Why a Career in Talent Acquisition is Downright Awesome
If you’re in talent acquisition (or recruitment as some describe it), my guess is you didn't grow up seeking to join the profession (I sure didn't). Like many kids growing up today, you probably fantasised about landing in show business as an actor or singer, or perhaps enjoying fame and wealth as an athlete. And like many Asian kids, you were probably being groomed or brainwashed (perhaps both) into becoming an engineer, accountant, or doctor (I sure was).
If your parent’s dream didn't come true, or your own for that matter, don’t worry; talent acquisition is an amazing profession to accidentally land into or choose - one that offers a wealth of career development and growth opportunities, talent consulting/advisory capabilities, the building of relationships and, well, the chance to be the smartest, most outgoing and popular person in the room. You don’t need to see it as an entry point into Human Resources or a temporary career till you find something else to pursue.
I have held various roles and switched careers three times before I discovered my true passion, transformative talent acquisition. I started out as a Civil Engineer and it was an adventurous journey discovering my true calling at work. I thrive in a challenging and constantly evolving environment. I embrace change in a heart beat. I am also a Third Culture Kid and call Singapore my sixth home. Answering the question, "Where are you from", is a tricky one for me. So coming from someone with my varied background, here are six of the many reasons why accidentally landing into, or choosing a career in talent acquisition is downright awesome:
1 - A conversation with you can change someone’s life
Other than buying a property, getting married, and having kids, few things in life have a bigger impact on an individual than landing or missing out on a great career opportunity. In talent acquisition, the fate of a candidate’s future often rests in your hands; you get to tell the individual on the other end of the line, “We’d like to make you an offer.” It’s an exceptional feeling. Even though you can’t hire everyone you engage with, you can help improve their chances and the job search experience by uncovering their hidden skills, coaching them, making them confident and prepared for the often stressful and time consuming journey ahead.
2 - You will be popular at parties and amongst friends & family
There’s a terrifying amount of misinformation about searching for a job or succeeding at landing an offer. Most don’t know where to start, let alone write a good CV/resume and interview well. As a talent acquisition professional, you know what’s trending, what’s accurate and what should be avoided. You know what a good resume should look like, the importance of networking, social media, and the skills/competencies companies are seeking. You’re an expert interviewer, who knows the questions to ask and what employers look for in an answer. You are brimming with valuable knowledge, and you have the opportunity to share best practices with total strangers at parties, networking events, and friends and family. In addition, you are social and outgoing. Cold calling, speaking to strangers day in and day out, and convincing an individual to consider a new role would not be possible if you were an introvert. Hence strangers will seek you out at parties, want to get to know you, and your family and friends will be grateful for the guidance you are able to provide.
3 - Even the dullest conversation partner will open up to you
Continuously training, studying and growing in the field of talent acquisition, engaging in conversation at a party with engineers, scientists, executives and all kinds of complex professions has become as natural as tying your shoe laces. In fact, 45 minutes into the evening, you’re five questions in and moving to your second round of drinks. So no more boring parties or unfruitful networking events.
4 - You can literally track down anything on the internet
Your ability to find particularly difficult things online, quickly and easily is not just reserved for uncovering quality and passive candidates. When you need to dig up a long-lost friend, bars serving difficult to find craft beers, best cheap eats on your next trip, if the information is available online, you can find it. After all, you frequently look for names of that one person who attended that one event and spoke on that one topic a while back. Expertise in Boolean, Facebook Graph Search, data analytics, social media, and an unnatural ability to stay organised are but a few of the attributes that become second nature to talent acquisition professionals.
5 - You have an immense impact on your organization
Plenty of research has pointed out that within the Human Resources function, talent acquisition ranks at the top when it comes to impact to the business bottom line and the ability to meet set strategic objectives. When you are good at your job and stay on top of your talent acquisition profession, finding the right quality talent within the target time frame for a given role can lead to new products making it to market on time, new markets penetrated into successfully, and before the competition, or a major new innovation worth millions. Not only does the company benefit with the right talent at the right time, your hiring managers will respect you (even adore you at times) for making their lives easier.
6 - You'll never have a bad second date, ever
Endless hours spent on screening and assessing candidates enables you to become a well-honed truth seeker. You understand the professional experiences and qualifications employers demand from candidates, but you also have the ability to identify vital soft skills such as character, personality, leadership potential and cultural fit. Of course dating and acquiring talent are incomparable, but the crossover is apparent. If you’re single, you know what you’re looking for, and you know what to avoid.
So yes, talent acquisition is a solid career path and it is downright awesome! It can be fun, satisfying, and when you are good at it, of immense strategic value to your organization. The amount of work you put into making sure employers hire the best individual (and not the most available) within target time frames is a form of art never fully understood by those outside the profession. In talent acquisition, you are a talent advisor and you represent your organization as a brand ambassador, customer service representative, truth seeker and talent identifier. It is also challenging, fun, and full or variety and surprises. If you truly practice talent acquisition, it would be difficult to get bored.
The next time you’re amazed at how smart, talented and adept to handle challenging life situations you are, stop and recall – Yep, I’m in talent acquisition and loving it!
In one of my next blogs, I will go deeper into what "Talent Acquisition" really means and what it takes to succeed and do it right.
About the Author
Sadaf Pitt is a Talent Acquisition advisor whose career spans two decades across North America and Asia. She has held diverse roles in a variety of sectors before she discovered her true passion: Transformative & Strategic Talent Acquisition. She is a strong advocate for boosting Talent Acquisition’s voice and value in Asia’s leading companies. She is also an adult Third Culture Kid and Multi-Local. Answering the question, "Where are you from", is a tricky one for her. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.