The Tim Sackett Project HR Pro, Dad, Backup Point Guard on my over 40 men's team Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:27:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What Would It Take To Get Your Employee To Leave You? Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:27:19 +0000 Anthology (formerly Poachable) came out with a fun survey recently that polled where current employees of some of the hottest tech companies would go if given the chance.  The results are interesting and really speak to organizational fit, and the appetite for risk, in the employees you hire.

On the outset, I would assume any talented person working at companies like, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Facebook or Google would be willing to accept a job at another tech firm, given the opportunity, location and pay are all that they are looking for.  Turns out that the employees at each of these organizations have a particular career taste when it comes to possible change, take a look:

Microsoft: 74% would prefer to go to another Public Company, only 32% to an early stage startup. (this limits the competition you’re up against, right?)

IBM: 72% to a Profitable Private Company, only 23% to an early stage startup.

Apple: 62% would prefer well-funded startup, or the same 62% to a public company, only 28% to early stage startup

Oracle: 69% to a public company, only 29% to early stage startup.

Amazon: 75% to public company, only 35% to early stage startup.

Google: 73% to well-funded startup, 45% to early stage startup and only 59% would want a public company.

So, what does this mean?  All those startups looking to attract folks from big tech companies might want to rethink your sourcing strategies! While some organizations like Google and Apple have employees with a higher tolerance for risk, most big tech companies are filled with non-career risk takers.

Organizational fit is so critical to making good hires, and most of us tend to overlook the risk appetite of the employees we are hiring versus the risk culture of our own organization.  This can be vetted out in an interview process, or even with an assessment, but we just forget about it most of the time.

You can usually see it on a person’s resume. Conservative company, conservative company, conservative company, oh hey, come interview over here with us at ‘our pants are on fire’, you’re going to love it! No, they won’t, but they might be attracted to the fire initially, and seem very interested.  The problem is, they’ve already shown you who they really are, you just aren’t listening!

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Career ADHD: Is Employee Tenure Still Important? Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:47:10 +0000 I keep getting told by folks who tend to know way more than me that employees ‘today’ don’t care about staying at a company long term. “Tim you just don’t get it, the younger workforce just wants to spend one to three years at a job than leave for something new and different.” You’re right! I don’t get it.

Payscale recently released survey data showing that the average employee tenure is sitting at 3.68 years.  Which speaks to my smart friends who love to keep replacing talent. I still don’t buy this fact as meaning people don’t want long term employment with one organization.

Here’s what I know about high tenured individuals:

1. People who stay long term with a company tend to make more money over their career.

2. People who stay long term with a company tend to reach the highest level of promotion.

3. People who tend to stay long term with a company tend to have higher career satisfaction.

I don’t have a survey on this. I have twenty years of working in the trenches of HR and witnessing this firsthand. The new CEO hire from outside the company gets all the press, but it actually rarely happens. Most companies promote from within because they have trust in the performance of a long-term, dedicated employee, over an unknown from the outside. Most organizations pick the known over the unknown.

I still believe tenure matters a great deal to the leadership of most organizations.  I believe that a younger workforce still wants to find a great company where they can build a career, but we keep telling them that is realistic in today’s world.

Career ADHD is something we’ve made up to help us explain to our executives why we can no longer retain our employees.  Retention is hard work. It has real, lasting impact to the health and well-being of a company. There are real academic studies that show the organizations with the highest tenure, outperform those organizations with lower tenure.  (herehere, and here)

Employee tenure is important and it matters a great deal to the success of your organization. If you’re telling yourself and your leadership that it doesn’t, that its just ‘kids’ today, we can’t do anything about it, you’re doing your organization a disservice. You can do something about it. Employee retention, at all levels, should be the number 1, 2 and 3 top priorities of your HR shop.

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Tim Sackett, Best Life Coach Ever! Fri, 20 Nov 2015 12:08:16 +0000 I believe the concept of ‘Life Coach’ is the biggest con anyone has been able to pull off in the history of mankind.  That being said I personally know some folks who love having a life coach (#WhitePeopleProbs).  I do like the concept of ‘Business Coaches’ or ‘Leadership Coaches’, I see those things a bit differently based on what I see in organizations.  Two unique things happen in organizations that make the concept of Business Coach more viable:

1. We promote our best workers to managers.

2. Leaders are put on an island with no one to confide in.

Both ideas above are systematically flawed.  Just because you’re the ‘best’ worker doesn’t make you a good manager.  You might be, but you also might be a colossal failure.  Being in a senior leader’s role, and giving you no one to really be able to be honest, also has bad consequences.   A business coach can help both sides succeed, where normal organizational training fails.

