The Talent Fix by @TimSackett

I decided to take advantage of a relaxing camping weekend and catch up on my reading. At #SHRM18, I purchased Tim Sackett’s book “The Talent Fix.” With low unemployment, it is a good time to relook at processes and start looking at better ways to attract and retain good employees. And of course, that process starts with getting people interested in what you do. Tim’s book is focused toward the recruiter or the talent acquisition specialist, but I knew there would be some take aways for the hiring manager and HRBP within a department working with the recruiter in an HR office.

Recruiting isn’t that hard. It’s never been easier to find talent. The difficult part is trying to stand apart from the rest of the noise and having a plan. In the recruitment, how often do we react to the opening, rather than come at it with a plan? Do we even know what we need? Tim talks about our typical recruitment plan which is “post and pray.” We post to a variety of websites or newspapers (yes, yes, we do still post jobs to newspapers and people still look there for jobs). We need to be more intentional about searching for the talent we want to work for us. The job market is different and we cannot continue to do things the way we’ve always done them and expect to get different results. We can blame our current recruiting troubles on all sorts of things, but ultimately, we need to make ourselves standout from the crowd and do the work it takes to find that good talent.

Tim gives a few options for finding talent, but the main idea I took away, the cheap idea, the easily implementable idea is good old fashioned communication. And not the ATS standard email communication (though if you aren’t already doing that, you need to at a minimum start with this!). Phone calls, personalized emails, text messages, LinkedIn connections (be careful with connecting on social media with candidates) are all “real” connections you can make with candidates. Are you doing this with the candidates who apply for your positions? Each one? Even the ones not qualified? Look, I get we’re all busy, but at a minimum, you, heck, WE should be reaching out to all the candidates with a personalized call or email.

Tim talks about college recruiting. And how a high school student makes his or her decision to select a college is all about that feeling of being wanted. Same on the other side. A student or coach may “settle” for the imperfect candidate because that imperfect athlete or program actually acted like they wanted them. Why don’t we do this more as a recruiter? Why don’t we make each and every candidate feel wanted? And again, this comes down to communication. A personalized email will be remembered long before your form email. A phone call, even with bad news, will be remembered long after the emails have been deleted.

The other big takeaway from the book is that we need to stop doing what is keeping us busy and do what’s important. That’s why the personalized communication is to hard for us to implement — we’re too busy. We are letting the processes run us rather than we running the process. And sometimes we have to. Our employees need to be paid (my low bar goal with each new hire) and there are processes that need to be followed so the employee is paid properly and on time. There’s the new hire paperwork to ensure the employee has everything they need on day one and beyond. There’s the paperwork that needs to be done to request a position be filled and the off-boarding of the employee that’s leaving and requiring us to fill this position. But what if we slowed down and took a few minutes/hours to determine what needs to be done today and what can wait. Think of the time that will be saved down the road!

There are a lot of great ideas in Tim’s book, so many that it can feel overwhelming and we can jump right into our regular habit of looking for excuses to not make changes. If we can’t do it all, we should just give up and do what we’ve always done, right? Wrong! Go through the book and find a few easy things to implement to start, one small success can lead to another small success which leads to another and so on and so on. Just like I do with conferences, I went into the book looking for one take away and came away with 2. Success!

Great talent acquisition is not about big changes. It’s about continuously improving little by little over time. In real life, though who fail over and over don’t end up succeeding; they end up giving up. It’s the person who can build on small, daily successes that finds major success. Tim Sackett


I had the pleasure to meet Tim at #SHRM18, if only for a short time. Hopefully next time, I’ll actually be able to sit in on his session! Hope to see you soon Tim.


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