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Acquiring Talent: An Approach to Consider

The Right Fit

I started in recruiting years ago when I realized the many organizations are limited in their ability to carry out their plans because they simply do not have the talent to execute even the most well thought out strategies. Not having the "right" talent will always prevent a company from reaching its full potential. I characterize it as "right" talent vs. the "best" talent because the distinction is an important one. Companies that understand this fact value experience over pedigree, team over the individual & results over lofty ideas that never get executed (oh, and they tend to be profitable). The magic of a high performing team is not in having all the best individuals but it in having the right individuals to make up the best team.

Recruiting is about a lot more than filling open jobs; it is an opportunity to positively impact the face of your company and the direction it takes. Recruiters can and should be thought-leaders, helping hiring managers build amazing teams. In my opinion, right-fit talent is prerequisite to anything else that goes on in an organization. Frankly, talent acquisition strategies at their core are about aligning the recruiting function (the talent needs) with the business goals of the organization.

I will go into greater detail on each of these areas in a subsequent post but for the purposes of this post, the pursuit of talent can be boiled down into the following key stages: attraction, evaluation, matching and alignment.


Every employer must provide prospective candidates with a compelling reason to take an interest in what that employer is doing. Most job seekers are looking for more than a steady paycheck. They want their work to be part of something bigger, they want to have a broad impact, they want to be respected, but most importantly, they want all of this at a company that makes a difference. While all of this may sound lofty, nearly any successful company makes a difference somehow (otherwise they wouldn't be in business any longer). Great talent acquisition organizations do a fantastic job of articulating how they make a difference so that they inspire others to find them who hold the same things important.


Once someone expresses an interest in learning more about joining your organization, the ability to evaluate not only the individual, but their motivations for change becomes critical. While there is a lot of focus on avoiding bad hires, there is a very real cost in missing on good hires (which is much harder to measure). As you evaluate potential new hires, transparency by all involved is important because it helps determine long term fit potential. Evaluating talent is not about fancy or tricky interview questions, or mind games (unless that aligns with your corporate culture) but a transparent, authentic and real conversation about what someone is looking for and what your organization has to offer. Then, and only then can all involved make a proper evaluation.


As a recruiter I have often felt that there are no bad companies, and no bad candidates, only bad fits. This is why transparency is so critical in the evaluation process. It enables companies and candidates to match. As a headhunter, candidates would invariably ask me how they should approach their interview. My advice was always the same: "Be yourself". This applies to both hiring managers and candidates because the last thing you want to do is convince someone to hire you or in the case of hire manager, to join your team, when there is actually not a true match. (This is also why relying exclusively on interviews to make a decision is a mistake - something I will go into later in a subsequent post).


Over the years, and as I moved from agency to corporate recruiting, I have come to realize that the on-boarding (a.k.a. alignment) process is a critical process in recruiting. The ability to help a candidate quickly assimilate into the culture of a company is as important as any of the other processes in the recruiting cycle. In fact, some studies have shown that employees who go through a structured on-boarding & orientation process, are 58% more likely to be with the company three years or longer. Effective on-boarding & orientation will also have the added benefit reducing the amount of time it takes for a new employee to be become productive.

Acquiring talent is a competitive business function and much like the Marketing Department in your organization focuses on competing for consumer's dollars, the Recruiting Department should be focused on those strategies that allow it to compete with other businesses for the best talent (right fit) on the market. The beauty of a well-executed talent acquisition strategy is that its impact on the organization compounds year over year, providing the necessary talent & flexibility for the business to meet its goals. This is why talent acquisition matters and why the success or failure of your organization may depend on it.

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