As someone who worked in Talent Acquisition for most of her career, I was the person responsible for ensuring the continued progression of thousands of people’s careers. I made offers that meant people could feed their families and others that catapulted people to the executive suite, I negotiated great packages and sometimes had to sell the not-so-attractive offers. I was an agent of opportunity always on the hunt for the best person that met the company’s needs. With all of this workforce good I was doing, it occurred to me that many of my colleagues and I were often closing better career deals for the people we served than for ourselves.
If you have worked in Talent Acquisition you know it is not an easy job. As a function we are responsible for making sure that every department is adequately staffed. From the Janitor to the CFO, we are charged with keeping the halls filled with talent with little to no disruption to the business. In my experience, I have had varying requisition loads. I have handled as little as 6 reqs at anytime and upwards of 175 when I worked for someone who was blatantly trying to drown me- but I digress. My point is this job isn’t for the faint of heart and yet there is often a lack of interest and focus in creating a career path for the very same professionals who dedicate themselves to doing it for others.
If you’re a TA Specialist or Internal Recruiter in a company, where do you go next? The path isn’t always clear or it doesn’t exist. In some organizations, TA Specialists move to TA Leads or Senior TA Specialists and eventually to TA Manager if they shake the right hands- but where else can their skills be utilized? It has been the great paradox of my existence in TA to realize my opportunities were non-existent while remaining excited about the opportunities and salary increases I was able to offer others.
Alas, I have met someone who understands the need to develop her Talent Acquisition team. Last week while attending the Take The Interview Talent Acquisition Summit/#truNewYork, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a track led by Ali Wong of NBC Universal. She heads up the Talent Acquisition function there and is changing the game for the Talent Acquisition professionals on her team. During her track, she spoke about how she is helping her team get out of the rut of just filling requisitions and on to thinking about how they personally want to impact the business. She’s not telling her team, “sorry, there is no career path” or “we’d love to see you in leadership, but…”. She is insisting that ever recruiter, sourcer, and coordinator have a clear understanding of how they impact the business; while allowing them to constantly learn, develop and be exposed to the people that can advocate for their career progression.
At NBC Universal, Recruiters are responsible for the mentorship and career progression of the sourcers and coordinators who support them. I have always been perplexed by organizations that went as far to create these talent acquisition teams composed of a recruiter, sourcer and coordinator only to remove the recruiter from having any input into the development and performance management for the roles that support them daily. Frankly, it’s a missed opportunity for the sourcers and coordinators to be mentored by someone in the role they will eventually have and it robs the recruiter of key leadership experience that will be needed as they progress up the ranks.
Back to Ali, she holds her team accountable for results and business impact. None of the ridiculous rumination about time-to-fill and other baseline headaches. She has a clear standard and that is to produce what the internal customers need and she will develop you so you can move on to do the things you want to do in the company, Conversely, if you cannot work up to her standard or find that the job is not what you wanted-she encourages you to move to another area of the company where your talents would be better served.
Changing the game…
If you can’t tell, I am more than impressed with the way she leads her team. Her leadership is not one to admire superficially, but it is backed by results. Her team consistently meets and exceeds their targets. They are “game changers” as she calls them.
Anyone can hire recruiters or a TA team and deploy them to frantically fill all of the positions in a company. However, it takes time, thought and effort to build and deploy a team that love what they do, produce and make an impact. Oh and by the way, she doesn’t care where the work gets done as long as it gets done- a nod and a wink for telework. TA Specialists, Recruiters, Sourcers, Coordinators, TA Assistants need career love too. If you are going to hold them responsible for bringing in the talent you are going to have to invest in them as well. Moreover, ensure that they are lead by someone who understands the value and importance of their work- who also relentlessly pushes them to find their passion. That passion will not only make them happier in their work, but it will come through when prospective candidates meet with these people to size up your company.
I was also reminded by colleagues at the summit that the recruitment and/or talent acquisition function will cease to exist in the next 10 years, so while we still have it-let’s show a little career love to the guys and gals in the trenches making it happen one job at a time.