The “Talent” Truth – The Question I’ll Be Asking

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Professional Relationships in Personal Settings

My former OB/GYN’s little girl used to be in the same Brownie troop as my daughter.  As a matter of fact, our kids went to the same elementary school.  I would see him at various school events and often lunched with his wife, whom I worked with in the PTA.  He was a great guy.  They were a great couple.  They were a great family.

Interestingly enough though, never once during the course of the years we covered the same IRL social circles did I ever seek him out for professional advice outside of his office and never once did he offer me his professional advice outside of his office.  I understand, yes, given the private nature of our “professional” relationship; it is understandable why I wouldn’t causally or randomly call him or stop him at the school’s ice cream party to say, “Hey, I have been having an issue…”

I coached my daughter’s softball team with a guy from whom I bought my homeowner’s insurance. I made an appointment to talk to him about coverages, I didn’t yell across the ball field.  I had another friend who did the books for a couple of KFC franchises, I never once asked her do my books or to reveal any financial secrets of the local KFCs.  I find it very interesting that I am opposed to asking personally professional advice in most incidences, just as most professionals would be personally adverse in offering me unsolicited suggestions.

Enter the Human Connection

Here is my interesting twist, I like to offer advice, whether solicited or not, to friends and colleagues on how to manage their career or search for a job.  Just as anyone who knows me and, sometimes don’t know me – they just know of my involvement in the recruiting industry, there is a certain assumed-freedom to ask me at any time, any place, to find them a job or help them find a job or give them advice on how to search for a job or simply point them in the right direction.

Why is this?  I could be cheesy and say it is because I am a people-person or because the recruitment industry is naturally people-friendly. But I think it can be attributed to how active I am in social media and also points to the risks I have personally taken to share my own experiences – good and bad.  It also speaks to the recruiting and HR professions as a whole, not just me personally.  I like to give the advice that I can or provide direction or make a connection, if possible and I think many of colleagues feel the same.  It just isn’t always easy to do nor do I have enough time in my day to help everyone.  It’s one of the reasons I write so often – maybe my writing will answer a question.

Here’s what I know

good recruiter is a great consultant.  Always.  A good recruiter is a wealth of knowledge.  A good recruiter will care for clients and/or hiring managers, as well as candidates.  A good recruiter will share honest feedback, as well as know when to back off and take guidance.  Truly, it comes down to communication and the ability to authentically connect and converse.  And, a good recruiter has to like people; there are those who don’t believe this, but I will always hold it to be true.  Good recruiting is a relational process, not transactional.

How Does This Relate to Human Resources?

We have seen numerous HR Professionals, Hiring Managers, and Recruiters change their focus to include phrases like talent management, talent recognition, or talent acquisition.  There has been a not-so dramatic but obvious shift to identify “talent” in all things HR and Recruiting.  Is it just a paper rose or is there authenticity behind this shift?  It falls upon the individuals, departments, and/or organizations making the shift to supply truth or vagueness to that answer.  With this shift to “all things talent” – will there be increased momentum for HR process automation or will the real-life experience play a greater role?  These are the questions of the day, to be sure.

I’ll be hanging out at SHRM Annual Conference and Expo 2013 next week – the largest HR organization in the world with over 267,000 members in 140 countries.  I will be tracking the bolded question above and the multiple responses I expect throughout the week.


Words to Work By…


by Rayanne Thorn



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