Books for software engineers and managers

The Talent Fix

The Talent Fix

A Leader's Guide to Recruiting Great  Talent

by Tim Sackett

Engineering Manager,
Tech Recruiter

How strongly do I recommend The Talent Fix?
8 / 10

Review of The Talent Fix

Highly pragmatic and honest, The Talent Fix feels like it was written by a frustrated hiring manager who has experienced too many incompetent recruiting departments and is ready to tell it like they see it. Except it was written from the inside by an experienced leader of talent acquisition teams.

Recruiting is fundamentally a marketing and sales  role

Recruiting is misplaced under Human Resources. Categorically it fits under HR, but functionally operates more like marketing or sales – at least within high performance recruiting teams.

Use a Save Team to prevent top performing employees from  leaving

The author describes the Save Team at Applebee’s consisting of two layers: regional and national. When a top performing employee gives their notice, the regional team consisting of directors and regional managers jumps in to save the employee, asking them what would change their mind. Sometimes that means compensation but other times it means hours, flexibility, environment, or co-workers.

If the regional Save Team cannot pull the employee back in, the national Save Team consisting of the head of the CEO, head of HR, and COO is quickly alerted and jumps in. They fly the employee out to headquarters and have a similar conversation.

These save strategies worked 60% of the time at Applebee’s, which meant keeping high performers on staff and eliminating the costly need to rehire.

90% of talent acquisition teams are just executing  post-and-pray

Post-and-pray happens when a job is posted to a company’s careers website, then everyone just waits for candidates to apply. In making this statement, the author’s point is that to be in the top 10% of talent acquisition departments you actually don’t need to do much. Mostly you need to actively recruit, not just serve as an application intake mechanism.

Talent acquisition is an activity-based function where increased activity directly impacts  outcomes

Yes, conversion rate varies by recruiter but at its core recruitment is an activity-based function. One of the core activities in this function is picking up the phone, which many recruiters avoid to their peril.

Conflict avoidance is the downfall of talent  acquisition

Ghosting is rooted in conflict avoidance and it unfortunately happens in many talent acquisition situations. We don’t reject candidates or provide meaningful feedback. We don’t question deeper during interviews. We don’t challenge hiring managers when something in the job description doesn’t make sense. Productive talent acquisition professionals understand their tendency to avoid conflict and mitigate that risk, frequently through templates, checklists, and automation.

Great talent acquisition teams run pilot programs with willing hiring  managers

Experimentation is necessary to improve your talent acquisition machine. But experimentation feels risky to many, especially within Human Resources. That’s why talent acquisition needs to seek out and partner with like-minded hiring managers who also have a taste for experimentation.

Hiring managers are responsible for hiring, talent acquisition is responsible for activity to fill the  funnel

Talent acquisition does not fill roles. Too many of the steps prior to someone starting are reliant on the hiring manager and their team. So the responsibility for hiring ultimately rests with the hiring manager, with talent acquisition responsible for filling the funnel with candidates. Of course, the lines are fuzzy but this delineation is a good starting point for understanding roles and responsibilities.

Hire talent acquisition professionals who are natural connectors of  people

When your TA team is growing, look for people who demonstrate a proclivity for connecting others. That might happen outside of a workplace, for instance at a church or among friends. These people are drawing connections then taking effective steps to solidify them. In other words, it’s not just about the size of their network, it’s also about the richness of the connections within that network.

Show the love to  candidates

The HBO TV show Ballers thas a scene about recruitment that I love. Ricky Jerret is an NFL free agent wide receiver being recruited by the New Orleans Saints. They put together a solid offer, more than other teams are willing to pay. On paper the Saints have done their job.

But Jarret repeatedly asks one question, “Where’s the love?!?”

The Saints eventually understand the message and send a marching band, gospel choir, and cheerleaders to Jerret and everyone celebrates the love.

Talent streaming might be the next big  idea

Talent streaming is the idea that you recruit candidates even when you don’t have a role open, then sign them to an agreement saying they’ll be the next person hired when that role opens. In the meantime they are paid a small amount and complete some onboarding training that will prepare them for day one.

The Talent Fix