Talent Acquisition or How I Met Your Mother

PeerCulture, October 5, 2016
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What was your ‘spouse acquisition’ strategy? Do you have a ‘friend acquisition’ strategy? Do you post a few pithy, self-centered adverts about how great you are and follow that up by giving them a highlight reel of only the best parts of you? If you do, I am guessing that the relationship will last no more than 4 years. The reason I know is because 4 years is about how long an employee will stay at your company. And chances are, you used a similar ‘acquisition strategy’ to attract your talent to work for you.

The reality is, you do not convert your spouse. You do not convert your friends. Instead, you build a relationship and hope they like what you have to offer. In the same manner, you probably should not acquire your talent. Is your goal to convert a person to work for you or is it to get them excited, hopeful and optimistic about your offering?

The actual definition of the word ‘acquire’ is to buy or obtain. People should never be obtained to work for you. Livestock should be acquired. Staplers and post-it notes should be acquired. The taste of tequila could be acquired (if you are willing). But people, especially talent for your company, should never be acquired.

According to Kathleen Murphy, President, Personal Investing at Fidelity Investments, “Your talent prospects and employees want to work for an organization that cares about their work experience; that listens and acts on their feedback; that helps build their capabilities; and invests in their learning. To attract and retain the best talent, build an organization that deeply understands the needs of its people, continuously responds to those needs with passion and transparency, and places employee value on the same level as customer value.”

So the questions is: How? How do you connect with talent beyond the traditional acquisition playbook? It starts with finding out their core values. What truly inspires them. What truly motivates them. What truly infuses them with passion and optimism about their work. What do your candidates long for and how can you fulfill that need?

Companies have access to endless amounts of survey data about candidates, which is helpful, but survey data never gives you the story behind the data point. So, how do you get there? You go to the source and ask them.

PeerCulture is a place where today’s brightest young professionals speak their mind. The interview-style portraits enable young professionals to share their stories and views on life and work within a framework that gives companies a better understanding of who they are actually talking to. By complementing survey data with real-life stories, companies will find more genuine ways to connect to find the right fit for everyone.