You can give new managers all kinds of training, but there comes a time when one-on-one, let’s walk through a specific scenario you are having, just works better for learning and development of that person.   Also, a leader needs to get ideas out of their head to someone they trust will give them good and honest feedback about how freaking crazy they are!   Subordinates won’t do this, and peers might use it against them to position themselves for the next move.

I’m a big fan of Business Coaches.  I think organizations underutilize this approach because it seems expensive.  The reality is, it’s usually a billable hour or two per month, to ensure you have well functioning leadership.  That total cost might be $5000 per year.  I’m really hoping any manager or leader you have brings in exponentially much more profit than $5000 per year!

Which leads me to Tim Sackett, Life Coach.

I could be a life coach.  I have a feeling it would go a little like this:

Mark, Life Coachee: “Hey, Tim great to talk to you, just wanted to dive right into a problem I’m having, is that okay?”

Tim Sackett, Life Coach: “No, it’s not okay. That your problem Mark, you’re always thinking about you!  What about me and my freaking problems!”

Mark: “Uh, sorry. But I thought I’m paying you to help me on my stuff.”

Tim: “No, you’re paying me because I’m smart and have my shit together, and you can’t figure out how to manage your own daily simple life.”

Mark: “I don’t think this is what I expected.”

Tim: “Yes it is. That’s your problem Mark, you think too much.  You’re now paying me to do your thinking.”

Mark: “Okay, I’ll play along and see where this is going.”

Tim: “Mark here’s what ‘we’ are going to do. First, you’re getting your butt up each day and you’re going to work. Second, you’re going to stop whining about your life. Third, you’re going to go home and be an active part of your family life, and stop acting like you should be able to have a family and still act like you’re in college, you’re not.”

Mark: “But you don’t understand, I work in a stressful job!”

Tim: “Shut up, you’re an accountant. Stress is not knowing where you’re sleeping tonight because you don’t have a place to live.  You don’t have stress, you have normal.”

I have a strong feeling my ‘Life Coaching’ sessions would only go one session, and everyone would be fixed, so I’m going to have to figure out that pricing model.  If you want to set up an appointment, just hit me in the comments and we can get that set up immediately, I take PayPal!


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When Should You Retire? Thu, 19 Nov 2015 13:13:02 +0000 We tend to believe retirement is an age thing. Well, once you turn 65, it’s time to retire! Do you know where ’65’ actually came from? Most HR pros will probably guess it, it’s when America instituted social security insurance back in 1935.

The U.S. Government, in 1935, didn’t even use any science to determine 65 years old.  At the time, the national railroad pension retirement age was 65, and about half the state pensions were the same (the other half were 70), so 65 years old was chosen. Way less red tape back in 1935! Can you imagine the government trying to make that decision today!?

So, you turn 65 and you’re supposed to retire. In 1935, that probably was fairly accurate. The actual life expectancy in 1935 was only 61! So, we built social security knowing most people would not live to receive it. Today, life expectancy is around 79 years old!  As you can imagine, 65 years old is no longer a realistic retirement age.

I’m currently 45 years old.  It’s my belief that I have about 25 years left to work and save for my retirement. I’m assuming I’ll work until I’m at least 70.  70 years old today doesn’t seem like 70 years old when I was a kid.  My parents are now in their 70’s and they don’t seem ‘old’. I mean they’re old, but not like they can’t do anything old.  Both could still easily work and produce great work if they wanted to.

All of this should change how we look at succession planning in our organizations, but we still use 65 as the ‘expiration’ date of when someone no longer seems to have value. “Oh, you know Tim, he’s going to be 65 next year, I’m amazed he can still stay awake all day!”

65 in 2015, is not the same 65 we saw in 1935!  The health and physical wellbeing of those two people are worlds apart in difference!

