• Matt Raskin

02 | Talent Foundations : Recruiting - Planning, Prep & Talent Attraction

Updated: Sep 13



Previous Post: Talent Foundations: Art & Science


It's now time to shift our focus towards identifying, attracting, qualifying, and selecting uniquely talented humans. This experience is where all our considerations, perspectives, and ideas are put to the test.


Talent selection is one of the most challenging, critical, and defining decisions we make as leaders. The culture and performance of our organizations depend on our talent choices.

The goal of this section is to help us slow down so we can increase clarity, focus, and alignment surrounding our recruiting practices and workflows. When we understand what we are looking for and why that matters, we are more likely to select the right perspectives, abilities & talent to grow our organization.


Planning & Prep

01 | Technical & Intentional

Here we focus on known approaches for creating a more fair & equal experience. How we build equity into the recruiting experience is determined by the decisions we make, the barriers we eliminate or sustain, and what we value as an organization.

02 | Question Everything, Identify Barriers & Expand Opportunities

The approaches we take focus on clarity to increase alignment and accountability. The more requirements we establish for candidates, the more narrow our talent pool becomes.

It's important to consider that we may exclude talent or communities when we increase barriers to employment. We need to question all the established barriers (experiences, skills, degrees, etc.) that we "require" and to make sure they are necessary and not just habitually (or systemically) set.

For example - we want our doctors to have medical degrees; we may not care if our salesperson has a degree. Instead, we should identify if they listen, are responsive, and offer a real solution to customer problems. Recruiting and selecting for these types of behaviors instead of requiring degrees tends to expand our potential talent pool.

To change the dynamics of our talent pool, we can consider if we should buy, borrow, or build our talent. To learn more about how this process works, see our post on Talent: Buy, Borrow or Build



03 | Bias Is Real

Bias is real, and before we can interview we must be in-tune with our unconscious and conscious biases. There are lots of resources, coaches, and organizations committed to helping us better understand and evolve beyond our own biases. We will walk through technical solutions through increasing clarity in our recruiting workflow, but mitigating our biases is up to us.


Activity Time: Harvard: Project Implicit

https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html



04 | Confirm What We Value, What We Have & What We Need

Slowing down to go fast allows us a few moments to reflect on what we need (and will need) as an organization beyond skills and experience. Here are a few additional perspectives to reflect on, before actively selecting talent.

  • Will this person make us more well-rounded, or just copy and paste more of the same?

  • How does this person’s approach help us get to better discussions and decisions?

  • How can [or does] this person add to the total value (composition) of our team?

  • What skills and experiences am I missing on my team that this person has?

  • What has this person learned from their experiences?

  • How does this candidate already live our values?

How we approach and discuss these four topics will show up in the decisions we make when creating our candidate attraction and recruiting workflows.


Next we'll break down the core elements of the recruiting process to help each of us explore, define, and create systems to attract grow amazing talent!


Talent Attraction

As we move into the technical elements of recruiting, we'll focus first on attracting talent to our organization. There are several foundations we need to establish for our organization:


  • Job/Position Description

  • Behaviors Matter

  • Talent Branding vs Company Branding

  • Pipeline Development & Management

  • Posting Jobs

  • Candidate Sourcing: Passive or Active


Job/Position Description

If we don't develop an intentional and specific position/job description, the likelihood of finding and selecting the right talent decreases significantly.

A majority of recruiting processes start by Googling the position title we think we need, making a few minor "cultural" tweaks, and posting the job.


When we borrow another organization's job/position description, we are assuming their role expectations and behaviors are the same as what our organization needs. We generally find that most job/position descriptions are generic, ripe with buzz words, and poor reflections of the actual work performed within the job.


To build an effective position description, we must start by confirming role clarity.

Check out our post on Clarity: Goals, Roles & Behaviors to work through some proven tactics for enhancing role clarity & expectations. Once role clarity has been established, we can transition this into a working position or job description.


Always consult an HR team or practitioners when building a position/job description. Depending on our company and location, there can be a lot of required considerations (FLSA job classification, Affirmative Action Plan, Equal Employment Opportunity, etc.) we need to be mindful of.


An HR practitioner will be able to help walk through the final steps in converting this clarity into a great position/job description. Once we have a thoughtful position/job description, we have a map for success.


For some additional assistance, check out How To Develop a Job Description (SHRM)


A great position/job description helps us build an intentional recruiting process that focuses on the work, behaviors, and experiences needed to excel in the role. Ignoring this foundational work is one of the most dangerous shortcuts leaders make. In our roles as leaders, we must do this work and do it right!


Behaviors Matter

Building a great position/job description is the first opportunity to help us begin to think about key behaviors when it comes to identifying and selecting talent.


Behaviors are everything in our organizations - there is nothing that can impact, destroy, or grow the culture and performance of our organizations like our behaviors.


At the core, culture & performance are byproducts of our behaviors.

We know that identifying key behaviors within a recruiting process increases the likelihood we will find the right people & behaviors to further our organizations.


Talent Branding vs Company Branding

Most organizations have a firm grasp on company branding - i.e. how we identify and communicate the value (products, services, support, etc.) we provide to current or prospective customers.


When it comes to talent branding, many organizations are just waking up to the idea and importance of this concept. Talent branding focuses on connecting and sharing the opportunities and experiences that are an authentic part of working for your organization.

Each organization provides its own unique experiences and opportunities, and talent branding helps us to share an authentic story with prospective employees.


Idealized, misrepresentations of the experiences we provide and the company we pretend to be can attract the wrong talent and negatively impact retention. We must get an authentic grip on the opportunities and experiences we provide, and then share them with individuals who resonate with what we can actually deliver.


When we understand the opportunities and experiences we provide, it helps us identify and communicate the types of behaviors and talents that thrive within our company.



Pipeline Development & Management

By increasing the clarity of our position description, authentic experiences, and opportunities, we have built a solid foundation for recruiting. Now it is time to attract talent to the open position.

Posting Jobs

When posting jobs, we want to include as many qualified candidates as we can. We should first think about where all of the candidates we don’t know might exist and how we can share our opportunity with them.


We often jump right to who we know; we would encourage everyone to think about who we don’t know and how could increase the perspectives or experiences within our organization.


Start with tools that work coast-to-coast, then focus on industry groups, community organizations, and finally our personal networks that can help expand our candidate pipeline.



Candidate Sourcing: Passive or Active

Posting jobs is what we consider a passive tactic. We post the job and wait for candidates to apply to the opportunity. Depending on the market conditions, this tactic might be all we need, but there is a possibility that we need to actively source and entice candidates to our opportunity.


We leverage LinkedIn Recruiter Lite as an effective tool for active sourcing, organizing, and managing communications with prospective candidates.

Other tools/websites will also work, but we’ve found a lot of sourcing success with LinkedIn. When sourcing talent, we must continually go back to our job/position description to ensure we are searching for the right talent, experiences, and abilities.




Next Steps: Qualification, Flow & Talent Selection

Taking the time to clarify the job description and focusing our talent pipeline will make selecting talent an easier process.


In our next post, we will help work through how to best qualify, manage, and select talent that is best for the role & organization.


NEXT - 03 | Talent Foundation: Recruiting - Qualification, Flow & Talent Selection




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