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Practicing selfless talent acquisition

Recently, I wrote about the two factors that will radically change the nature of talent acquisition; art and generosity. You can read the full post about creative and generous talent acquisition here, but the long and short of it is that companies that are serious about building and connecting with specific talent must do so in a way that is selflessly generous to the individuals that make up that community. It is no small feat and it is surely the harder course of action. Selflessly giving is far more of an effort than selfishly taking.

Unfortunately, today’s social web is rife with examples of self-serving actions, frequently disguised as ‘learning moments’ or illustrations. We are mindful of duplicating this very act so with purpose, we will not point to any specific instances of such selfish social media behavior, but rather focus on the nuance of such behavior for the purpose of identifying an alternative approach. As with the original post about generous talent acquisition efforts, we will turn to the world of marketing.

The new age of communication has ushered in a unique career choice for those who have a perspective over how today’s digital social web should be used for the purpose of marketing a business. These self anointed gurus, rock stars and experts have a very standard playbook: comb the internet for ghastly examples of what they consider to be unforgivable social media violations and then continuously and consistently point them out as “ghastly examples of what should never be done over social media”. While there will always be a very valid case that should be used as a lesson to those in the marketing trade, such as the very well discussed case of Kenneth Cole inappropriately and insensitively jumping on a trending twitter hash tag, today they are few and far between. This relegates the so called social media gurus/rock stars experts to mere shtick. Pointing over and over again to some poorly managed small mom and pop company that commits a blunder. In the latter part of last decade, it made some sense, but sadly, these ‘teaching’ moments have devolved into what amounts to public shaming and bullying. It serves no one but the so-called rock star, giving them fodder for their blogs, books and next speaking gig. Not selfless at all, in fact very selfish.

Now let’s take a look at a very genuine and sincere approach to generosity that is also being used in a marketing capacity, and can be easily extrapolated out into a talent acquisition method. Gary Vaynerchuk is not a self-proclaimed anything; he is a real honest to goodness hands on practitioner who has used new communication effectively and successfully. (If you don’t know anything about Mr. Vaynerchuk here is a good place to start – be warned his language can be ‘colorful’ at times). Most importantly, Vanyerchuck has used social media SELFLESSLY. His books and talks are not at all public shaming of companies that are ‘doing it wrong’, but examples of how he did it right, why it worked, and why it benefits everyone involved. He talks about a thank you economy that is built upon caring and giving not to a marketplace ‘persona’ but to the individual. Know the individual, care about what he or she has to say, understand their needs, fulfill their needs if you can, and do so never expecting to gain business. The beauty is that the approach not only edifies the individual but has the ancillary benefit of naturally creating the opportunity to serve this individual as a customer at some point in the future.

Talent acquisition is just now arriving at the place of generosity and the approach will surely evolve over time. To accelerate the ability to serve the talent community we must start first with each member as an individual, and understand not just the black and white of their resume, but the story of who they are as professionals. The great epic they are writing, fueled by their passions, skills and aspirations that eventually will be their entire career. As talent acquisition professionals we have a choice; fill our demands when we need them filled for the sole purpose of filling the demand, or invest in advancing the career aspirations of the individual and the very community of talent in which they exist.

Choose the more difficult road.

Choose generosity.

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