Succession Planning needs to catch up with this difference.  HR needs to lead this charge.  Part of this change starts with us changing the language and numbers we use when describing retirement.  Regular retirement age needs to start at 70 years old, at a minimum and move up from there.  We need to eliminate 65 years old from everything we write and speak.  It’s just no longer valid or accurate.

Once we push this date out, we can then start to plan much more accurately to what our organizational needs will truly be.  Next, we need to have frank conversations with those who we believe are reaching an age where they want to retire and have real conversations.  HR pros have been failing at this for years!  It’s actually not against the law to ask an employee what their retirement plan is! It should be against the law that you don’t ask this question!

If an employee knows that you are working with them to reach their goals, and you let that employee know that ‘hey, we need you for another five years’, most will actually happily stay on the additional time.  My Dad worked in a professional job until he was 72, and they wanted him longer! Don’t ever underestimate the power of being wanted. As we age, that desire to be wanted just increases!

So, I’ll ask you. What age do you think someone should retire?

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Where Does Retention Start? Wed, 18 Nov 2015 12:47:41 +0000 The biggest thing in HR and TA in 2016 will be retaining your employees. Not just top talent, but that middle of the road, shows up every day, glue type talent.  Retention is a concept that most HR and TA pros haven’t had to worry about this for a long time, but it’s quickly the hottest issue facing most organizations.

My question is, where does retention start?

My friend Laurie Ruettimann and Dawn Burke talked about this on Dawn’s FOT Videocast ‘No Scrubs‘ earlier this month. Laurie’s opinion is that retention starts at the Orientation. Solid theory for sure. You want to catch them day one and start retaining them from the start.

What Laurie knows, is that most organizations don’t start retaining employees until it’s too late. You know, when you find out that the person is out interviewing with your competition! Or when you find their resume on CareerBuilder, or see that they recently updated their LI profile, or when they turn in their two weeks notice!

I tend to believe that retention, at its core, starts with selection.  Hire people who actually want to work for your company, and crazy as it sounds, they tend to stay around longer!  Most turnover happens because of poor organizational, or positional, fit. Hire people who have a strong desire to work for your company, specifically, and retention tends to take care of itself.

So, if retention starts so early, regardless if Laurie or I are correct, why do organizations still wait so long to address it?

I think organizations are still under the belief that employees leave organizations because they hate their boss.  We’ve allowed this thought to percolate for a decade and its now become fact.  This is one small aspect of turnover, but I tend to believe now that most employees expect and deal with bad bosses fairly well.

The problem with focusing retention efforts so late in the process is that it’s, well, too little, too late!

Another piece to this retention dilemma is that HR doesn’t really believe they own it, and I tend to agree with this theory. The reality is the direct supervisor should have a better handle on retention. It should be a measure that all first-line leaders are held accountable to. Therein lies the real problem. We all take some responsibility for retention, but no ownership!

It’s the classic house on fire analogy. One person sees a house on fire and they do all they can to help. Ten people see a house on fire, and they all watch, believing someone else will do something about it. Your organizational retention is a house fire. To stop it, one person, one group needs to own it, measure it, make it public, ensure everyone sees the fire burning.

I’m not sure, exactly, when retention starts, but I always know how it will end.  With you posting a job and refilling a position, you already had filled…

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T3 – UltiPro – @UltimateHCM Tue, 17 Nov 2015 12:56:19 +0000 This week on T3 I take a look at one of the big boys in human capital management (HCM) software Ultimate Software. If you’re like me you probably have some confusion of what or who Ultimate Software really is. Are they Ultimate Software, UltiPro, UltimateHCM, I truly had no idea if these were all the same or different!

Ultimately (pun intended!), I found out that the main product of Ultimate Software is called UltiPro and its an enterprise level human capital management system, or in HR terms, it’s your system of record, plus some.  To give you some more perspective UltiPro runs in the same space as HR technology companies, Oracle, SAP, Workday, Ceridian and ADP.

At its core UltiPro provides you with HR, Payroll and Benefits software. All clients that use UltiPro have this core, plus they give you the ability to buy into the full enterprise for talent management, applicant tracking, compensation, time and labor, Business Intelligence/predictive analytics, payment and tax, etc.

