Starting with "Why?"

I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek. The whole concept of Starting with “Why” is practically coded in my DNA. “Why” is important,  incredibly important. I would even argue “why” is everything. And it’s been the question I’ve been contemplating a lot recently. Many of you may already know that I decided to close my chapter at SmashFly at the end of 2018. It was time. SmashFly was incredible. I learned a lot. I taught a lot. But it was time.

If you don’t know me personally, let me tell you. I’ve always been one to challenge the norm, the acceptable, the “way it is”. In the last five years, I have met more of you who are like me, rebels, in talent attraction and acquisition. You know who you are. We keep pushing for change. We keep experimenting and testing. We keep pushing the envelope. Together, we are creating a new way of looking at things. You give me energy, encouragement, and ideas. You are driving Recruitment Marketing and Employer Brand forward - just think about how many EB roles you saw posted 10 years ago. Zero. We’re moving forward, and I’m encouraged. More people, more ideas, more insights, more experiences. Everything amazing can come from this. But I come back to why? Why are we growing as a profession?

Honestly, tribe, the “why” is pretty simple. It’s hitting us in the face every day - countless open reqs, fewer quality applicants than ever before, churn and burn out, consistently increasing cost per hire, and time to fill. I think we all feel it, but I’m going to say it. We are approaching an “evolve or perish” moment in TA. Record low unemployment, people retiring in droves, freelance nation, this is just the beginning. We can’t find the people we need to do the jobs that need to be done. Do you see our “why” in glaring neon lights now? I do.

We have to change. It’s time. It’s been time. And that means we need to bring in strong professionals to help employers market and brand themselves. It’s smart, and it’s already begun. This shift will get us where I think we all ultimately want to go. The future I see is one short leap. This future brings employer brand, recruitment marketing, and systems together to address the challenges we are facing. For me, this is what talent experience (or as everyone is buzzing today, candidate experience) is all about. When I look into my crystal ball, here’s what I see:

I see a day when we define “talent” as leads, candidates, current employees, alumni, referrals, all of them. We don’t design a candidate experience; instead, we design talent experiences, from pre-hire to post-retire. We are deliberate about the unique experiences of every person aligned with our brand, and these experiences are heralded because of their transparency and honesty. We build connections and relationships with people throughout their employment life cycle that turn into advocates internally and externally and more meaningful dialog about work and what talent want from work.

I see a future where changing jobs is not one of the most stressful activities in your life, instead it is one of hope and optimism because your experience has limited friction. I see more educated job seekers and companies being better listeners. It will be the day when our current employees are our best media channel by advocating for our brand. Speaking of our own talent, we stop taking them for granted. We consistently engage them as if they were new leads, sharing opportunity, training, and growth paths for people and allowing them to self select in.

In my crystal ball, we are smarter. We measure everything we are designing and building so that we are constantly optimizing our talent experience. We know where we win. We know where we lose. We know who’s into us. We even know what they need to learn about us and their career. We are helping people. We are lowering barriers. We are changed.

This is my why. My “why” for cashing in my chips and going all in on this. I want to see this future today. I want to partner with the rebels out there who know that candidate experience isn’t a buzzword. That it is something that we have just seen the tip of the iceberg; it’s much bigger in our own industry and it should be. I want to build experiences that create ease and delight for talent, recruiters and hiring managers. I want to ideate and innovate to create employee advocates and opportunities to stay “inside”. I want to bring employer brand, recruitment marketing, and systems together to create delight for talent and brands. That’s my “why”. Now, who wants to talk about “how?”