A guide to the world of TA – a letter to my younger self

What I've learned about TA

Written by Ben Gledhill

Agency, RPO and Talent Acquisition since 2005. Straight talking Yorkshireman. Passion for experience and technology whilst nailing the basics and influencing on the strategic importance of hiring and retention. Rum drinker occasionally.

Ben Gledhill, Talent Acquisition Manager for Sofology

Dear Gledders,

Thought I would write you a quick letter as from memory you’re a few weeks away from your first real leadership gig at Sofology. I am five years on from you and having been where you are and where you are about to go, I want to pass on a few lessons I have learnt in five years of TA leadership.

It would be cheating to tell you exactly what happens, however I will bend the rules of time a little bit by passing on some wisdom that might become useful. Don’t panic, there will be good and bad which makes it more interesting. Some things you will win, some things you will lose. Either way, you will make it and you will make it well.

Anyway, here you go, use as you see fit:

The key to TA Leadership

Still finding out about that one. You will hear loads about “the top table”. Ignore it. Build relationships with business leaders talking business language, influence using TA data and leverage against business performance. Trust me on this one. Align yourself to your HRD. You are part of the people team, not a lone ranger.

Experience over process, process over tech

HRTech is a monster that grows and grows. It is nothing without a good process built behind it and if that process is not a positive experience, throw it in the sea. Also don’t worry about buzzwords like CRM, chatbot, AI, automation etc. People still haven’t got a clue in 2020.

Protect your team

You are nothing without them. Grow their capability and enable them to compete.

Be able to write business cases in your sleep

You’ll get naff all without being able to ask the C-suite for money. Learn what CAPEX is, understand how OPEX works and become best friends with Finance. Put a £ sign on everything. Being able to illustrate your ROI will set you apart.

Make resilience your best friend

You’ll get tested, knocked and even criticised fairly harshly. Build an inner strength. Learn to manage your rollercoaster and protect your emotions.

Make emotional intelligence your second best friend

Be self aware, understand your emotions and those of others, empathise in everything you do and always read your environment.

We have imposter syndrome

Yup. Took me years to admit it and then I realised loads of people we know have it too. It will crush you at times but it does get better. Ride the wave because actually, we are not half bad.

Personal brand

Last but not least, don’t be a knobhead. It’s a tough industry, people will come and go and you will see people do or say things that will surprise you. Think before you type and share.

Now you are probably thinking “where is the bit about employer branding or candidate experience?”…don’t worry about that, you will pick up technical skills easily. The above will hopefully get you where you need to be and get you noticed.

By the way. 2020. Watch out for it.

Gledders x


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