How Talent Acquisition Becomes a Boss!

by Tim Sackett | Posted | Talent Acquisition

How Talent Acquisition Becomes a Boss!

In talent acquisition circles there is a classic saying:

"The easiest candidate to recruit is the one you don't have to."

You all didn't know I was like a Zen master, did you!

Talent acquisition shops usually come in two flavors. Those that:

  1. Work like hell.
  2. Find out how to not work like hell.

I espouse number two.

One of the first things a talent acquisition leader should ask themselves is: "When was the last time our recruiters spoke to one of their hiring managers about managing the performance of a weak performer?"

You're probably wondering why you would ever have your recruiting staff do that. They need to be finding candidates, not doing the job of the hiring manager or HR business partner.

But this is at the core of how you get your shop to stop working so hard.

A simple meeting... a simple question can start all the dialogue you need to stop a termination or resignation.

Yet, most talent acquisition shops will never do this. "It's not our job" they say.

But bad management, or lack of management, becomes your job when you have to replace talent.

How talent acquisition adds value to the performance management conversation

Talent acquisition shops want to be strategic, but... they don't want to have the conversations that put them into the strategy mix!

This is unfortunate because talent acquisition brings a ton of insight to a performance management discussion:

  • What is the possibility of us finding a good replacement?
  • How long will we likely go without someone in this role?
  • Do we have another job that is a better fit for this person?
  • How many employees has this manager lost or promoted in the past 12-24 months?

As a recruiter here's the way I like to have this conversation... It takes about 20 minutes, and should be scheduled quarterly or semi-annually, depending on the size of the department you are servicing:

"Mrs. Hiring Manager we need to sit down and discuss your team so that we as an organization can be prepared with the talent you will need now and in the future. Let's start with any risks you currently see on your team. This could be: 
  • Great performers who might leave because they have nowhere to grow in the department, 
  • Weak performers you've been leaning on, or 
  • Any other potential churn you might know of, based on internal or external factors."

Then you shut your mouth and let the manager talk.

When the manager is done talking, ask:

"Ok, now let's talk about areas of opportunity in your group. What could, or should, you be doing for the organization that you can't because you don't have the right talent?"

Again, shut mouth, open ears, take notes.

When the manager is again done talking, say:

"Great! If you could call in a hit on any single person on your team, right now, who would it be and why?"

Only half-joking on this one. Most of our hiring managers struggle with basic performance management and feel like we (HR) are allowing bad employees to hold them hostage. Find out how to get rid of your managers' headaches, fast.

Once you're heard the answer, ask:

"If you could have one person from our organization on your team right now, who isn't currently, who would you take?"

The hiring manager's answer will give you great insight into which employees are your most influential - and also some insight into which employees are most valuable. You need to stay close to these folks!

Then, you create a plan of action, a basic strategic people plan, for this hiring manager. This plan will list things like:

  • The next moves you will be making on the hiring manager's team
  • Proposed timing
  • What you'll deliver
  • What the manager will deliver

You might have to put 2-3 hours per year into something like this.

Most talent acquisition shops won't do this. Yet, this is how you move from working like hell, to working like a boss!

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