is (theoretically) paying them. No hiring
manager ever took advice from someone
whom he didn’t trust had his best interests in mind.
7. BEING A FUTURIST. I want recruiters
working for me who are constantly looking at
industry trends—and not just within talent
acquisition—to see what may be coming next.
As a leader, I’ll be doing that in the functions
they are supporting to help stay ahead of our
If I’m recruiting nurses, I better know the
direction of this industry if I want to stay in
front of it from a talent acquisition perspective. When I was working in the health system in Michigan, there was a strategy shift
from hiring both LPNs and RNs to hiring
only RNs. As a recruiting team, we went and
worked with RN programs around the state
to ensure we had a pipeline of candidates two
years before this change went into efect.
When I worked in the retail market, I
Consultative skills allow recruiters to be-
come valued members of the hiring manag-
er’s inner circle, someone they rely on when
making hiring decisions. But many times, it
leads to making any kind of personnel deci-
sion within their department. Consultants
deliver advice based on their knowledge and
expertise, and great recruiters exhibit the
When I interview recruiters, I’ll have candidates “advise” me on things we could do to
better help them. It’s something they know
well. They understand how they want to be
treated and can provide feedback on our
candidate experience. “Help me grasp what
I don’t know about how this experience affected you.” Someone with consultative skills
can easily do this.
It’s about building trusting relationships.
Consultants work for the client. That’s who
I strongly believe that, on average, HR and hiring
managers tend to under-hire talent. We bring on people we know are less talented than we are, who won’t
push us out of our comfort zone. We take the easy
route when we should be hiring individuals who are
so freaking smart and talented that we worry they will
one day take our jobs.
My one criterion for hiring in HR and talent acquisition is simply this: Does this person scare the beje-sus out of you?
When I went to work at Applebee’s in HR, I was
surrounded by talented people because Lou Kaucic,
the head of HR, over-hired. People on the team came
from Disney, GE and other organizations known for
Kaucic knew that Applebee’s wasn’t just cold beer
and good burgers. Any casual-dining chain could
produce those things consistently. It was about hiring
and developing a better workforce that couldn’t be
easily replicated. The only way you get there is to
have industry-leading HR talent and practices.
My interview with Applebee’s took eight hours.
My future boss, Jackie Giusti, was a former military
police officer and trained interrogator. Ultimately, she
had only one measure to live up to when making
a hiring decision, and it was the last question she
asked me: “Are you better than me?”
I quickly evaluated my options: You can say you
are better, say you’re not better or give some middle-
of-the-road answer that is really a non-answer. I knew
the last option would not fly with Jackie.
So, I said what I felt: “Yes, I’m better than you.”
I then looked for some facial cue that would allow
me to explain. Yes, I was better in certain aspects
of HR and talent acquisition. My experience to that
point gave me a few tools in the shed she may not
have yet. Of course, there were things I could learn
from her, but there were also things I could teach her.
Luckily, my first answer was a winner. She
explained that the only way she would have hired me
was if I was better than she was, and, in her mind, she
needed to hear it and believe it. She could only hire
noticeably better talent into HR and talent acquisition.
I don’t think I let her down, and, truthfully, the team
probably taught me more than I was ever able to