One Side Order of Talent Please!

While the conversation in the Talent community has definitely shifted from the notion of “Transactional  Recruiting” to “Strategic Talent Acquisition,” many companies still don’t know what that means or how to shift beyond the title change.

Gone are the days of “Personnel” departments, but how do we behave in a way that makes us true strategic partners? It goes beyond shifting the notion of being strategic and shifting the competencies of our talent teams and subsequently, the perception of our hiring partners.

Several years ago when I was leading a Talent Acquisition Team at Starbucks, the Corporate Leadership Council presented us with a great study on which steps in the recruiting process most impacted Quality of Hire. While recruiters claimed the interviewing step, the study showed that these two steps had the greatest impact:

1.  The strategic discussion at the very beginning of the process when you’re assessing the hiring need, and

2.  The time between offer and start

If you truly want to impact your Quality of Hire, your talent team needs to possess competencies beyond interview skills.

I break it down into three key areas with a foundational golden thread of Communication:


Consider your team today. How would they rank when it comes to these competencies? How will you develop them to get to the level you need to meet your strategic growth goals? Who needs to move over to the ticket counter?

More next on communicating effectively. Until then, enjoy this last beautiful weekend in April. I’ll let you know how the Listen to Your Mother show goes!


All Companies Want Some of that Great Talent “Strategery”!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to design and deliver a two-day workshop on Strategic Talent Acquisition to several global Talent Acquisition experts. We started with the customer in mind and then went straight to the heart of it… what does it mean to be strategic anyway? Particularly when it comes to “Strategic Talent Acquisition.” Sounds fancy, but what does it mean or is it just a made up term to makes us feel better about our work? The trending buzz phrase?

Let’s ponder this… for your last hire, how long did you spend discussing the needs of your new hire? Did you go beyond the job description and discuss core behavioral competencies needed to drive your latest initiative? Discuss the current culture and organizational climate? Discuss what the next career step would be? OR Did you simply hand the job description over and ask to have it posted and filled?

I continue to be amazed at the time spent on things that are a cost to a business versus the time spent on a critical investment such as Human Capital. In fact, I just found a 51-page RFP online for OFFICE FURNITURE… office furniture?!?!

Now more than ever, all companies need to get the very best and highest productivity out of each and every hire. Human Capital is the greatest investment you make in your company, both in direct monetary output and the dependency on your human capital to deliver against your strategic goals and mission.

If that’s the case, why would any leader spend more time and discussion on buying the new desk than hiring the next great employee?

When you think about yourself or your talent acquisition team, which side of the fence do you rest and which is best for your company to achieve your goals?

Take this quick assessment to find out where you land. When it comes to hiring talent we…

Fulfill an order


Collaborate between recruiters and business partners on comprehensive hiring needs

Simply post and pray


Develop a strategic sourcing plan where everyone in our company is responsible for finding great talent

Treat our candidates like numbers


Treat our candidates like customers of our business

Assess whether the candidate meets the minimum qualifications


Assess beyond the requirements andassess for our culture, values, and behavioral competencies

Think only about our need


Think about our needs and what’s in it for the new employee to come work with us

Measure ourselves by how FAST we hire


Measure by the QUALITY of the hire

End the recruitment process with the Offer Letter


End the process with a smooth transition to a thorough on boarding process ensuring early engagement and time to productivity

Did you circle more to the left or to the right?

At the end of the day, the question really is…   Do you to want to just get someone hired OR Do you want to succeed in business?  Join me next week for a discussion on the competencies for a behaving “strategically” as a Talent Acquisition partner.

Oh, and while you’re waiting…

Go ahead and purchase your tickets to Listen to Your Mother here in Austin on Sunday, April 29th, supporting Any Baby Can. I’m an honored member of the cast this year and would love to see you there!

It’s my birthday! (A diversion from thoughts on Leadership)

“Don’t embarrass us mom. She doesn’t need to know that,” the boys chimed in together.

Yeah, well, the waitress probably didn’t need to know it, but doesn’t everybody like to celebrate a birthday? Whether it’s your birthday or someone else’s there is a special feeling, like… I made it another year and I wonder what will come next. What will I get when the candles are blown out?

I am really excited for my next year of life because I’m starting with a concept called, “Every day is my birthday.” Now, that doesn’t mean I shall adorn myself with gifts, eat cake and tell every waitress that it’s my special day (although, that sounds kind of tempting.)

I am on a year-long and maybe even life-long experiment. What if, I wake up EVERYDAY with a level of enthusiasm, happiness and hope as though it really is my birthday where I’ll blow out the candles and make all my dreams a reality? What if I said and believed that nothing before me existed and it all starts right here, right now?

My oldest son started my day with a video of a guy doing “Dream Hands.” You have to watch this. You may have seen him already. Apparently over 5 million already have! I LOVED IT. He is doing my birthday dream dance with such zeal and enthusiasm and no worry in the world of what anybody else is thinking or laughing about him. And, yes, I do enjoy this as a former “Suncatcher”, our Jazz Choir at Capshaw Junior High. Hilarious.

I am now thinking about each day as an opportunity to start anew with my own dreams… whether it be an old friendship, a new job, an innovative idea, a new belief… how will that belief and desire impact my approach to the day?

I’m keeping a journal. Who knows, maybe you’ll see the book next year.

In the meantime, wherever you are… enjoy some cake and celebrate your own birthday!