5 things that I really liked about UltiPro:

1. Definite advantage for Canadian customers as UltiPro payroll runs both Canadian employees and U.S. employees on the same system. This is rare in the payroll world, and about 75% of Canadian companies have U.S. employees.  All of your employees in UltiPro, US and Canadian, will be housed in the same database.

2. UltiPro doesn’t seem like a cobbled together mess of technology. It was designed as one holistic system and reacts that way when you are using it. UltiPros manager and employee Self-service is one of the better ones I’ve seen in the industry.

3. The business intelligence and analytics within UltiPro is awesome. It’s built so that individuals can pull exactly what they want, in the way they want, not just pre-built reports where you get what they want you to have. I was especially impressed with their retention dashboard with retention prediction and succession management.

4. UltiPro makes HR and organizational compliance extremely easy. You can tell this was built with input from real HR pros. Need your EEOC annual report? Pull it instantly by clicking one button! UltiPro delivers over 150 different business processes, designed to be best practice right out of the box, but with your ability to change and adapt to your specific processes.

5. This might seem small but it’s a big differentiator in the HCM space, in that UltiPro does the tax side of payroll beyond most payroll systems. Each UltiPro client is indemnified, and they ensure you have the right tax forms, rates, and they’ll actually file for you as well! This is huge for SMB clients!

So, why should you use them over the other big guys in the HCM space?  Ultimate Software sells from a philosophy of ‘we’re the small, big guys’, they’re the nice guys of HCM.  If you’ve dealt with some of the big HCM players recently, you’ll understand this!

So, what size do you need to be to really be an organization that would use UltiPro? They’re primarily an enterprise level software, but do play in the SMB space more than most. So, roughly 300-1500 on the SMB side, they’re enterprise clients average around 5,000, but rise to well over 10,000.

T3 – Talent Tech Tuesday – is a weekly series here at The Project to educate and inform everyone who stops by on a daily/weekly basis on some great recruiting and sourcing technologies that are on the market.  None of the companies who I highlight are paying me for this promotion.  There are so many really cool things going on in the tech space and I wanted to educate myself and share what I find.  If you want to be on T3 – send me a note.

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The Advanced Class – Recruiting Edition Mon, 16 Nov 2015 12:10:46 +0000 As my friend Laurie Ruettimann pointed out last week, recruiting is easy and can be done by basically anyone, so just go hire some soldier to do it.   Laurie might not be that all far from the truth.  Recruiting isn’t brain surgery, it’s a process.  A process that is hated by the majority of human resource professionals around the world, which is why it is a $9 Billion dollar industry.  Not a hard skill, but many times, a really hard job to be successful at.  Old school recruiters like to believe recruiting is an Art form.  It’s not.  New school recruiters like to believe you can just source everyone you need off the internets. You can’t.

Recruiting is all about activity.  It’s a sales cycle.  The more contacts (phone calls, emails, handshakes, etc.) you make, the more candidates you will find.  The more candidates you find and get interested in your jobs.  The more jobs you will fill.  Not hard, right?  The problem is, ‘most’ recruiters look to do things that allow them not to make contacts!  They will buy every kind of technology imaginable to get people to call them.  They’ll do just about anything, besides picking up the phone and making that one call.

Want to be successful at Recruiting? Find people who are willing to make 100 calls per day and who love your company.  Go ahead, go find those people!  It might be a soldier, it might be your neighbor, it might a former crackhead, who knows!  The fact is, most people do not want to do this, even when you hire them and pay them to do just this!

So being a successful recruiter is basically easy.  You must find the sweet spot in the amount of activity you need to do each week that will get you the amount of contacts you need to get enough people for the jobs you want to fill.  Once you find that level, you need to maintain that level forever. Easy. I’m not kidding.  You don’t need fancy branding, and big ATS Systems and a bunch of processes.  You need people who will bang your internal resume database and job boards constantly, and faster than your competition.  That really isn’t that hard to do, because most shops don’t even do the basics well!

Now for the Advance Class participants:

Want to be Ridiculously Successful at Recruiting?

