Talent Warriors: What It Really Takes to Be A Top Recruiter

Twar logoRecruiting is, professionally speaking, something of an anomaly. Most recruiters are career existentialists, somehow falling into a profession that has low barriers of entry, little or no formal training or dedicated certification and a lack of consensus between practitioners on what it is recruiters actually do in the first place. In recent years, the rise of technologies like SaaS, social and mobile, along with increased competition for a diminishing supply of truly top talent has gone along way to codifying and creating cohesion in the industry.

There’s still quite a ways to go in terms of professional progress to move recruiting for tactical cost center into strategic business partner – and a lot of opportunity for individual recruiters to advance their careers, companies and the entire recruitment profession.

But with most recruiters overworked and underappreciated, few have the bandwidth to look beyond their open reqs and at the bigger talent acquisition picture – and these recruiters on the front lines of the talent trenches do more to influence recruiting than any “influencer” whose work doesn’t actually include making hires.

While the industry repeatedly recognizes excellence for those pundits and thought leaders whose main contributions to the community happen almost exclusively online, generating list after list of who to follow and who has the most relative influence on social media, there’s a dearth of initiatives to recognize the real recruiters who really fill jobs and are too busy recruiting to tweet or blog about it.

That’s what’s so cool about the Glassdoor Talent Warrior Program. Now in its second year, the Talent Warrior Awards “recognize industry leaders for their innovation when it comes to winning the war for talent,” honoring “the leaders on the front lines of this battle.”

To learn more about the Glassdoor Talent Warrior Awards, I spoke to last year’s winner, Will Staney, whose award came with an added bonus: the opportunity to lead the talent acquisition team at Glassdoor as their resident Head Talent Warrior.

Here’s what you need to know about this unique initiative – and why you should take a minute to nominate yourself, a co-worker or professional colleague before this year’s nominations close on August 1 (click here to start the nomination process now).

874083faf1f3c4231495767137203d9a_400x400Recruiting Daily: What is the Glassdoor Talent Warrior Program? Tell us a little bit about why Glassdoor created these awards and why they’re important for recruiting & talent acquisition professionals.

Will Staney – Global Head of Recruiting, Glassdoor: The Glassdoor Talent Warrior Awards recognize HR industry leaders for their innovation when it comes to winning the war for talent. Glassdoor created this awards program to sing the praises of the unsung: those who are truly creative and on the cutting edge of talent acquisition.

Why should recruiting practitioners and leaders consider nominating someone for this year’s awards? What are the benefits or recognition involved in winning?

Being recognized as a Talent Warrior is a true honor—it tells companies, job seekers and fellow HR professionals that you are a unique recruiter who is not afraid to operate on the cutting edge of talent acquisition. Plus, the trophy is a pretty sweet personalized bobble head. Seriously. How cool is that?

 

Will, you won the award last year. What did that process look like for you?  What exactly did the selection process entail and what were your biggest takeaways? Any lessons learned or advice for this year’s potential Talent Warriors?

The process was a breeze—I simply filled out the submission form which asked questions about what made me unique in my recruitment practice and I explained what I do that I felt set me apart. Colleagues of mine had also nominated me, including my boss at the time, which in itself was very validating for the hard work I had put in. Even if I hadn’t won, knowing my co-workers and boss thought I was worthy of the award was rewarding enough.

What, exactly, does it take to be a “Talent Warrior?” What skills or characteristics do you think are required to truly own that title? What can recruiters do to better equip themselves to be “Warriors?”

A Talent Warrior is a recruiter or talent acquisition leader with a marketing mindset, the tinkerer of new technology or the recruiting professional that isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. This award is designed to recognize folks who are finding creative, outside-of-the-box ways of hiring top talent.

Will, you not only received the 2013 Glassdoor Talent Warrior Award, but you also recently joined Glassdoor as a full time Talent Warrior heading up its recruiting function. What made you want to join Glassdoor? Tell us a little about your role and why you’re excited to recruit for Glassdoor.

I joined Glassdoor because I saw an opportunity to work at a company on the forefront of disrupting the HR and recruiting industry and with a very cool mission: help people everywhere find the jobs and companies they love. I truly believe that’s what we’re doing and as a long time Glassdoor customer, I know the company has awesome products for employers that truly help them recruit top talent.

I like to think of myself as one who thinks outside the box when it comes to recruiting, and Glassdoor encourages me to do that. I’ve spent my career taking legacy recruiting machines and successfully modernizing them for today’s candidates; so when Glassdoor offered me the opportunity to build a modern recruiting team and strategy from the ground up, I was thrilled. I have a sweet tooth for innovative recruiting and right now I’m one very excited kid in a pretty freaking amazing candy store.

What tools or technologies (besides Glassdoor, of course) do you personally recommend other recruiters or TA professionals checking out? What weapons should a warrior have, in other words?

