Talent Acquisition – What’s in a Name?

July 11th, 2012

Guest blog spot by Lisa Van Ess, CBI Group team member

Those of us in the recruiting and HR business have used a lot of terminology over the years to describe what can simply be defined as an employee service. Clear communication (even to the point of corporate jargon interpretation), match-making, coaching, and advisory business are all components of this service. The newest descriptive term happens to be Talent Acquisition. Perhaps it is my years in financial services, but this one has the same ring to it as Human Capital.

Both terms seem to monetize people; which, while I have built and sustained a career in the solid belief that people are any organization’s greatest asset, looking at them as purely dollars and cents feels like they are just numbers. Companies, leaders, and recruiters don’t really get and keep talented people through acquisition (unless your organization merges with or takes over another firm), or the occasional bidding war for talent that may feel like a hostile takeover, especially when you lose this compensation-based battle.

Recruiting is really all about identifying, attracting, and retaining the talented individuals that fit the culture and values of your organization and who can take your team to the next level. A really simple process for this is:

  1. Know your client, company, or team’s business and culture; and know the job you are seeking to fill really, REALLY well.
  2. Identify and reach out to networks of talent whose experiences and values are a fit for open opportunities and genuinely tell your client’s or company’s story with detailed information about the job.
  3. Those who respond to your story will be potential ‘fits’ for your opportunities, follow-up and don’t let a talented person slip into that legendary recruiting/HR Black Hole!
  4. Thoroughly screen and get to know your candidates – A very wise recruiter once told me that there are only two questions you need answered in determining if a candidate is a fit for a job: “Can this person do the job? Will this person do the job?” I focus on the ‘Will’. Will they do it? Will they be happy doing it in the long run? Will the team/organization be happy with them? I have learned along the way that someone who ‘Almost Can’ but ‘Definitely Will’ can be taught the necessary skills while a ‘borderline willing person’ may never fit.
  5. Set clear expectations about the job, culture, company, career and compensation advancement – the good , bad, and the ugly. Let people be fully knowledgeable about signing up for something, eliminate surprises!
  6. As a leader, HR, or recruitment practitioner deliver on the expectations you set and invest in your newly acquired, talented employee! Lead, coach, tour-guide and mentor – acclimating to a new job is never easy. Remember why you selected this talented person and support them, you won’t be sorry.

So, whatever we call it next year, the constant practice of finding, attracting, relating as a human and collaborating honestly through the recruiting and on-boarding process, investing in and supporting people will always result in the building and retention of talented teams!

One Response to “Talent Acquisition – What’s in a Name?”

  1. John Says:

    Guest Blogger Lisa VanEss I have a question. I totally agree with you attracting the right individual for the right role is a question about Will. Will they be able to do the job? Will they fit in with the team? Will they fit into the corporate culture? Will they help us accomplish our goals? Once you attract the right individual coach and mentor them for a few a period of time; the next question I would have is how do you retain them? Any words of wisdom you would care to share?

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