How would you structure TA Immersion training?

Years ago, Talent Acquisition was a ‘pass though’ for those wanting a job in HR.  As in, “Go and learn Recruiting and then we’ll find a real HR management opportunity for you.” No more. The idea that someone could take over Talent Acquisition in an enterprise coming from another discipline, and quickly pick up the tools, practices, strategies and policies to formulate a vision and execute on a plan is laughable…or is it?

While we’ve seen an increasing trend among CXR members of TA leaders being offered HR positions, there are still several times each year when HR, Legal or Finance professionals accept a TA leadership role at one of our member companies. Just this week we had a request from a VP of Talent Acquisition that went something like this:

“I have a leader from the business who may potentially join my leadership team as a director. He has a passion around recruiting with a specific focus on diversity recruiting but doesn’t know the basics. This individual is coming out of [a numbers area]. So, I’m looking for a recommendation for some sort of TA immersion that will give him a solid lay of the land. Any recommendations?”

A true immersion would likely involve splitting up a week or two into specialty areas or stakeholders: Recruitment Marketing, Analytics, Operations, Sourcing, Diversity, Assessment, The Hiring Manager as Client, The Recruiter, The Candidate, The Business, etc. In each area, the new TA leader would work under a senior player to teach them the basics for several hours while also requiring that mentor to observe and provide feedback on one or two aspects the newbie is charged with doing. Each day could end with a short debrief with the VP. We don’t know of anything like this offered externally. 

[Help your executives with a better onboarding plan]

The TA Treasure Hunt

A more extensive scenario might be a TA Treasure Hunt tied into the new Directors’ goals for the first six months. A series of self-directed activities, each weighted proportionately so that it actually has an impact on the individuals’ annual performance. This idea got us thinking of what challenges could make up this treasure hunt… 

  • Job shadow a recruiter. Create a hiring process map of every stakeholder touch point and why that touch point is important…or not. Consider how unconscious bias might play a role at each touch point and what would minimize it.
  • Audit a Hiring Manager’s interview of a candidate. One [HM] that was trained to interview within the last 12 months. Describe how the HM behaved in relation to the training principles.
  • Participate on a panel interview. Assess the panel’s collective preparation, execution and debriefing of those responsible for selecting the candidate.
  • Hire someone. Have a Senior Recruiter oversee the new Director’s handling from the open requisition and prepping for an HM meeting to onboarding. Before bringing any candidates in, but after he develops the slate, ask him if the pool of qualified candidates is sufficiently diverse. Ask how the slate was formed and how he actually determined the diversity of the pool – especially if recruiters aren’t allowed access to the data but are still held accountable for the diversity of the slate.
  • Interview each TA specialty. Produce an ideal TA organizational chart for the TA function. Contrast a fully resourced function to meet existing business plans as well as one optimized with what we have now.
  • Participate in meetings for the next workforce planning cycle. Explain what TA’s confidence level might be for the predictions coming out of the plan in 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.
  • Interview [Benchmark] three peers in other, similar firms. Contrast roles, responsibilities, resourcing and the difference between TA/TM and HR.
  • Survey a sample of 1000 of our candidates – 800 hired, 200 not hired – within days of them being dispositioned. Ask about their experience using the NPS question, “Would you refer others…”, followed by an open-ended statement asking for an explanation of the score they chose. Determine what priorities should be addressed.
  • Interview five influential Hiring Managers/Business Leaders. Consider what TA needs to do about what they say.
  • Write an executive brief on your vision for changing Talent Acquisition

One more suggestion: have that person call me, Gerry Crispin. I want to interview anyone willing to do all of this and learn from their experiences! Would love to see your ideas for this TA Treasure Hunt. Perhaps a new eXchange topic? 



Picture of Gerry Crispin

Gerry Crispin

Gerry co-authored eight books on the evolution of staffing and has written 100s of articles and whitepapers on similar topics during a career in Human Resources that spans more than 40 years from HR leadership positions at Johnson and Johnson; to boutique Executive Search firms; a Career Services Director at the University where he received his Engineering and 2 advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Behavior; and, GM of a major recruitment advertising firm even as he launched CareerXroads 25 years ago.

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