't improve through tech. We have seen companies drastically improve how we reach out to candidates, how we track their progress through our process, and even how we navigate the documentation once we find the right fit for our team. But the gift of gab will always be key to recruiting. From the agency that is still smiling and dialing, to the in house recruiter that is making small talk while their recruiting coordinator tracks down the interviewer who is already 8 minutes late to their time slot, you will have to speak. It will sometimes be the difference in whether or not a prospect joins your team. How they feel when they interact with you can be the difference. No tech can (yet) replicate that ability.

Writing this was cathartic. We don't talk about talent in truths. People don't talk to their co workers when they are thinking about leaving, people don't discuss money, we give power to the companies, when it is our lives and our careers. The worst part about it is, outside of the people at the top of your organization, it's very likely that everyone within a company was a candidate and will be a candidate in the future. With that in mind, we ought to consider how we look at the next set of potential team members through a different lense.

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