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What I learned by “teaching” HR Pros

I recently conducted a recruiting workshop for my provincial HR association. I was asked to do a ½ day session on the fundamentals of recruiting. I was caught off guard a bit by the topic as I thought that it was a bit too basic and bland and I was worried no one would want to attend! I was assured that there was a demand for this topic, based on feedback they had received, so I agreed to do it. I have to say, I was really glad that I did because I learned an awful lot about where things stand with recruiting and HR professionals and I learned a ton about our current generation of HR talent.

Before I share my thoughts, to put things in perspective, my workshop was about how to effectively work with hiring managers, walk away with a clear picture of what the recruiter was required to hire (vis-à-vis using various tips, tools and techniques), how to effectively craft job advertisements, source, effectively interview, manage the candidate funnel and close candidates.

BrainThe audience was primarily junior to intermediate level HR folks that were either full time recruiters or had elements of recruiting as part of their HR role. There were also a few more experienced HR folks present as well, so overall a nice mix. By the end of workshop, the following things became apparent to me as a microcosm of what is working and not working for recruiting/HR:

1. Our up and coming generation of HR practitioners is really dialed in. They are not afraid of the challenges in front of them and they have some really great insights on what it takes to be a great recruiter. They are keen to learn and to be better and better. They want to “deliver” and are very open to doing things differently if it means they can add greater value in their role and to their company.

2. We aren’t doing a great job of providing developmental opportunities for our more junior HR folks. If more experienced HR folks (I am including myself here) want to continue to elevate the status of our profession, we need to be providing opportunities for our less experienced HR peers to learn, grow, develop and shine as they are the future of our profession.

3. Organizations have their recruiting staff focused on the wrong things. My impression is that it is all about volume. So many of the people I chatted with afterwards told me about how the focus (and reward) is on the number of hires made, volume targets achieved/quarter, etc. Now, they feel they have a renewed sense of purpose to focus on quality of hire, new hire retention, etc.

4. To expand on #3, we struggle as a profession to share – both data and best practices. Collectively, if we shared more about how we measure our successes, get operational buy-in, and become better at our craft, we would all “win.” I am hoping that the “open source” thinking that Gen Y’ers (I hate that label but I am using it simply for context) have continues to spread throughout our profession. With the rapid increase in the use of social media among HR pros, we are able to do this more and more. There is a desire to help each other as HR professionals and stop looking at each other as “competitors.”

5. For me personally, I am really stoked about the up and coming HR talent I saw and heard from. Again, I was blown away by their knowledge and critical thinking ability. They truly do “get it” as it pertains to adding value in their role. They know that they need to show the ROI of their efforts and be aligned with the businesses they support. And for those that are 100% focused on the recruiting side, they do get it that they are in a sales role, not HR! (but are part of the HR family!). The future of our profession has never looked brighter!

Overall for me, to be perfectly selfish, it was a great learning experience. I learned a lot about my peers and enjoyed the dialogue and being challenged on what I was presenting. They weren’t afraid to ask questions and have me look at things differently. I hope that they continue to take that approach back to the office with them and challenge the thinking they are presented with there!

Image courtesy of Boaz Yiftach/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net


2 Responses

  1. Nice work Scott! Not only did you paint a great picture for the future of HR, you have already taken a huge step in the world of adult education. By this I mean that a great teacher learns as much or even more than what they teach. Your audience become your teachers. Well done!

    • Thanks Barb! I appreciate your kind words and the time spent chatting about workshops! Your support has been invaluable. For sure it was a learning experience for me, maybe more so than for the attendees!

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