The Value of Finding out Where the Smart Kids Hang Out and…what makes me bring it!

In my job, I think a lot about talent “pools”. I wish I had another word. I find smart people, consider what they have in common with other smart people and where they get together and I reach out to them. Pretty much my job in a nutshell. It combines my need for “the thrill of the search” (I don’t like the predatory sound of “hunt”…nobody is prey here) with my affinity for marketing. Yeah, color me lucky.

Anyway, working in a function and role where marketing, people, customer experience all cross over, I think a lot about some of the dynamics of my role in Staffing and how it impacts other parts of my life. One that occurred to me recently is where quality recruiting talent pools. We all need to find our peeps; share, learn from others, sometimes commiserate. I’m not responsible for recruiting these people (although if any of them wanted to work at Microsoft, they should feel comfortable sending along their resumes to me). It’s about engaging for mutual benefit. Curious people make great recruiters. I think it’s a combination of curiosity, intellect and risk taking that separates the average staffing organizations from ones that are “world class” (psst, you should never have to tell someone you are world class, they either have a world class experience or they don’t…talk is cheap…hey, wait, did I just talk myself out of blogging? Anyhoo, more on that later).

Anyway, I’ve spent 2 days in a room with some of the smartest staffing people you’ll find and I’m totally energized (thanks Gerry, Mark and Carol and co). THE way to up your game is to surround yourself with smart people. Makes you feel like you can change the industry.

On another topic (not related to the event), I had a conversation with someone (not someone from Microsoft) who told me that recruiters that identify with”staffing” rather than “HR” aren’t “world class”, don’t work for “world class organizations” and aren’t part of the “talent continuum” (ugh, there was more…think she had something on her mind?). This was directed right at me after I mentioned that I am all about the Staffing. My response to the comments didn’t include much more than “I don’t buy it”, in consideration of the conversation participants (I know, check me out biting my tongue).

So this conversation is a burr under my saddle and I have to get it out. Where’s that soapbox?

You know what is “world class”? Companies that allow smart people to harness what they are passionate about (yeah, for me that’s staffing….can’t imagine why that’s a problem). People that treat everyone like customers (I was clearly not a customer in that scenario…trust me, now I am not a customer…confirmed!). Being real and honest (I try my best). Frankly, your arm gets tired if you are patting yourself on the back and it starts to get lonely.

Like I said, if you are truly world class, it’s about the experience…you don’t have to tell people about it (doesn’t it all start to sound like a bunch of buzzword poppycock anyway?). Starbucks calls it a “green apron experience”…you know why you don’t already know about that phrase? Because they act it, they don’t tell you. But you know what they are talking about. For me, I just consider everyone a customer in each interaction I have (sorry, our marketing groups haven’t given us a fun phrase for it…come on guys!). I guess it falls along the lines of “be excellent”. And I am doing my best to live that…for me that means doing what gets me fired up…which is staffing…and doing it well.

Yeah, so that conversation really got me going, but not how you might think. I guess I could be insulted if I didn’t already know that it was a bunch of…um, bull (PG rated blog…best I can do). Anyway, I needed to purge this experience because I found it disturbing, sad.and incredibly motivating (thanks!). And I really don’t want to get into details about who and where. I’m simply not threatened by the opinion or my value or my role (you all know that’s not my style).

I’m sure there was some *reason* for the comments. Regardless, sometimes a little unfounded smack talk gives me the boost I need. Can’t wait to get back to the office and turn up the volume.

Comments (8)

  1. Ian says:

    It’s all about getting pumped by "unfounded smack talk"! 🙂

    I agree, actions speak louder than words, if you are the best of the best or "world class" it’s usually obvious. You shouldn’t need to announce it to everyone. You mentioned she wasn’t from Microsoft…if SHE was not working for a world class company, I would have quickly ended the smack talk right there! 😉

  2. Mark Tookey says:

    Oh Heather!

    Nothing better than getting getting put in your place by a true "world class" act!

    I’ve long been of the opinion that "world class" is one of those meaningless phrases (like another favorite – "global leader") that generally are only used by those with a little bit of insecurity about just how important they really are in the overall scheme of things…


  3. Another mindset might be that Staffing is the one engine HR truly needs(to be integrated with)in order to be worldclass.

  4. Jonathan says:

    I’m not sure it matters what area you identify with when it comes to attracting and keeping high caliber people. Making broad, self-importance statements about oneself as this person did is what has always turned me off to some companies. World-class is a term that others, outside of an organization or person should use about that organization or person.

    Is Starbucks "world-class" because they say they are? Is Microsoft "world-class" because they identify themselves that way? I submit that anyone who identifies themselves in those terms is, as written elsewhere, not busy enough in the actions of being world-class, rather than trying to convince others through actions that they are.

    Everyone is a customer or potential customer to each other. You may not put money in my coffers today, but you might in the future. Therefore, even if we don’t buy the "do unto others…" mantra, we should treat others as a customer in terms of respect, since we might attract or be turned away in the future.

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    Gerry-agreed…Candidates turn into employees and good integration makes that seamless (did someone say "on-boarding"?). Good to see you here.

    Jonathan-Just to be clear, I didn’t refer to Microsoft as "world class"…just trying to live it as best I can. ; ) Did I mention that I’m tired? ; )

  6. Patrick says:

    Ha, you said poppycock.

  7. Ted says:

    It’s all about keeping in check those human shortcomings we all  know so well…greed, ego, selfishness, pride, did I say ego?

    If we keep our eye on the ball actions always speak louder and the truely world class emerge.  The rest of us have to be content to be followers.

    Sounds like you got it all going on Heather.  I certainly hope Microsoft is world class.  It better be.  Sometimes the office makes the man (or woman).

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Well, like I said, if it truly is world class, you don’t have to tell people about it 🙂