A Talent Warrior is someone who understands that recruiting is more complicated than ever before. It now involves a multi-channel approach including online marketing, employer branding, social media and embracing new technologies. The tools in that belt are those that leverage dynamic content and encourage authenticity.

True Talent Warriors don’t just have the latest tools; they also know when to throw out the old ones. If you’re serious about being on the cutting edge of talent acquisition it’s time to stop investing in old school traditional tactics like job boards that simply post open positions and pray for lots of clicks. Be more elegant and strategic than that. Figure out where your talent is looking for you, and share more information via those channels. Talent Warriors have a targeted, more precision-focused approach to recruiting and of course, if you’re not using Glassdoor as a recruitment strategy, you’re missing out on high quality, low-cost and engaged talent.

How did you learn how to recruit and develop the skills and experience required to become a 2013 Talent Warrior? What are your biggest lessons learned or best advice you can impart to recruiters just starting out? 

I came into the recruiting industry with a background in sales/marketing and a passion for applying technology and new media to an industry ripe for innovation.  I learned this trade by doing. I didn’t major in recruiting or HR and I certainly didn’t know what I was doing when I first started. But I took risks and I tried new things, I made mistakes and most importantly, I wasn’t afraid to do things we hadn’t done before.

What are some of the trends you see most impacting front line recruiters and employers today? Which buzzwords or topics do you think we should stop talking about, and which do you wish we’d spend more time focusing on?

Everyone has a buzzword they can’t stand. Mine is “social recruiting” because I think it’s conceptually flawed. Recruiting is inherently social and always has been. I believe social media hasn’t replaced traditional recruiting methods…it has enhanced them. We still call people on the phone, we have conversations, we find out who people are. Those are all very social practices and while we have new communication tools and technologies that make this more efficient, I feel like that term makes it sounds as if we’re doing something completely new.

The fact is we are returning back to what recruiting used to be before the post and pray traditional job board era of our industry that made it so transactional. So, when I hear the term “social recruiting,” meaning in many cases that recruiters should do more online, I laugh a little. Obviously this is the direction that not only recruiting, but every element of business has gone in, and if you’re not “getting social” online, you are tremendously behind. Social is a way of life and business for many, and it’s only natural businesses should operate with this mindset.

In that same vein, I think there is a major shift happening in recruiting right now, because everyone has already “gotten social.” Because social media allows people to have more access to more information than ever before, recruiting is no longer just about hunting down great candidates, it’s about branding yourself, becoming a recruitment marketer and making sure that your company is a place that job seekers and prospective candidates want to work.

Companies I see doing this right are embracing workplace transparency and actually encouraging employees to share authentic feedback online. Like those participating in our new program called OpenCompany. A few folks doing this right include Deloitte, Nestlé Purina PetCare and United Airlines.

Who is your recruiting role model and why?

I’ve been lucky to work for some pretty amazing folks in the recruiting industry who had the foresight to see that I had a passion for the business and let me try new things. That’s the kind of recruiting leader I strive to be…one who gives the foundation of the core principles of recruiting then lets creative and passionate people try new things.

From my first manager at VMware early in my career, Kevan Blanco, who piqued my passion for sourcing and challenged me to find new ways to do it. To my most recent boss, Mike Leary, who heads up global recruiting at SAP, who taught me how to be a leader and that all the newest technology and data in the world can’t replace a recruiter who’s good on the phone.

140 Characters or less: What Separates a Good Recruiter from A World Class One?

The best recruiters take risks, fail and learn. If they take that lesson and do something awesome, that’s when they win. #TalentWarriors

Nominations for the 2014 Glassdoor Talent Warrior Awards close on August 1. To find out more information or to submit a nomination, click here.



  • Tim Sackett

    Will,

    I would have loved it. Loved it! If at this question: “What tools or technologies (besides Glassdoor, of course) do you personally recommend other recruiters or TA professionals checking out?” You would have given a real answer! We all know you’re going to say Glassdoor, you work there. Don’t you think a Talent Warrior would have given something else as well? You can still love Glassdoor, and still love another product and service that is great, there are so many right now.

    Otherwise – good stuff! Hope to meet up IRL soon.

    T.

    • Tim Sackett

      Oh, and Carney – you totally failed at letting him off on that answer! ;)

      Out.

      T.

      • Matt Charney

        I totally failed at pointing out you misspelled my last name, Sackit.

    • Will Staney

      Tim, I’m pretty sure I started out my answer with ” It now involves a multi-channel approach including online marketing, employer branding, social media and embracing new technologies.” Meaning no one tool is a magic bullet. Was I specific on every tool I use in this quick Q&A piece? No. Did I just give a huge SHRM presentation that in depth covered the wide range of tools, including ones seen as competitors? Yes…yes I did. I think its pretty well known that I keep to a pretty fair and balanced approach in this respect.

      • Tim Sackett

        Yeah – I don’t watch SHRM presentations… ;)


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