Do that which is written above and add just one thing.  Maintain a relationship with your companies Alumni.  There is this funny thing about human nature.  When we leave some place, we always want to know what’s going on back there!  If we move to a new city, we love updates from our old city.  When we run into past coworkers at the mall, we love updates on who is still there and who is running different departments, who got fired, who got promoted.  If we know this about human nature, why aren’t we giving it to our Alumni?

It doesn’t have to be constant but is has to be consistent.

Do a quarterly Alumni update via email to everyone who has every worked for you. Even the crappy ones who you are glad they are gone !  Give them some juicy details about promotions. Let them know some new things you’re working on.  Let them know what jobs you’re trying to fill, and how they can refer people.  Do this every quarter for 2 years.  Want to be class valedictorian?  On a monthly basis call a handful of alumni and just have a chat, build some relationships, check on where are they now.  As them if you mind if you share their story in the next Alumni News going out next quarter.  If you commit to do this for 24 months, you will start to see positions fill themselves.

This is advanced course stuff because 99% of companies aren’t doing this with their recruiting!

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3 Things HR Pros Don’t Want for the Holidays! Fri, 13 Nov 2015 12:06:26 +0000 It’s that time of year when you start receiving holiday gifts from HR Vendors.  My own company even does it.  For the most part, we send out a holiday card to the vast majority out our contacts, but those ‘paying’ clients or ‘Friends of the Company’ (former or future paying clients) we do something special.  Most companies go through the same kind of decision-making process when determining what should you do for your clients.

Some companies really get creative when determining what to send their clients. My friends Kris Dunn and Shannon Russo, who run the RPO firm Kinetix, decided a few years back to give out books to their clients and friends of the company.  Not just any books, they really dug in and got creative around a book that thought would challenge how people were thinking.  They would put together a thank you note and send out the books.  It’s different, it’s eye-catching, it’s memorable.  I’ll say, though, Kinetix is not the norm.

My friend, Eric Winegardner, at, personally makes peanut brittle each holiday, packs it up for hundreds of clients and friends, and sends it out all over the country.  It isn’t easy. It’s very time-consuming. He could easily shop it out and buy store bought stuff.  It shows that he cares.  It shows that he is thinking about you.  Whether you like peanut brittle or not, it becomes a personal gift from him to you.

The norm is boring, safe and sometimes laughable.  Let me give you examples of the worse corporate/client holiday gifts:

1. Pinup Calendar!  Okay, I have to bust on a company that I actually like a lot,!  But, they send out a Pinup Calendar each year, and I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a joke, or if one of their executive’s spouses runs a calendar printing company and they are forced to send these out, but it doesn’t fit their brand at all!  “Hey, we’re a tech company, take this 1970 pinup calendar and put in the wall next to your 26 inch LCD screen with your Outlook running on it.”  My grandpa had a pinup calendar in his garage he would get from the gas station!  I’m not sure who makes the calendar decision, but I would love to hear about it!

2. Pre-printed Holiday Cards!  You know the ones that say something like “Happy Holidays from the Gang at HRU!”.  You shove it in a pre-printed envelope with a pre-printed address label of your client that your admin ran off an excel mail merge.  It says ‘Classy’!  “We care so much about you as a client that we won’t even sign our name to the card!”  Really!? I don’t care if you’re sending out 1500 cards, sign your freaking name on the cards. It might take a couple of hours and your wrist will hurt, but you’ll live.  Your clients deserve your very least!

3. Company Logo Coffee Mug!  No one really wants your crappy logo coffee mug, unless you’re going to spend some real money and get something that is really nice.  No, I take that back, we still don’t want your expensive logo crappy coffee mug!  Again, what this says to your client is: 1. You must drink coffee and 2. You must drink coffee in our crappy mug and think about us!  I don’t drink coffee. Send me Diet Mt. Dew with your logo on it and I’ll drink every last drop and sign your praises in a caffeinated baritone that would make angels blush!

So, what should you do to show your clients you really care about them and want to thank them for another year of doing business?  It doesn’t matter, big or small, but make it something personal to them, not to you.  If your first thought is: “what is something that is cheap that we can throw out logo on and send it out” — you’re doing it wrong! If your thinking what does this client (the individual I have a relationship with) really into, and what’s something I can send them to show them I was thinking of ‘them’ specifically when they open it — you’re doing it right!

BTW – for any HR Vendor reading this – I’m totally into Gin, Michigan State University and Sprinkles Cupcakes!  Have a great holiday season!

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Millennials Are Buying Your B.S. Employment Branding Thu, 12 Nov 2015 12:31:40 +0000 I’m a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell and he recently said some things to say at a data analytics conference in Seattle. He had a number of points but one that interested me most was him discussing the trust levels between younger people today, versus older people in the baby boomer range. Here are his comments:

“Data can tell us about the immediate environment of people’s attitudes, but not much about the environment in which they were formed,” he said. “So which is right? Do people not trust others, as the polls say … or are they lying to the surveys?”

The context helps, Gladwell said.

That context is a massive shift in American society over the past few decades: a huge reduction in violent crime. For example, New York City had over 2,000 murders in 1990. Last year it was 300. In the same time frame, the overall violent crime index has gone down from 2,500 per 100,000 people to 500.

“That means that there is an entire generation of people growing up today not just with Internet and mobile phones … but also growing up who have never known on a personal, visceral level what crime is,” Gladwell said.

Baby boomers, who had very personal experiences of crime, were given powerful evidence that they should not trust. The following generations are reverting to what psychologists call “default truth.” In other words, they assume that when someone says something, it’s true … until they see evidence to the contrary.

“I think millennials are very trusting,” Gladwell said. “And when they say they’re not … they’re bullshitting.”

Why should you care about this?

Employment branding is marketing.  In HR we get so concerned about making sure what we say is the honest to G*d truth and nothing but the truth. We can’t tell a candidate we ‘rock’ when we really don’t ‘rock’. Guess what?  You can. Guess what else?  They’ll believe it.

Why?  Because the younger people today are a trusting lot.  They’re already a bit naive based on their age and lack of experiences. Add this to what Malcolm says above and they are ripe to be picked off.  Is that fair? No, probably not.  But, hey, as my good friend Kris Dunn loves to quote from Jerry Maguire, “this is show friends, this is show business”.

Tell the story you want. People will listen.  And skip the comments, I know this strategy is fraught with issues.  The truth is, it doesn’t matter. The difference between great employers and average employers just isn’t that great in candidates eyes.

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Unreasonable Expectations Killed Talent Acquisition Wed, 11 Nov 2015 12:13:01 +0000 The worst thing that ever happened in the history of Talent Acquisition was the phrase, “We only hire the best talent”.

In the 1980s, I suspect, or somewhere in the past, some lame CEO said this phrase.  Talent Acquisition has forever since been cursed to live up to this expectation.  You never will, for a number of reasons.

First, what the hell is “best talent”, really? You don’t truly know. No one does.  Do we mean the actual number one rated best talent? Or, do we mean just the best talent at the time we hire? Or, do we mean the best talent that will actually accept a job at our crappy company?!  I think the CEO believes it’s the actual number rated best talent, which means she is an idiot that has no concept of what she is talking about.

Second, do you even know who your own ‘best talent’ is in your organization?  Because to hire ‘best talent’ it will mean you need to hire people better than what you already have, which means you better know who the best is in your own barn!  Most of us struggle with this one as well, because we measure ‘best’ on a number of factors, which usually don’t align to what our executives feel is best.

Third, are you sure you even want ‘best talent’ in the first place?  Best talent can be a major pain in the ass! I’m willing to put up some of that best talent ass pain, but I don’t want an organization full of it.  I want to build a fantasy team at my organization. Folks who are great at certain roles, surrounded by other who are great at other roles, all knowing how their skills support each other, to make the whole better!  The last thing I need is a team with five Michael Jordans. There aren’t enough shots to keep that team happy!

We only hire the best talent is the single biggest line of B.S. that is said by executives of organizations and by TA leaders.  What they usually mean to say is:

“We only hire the best available talent at the time we have an opening, of those who actually applied to the job, and who are willing to accept the at market pay and benefits we offer!”

But, that message doesn’t look good on a career site!

If you’re in Talent Acquisition and you feel like you never measure up to your executive teams expectations, I would bet your executives probably think you only hire the best talent!  Don’t get down, the tide is turning.  Sharp TA leaders are already changing this narrative to bring some reality back to the conversation.



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