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Recruiting

A Tale Of Two Entrepreneurs

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The other week I had an opportunity to chat with a friend of mine, Leela Sreenivasan from LinkedIn, about my thought process in deciding to leave the corporate world and launch a new business. She was working on a blog post for the LinkedIn Talent Blog and gathering thoughts from me and a fellow new entrepreneur from the talent world, Kara Yarnot (@klyarnot).

In reading the post, I was struck by the similarities between Kara and my paths to starting a business. Both of us had great full-time roles we enjoyed. Both of our moves were triggered in some way by internal drivers within our organizations. We both cited the influence and impact of our networks in supporting our decisions. We also shared the same sentiment about what we felt we’d miss most in making this decision – leading and mentoring teams. The similarities were quite interesting.

Kara’s company, Meritage Talent Solutions, was launched to “disrupt the talent acquisition process and marketplace by providing a blend of solutions to impact the way companies acquire talent”. She has the experience and vision to make a big impact in our space. I look forward to watching Kara and Meritage’s growth.

You can read more about Kara and my views on launching a new business in the original post below.

Have you ever considered striking out on your own? If you think you’re ready to climb out of the corporate recruiting trenches and advise your peers, read on.

In the last several months, two of my favorite corporate talent acquisition leaders stepped away from high-profile corporate roles to launch their own consulting firms. First Kara Yarnot, who previously ran the Talent Acquisition Center of Excellence for Fortune 500 company SAIC, resigned and launched Meritage Talent Solutions. Then Lars Schmidt gave up his Senior Director role at NPR to focus on his new business, Amplify Talent.

In speaking to both, I identified certain commonalities in their stories (beyond, coincidentally, both of them living in the Washington DC metro area).  As they struck out on their own, our protagonists each had the following 5 things going for them:

1. The sudden impetus to go out and do it.

Both Kara and Lars were sitting pretty in their previous jobs – until a business shift made them rethink their careers. In Kara’s case, SAIC split into two separate companies, heralding change for the Talent Acquisition function. And while Lars had been mulling over the opportunity for a while, the catalyst was the departure of his VP HR and the resulting team re-alignment.

2. A powerful and extensive network.

Kara and Lars assert that who they know will be vital to their success. “Our community is incredibly supportive, even to those of us who ‘change sides’,” said Kara. “I have a large number of connections that have given me advice, sent me leads, reviewed my marketing materials and challenged my business model.  I will be forever grateful for all of the advice and counsel.”

Lars agrees that “If you’ve worked hard to cultivate a network, they will be there for you.” For him, launching the business “really reinforced to me how important relationships are – a core learning for any new entrepreneur.”

3. Determination and know-how to drive wholesale change.

Whether you work in Talent Acquisition or any other function, change management is not for the faint-hearted. But apparently it’s something that both Kara and Lars run towards, not flee from. Before launching her firm, Kara did explore other more mainstream careers, “to be sure that other corporate opportunities weren’t going to meet my need for regular change and disruption.”  When they didn’t, Meritage Talent Solutions was born. Having heard her speak with authority on the power of pilots and working on ‘small, manageable chunks’ to make change stick, I know she embraces that challenge.

Similarly, Lars notes how “most recruiting teams today are so heads-down with their requisition loads that they have a hard time thinking differently about how to engage and attract talent.” If your recruiting organization is ‘bogged down in transaction mode’ and needs help thinking differently, Lars says he’s your man.

You can read the rest of the post, 5 Things You Need to Form Your Own Talent Acquisition Consulting Shop, on the LinkedIn Talent blog.

HR

Why Giving Is The Key To Success

Business Network

Recently I read a blog post, like I often do throughout the week. In a sea of sameness, this post stood out. It was a sort of tribute post, crediting a respected HR colleague, Charlie Judy (@HRFishbowl), who coined the term ‘Trench HR’ for the impact he had on another blogger – and our space.

Charlie is the same blogger who gave me a platform for my first blog post, which I later blogged about. He’s the same blogger I’d sit down beside in the SHRM blogger lounge and pick his brain about writing style, frequency, and how to know when you ‘get it right.’ He may not remember those conversations, as I know he’s had an impact on many aspiring bloggers, but the generosity he demonstrated in sharing his expertise so freely made an impact on me. I’m still learning how to become a good writer and blogger. I have a lot of work to do, but knowing I have talented writers in our space to learn from like Charlie, Laurie Ruettimann, Lance Haun, John SumserMatt Charney and others certainly gives me inspiration.

I’m fortunate to encounter that generosity on a regular basis, and it made me think more broadly about this ‘knowledge sharing economy’. We all have passions. We all have expertise and knowledge in particular fields. We all have gaps – things we’re curious about, professionally or personally, where we seek answers and strive to improve. We all play a part in the knowledge share economy.

If you want to be successful in your field, the key is sharing you knowledge freely.

I’ve been the beneficiary of so many friends, peers, mentors, and those I aspire to be like throughout my career. Busy people, who could certainly be doing a lot of things other than spending 30 minutes being peppered by questions from someone trying to learn about their field. I remember, and appreciate, all of them.

Inspired by this knowledge share economy, and how I’ve benefited from it in my career, I make it a point to do my part to give back. I try to share everything I learn (yes, even mistakes), and usually schedule several calls a month meeting new people and seeing how I can help them. We all should. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from those discussions, and you never know when that person you helped might blaze new trails in your field. Chances are there will remember you, and chances are they will pass it on.

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Job Search

How To Embed “Click To Tweet” In Your Blog Posts

twitter-bird-blueThe New York Times recently published a story, “The God of ‘SNL’ Will See You Now“, that featured embedded tweetable highlights throughout the story. Poyter covered this experimentation with tweetable highlights, including this background from NYT Deputy Editor of Interactive, Marc Lavalle:

“It’s a one-off experiment on this story,” Times Deputy Editor of Interactive News Marc Lavallee told Poynter by phone. “It’s not like a feature that’s in the pipeline to be rolled out sitewide.” The Times is continuing to experiment with article presentation online in advance of a redesign next year.

I was intrigued by the concept, and wanted to learn more. After a bit of research, I discovered a post by Blogging Bistro that led me to a new platform – ClickToTweet.com. Click To Tweet allows you to enter custom tweets (with text, handles, url) into an open text field. The platform generates a custom url you can use to allow readers to easily send tweet-sized comments throughout your posts. Here’s an example:

How to embed tweetable highlights in your blog posts (tweet this

I’m going to be experimenting with this in future blog posts, but wanted to share the discovery in the meantime. If you find it useful and incorporate it into your own blog posts, leave a comment with the url so readers can check it out and learn from your examples.

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Job Search

You Never Forget Your First

As we go through life, we’re fortunate to meet some amazing individuals who inspire us; professionally, personally, and when we’re lucky – both.

hr fishbowlI waited roughly a year from the first moment I considered blogging until I launched this site. Why? Blogging was new to me, and I knew I had a lot to learn. Fortunately for me the HR community has a deep pool of experienced and talented bloggers and writers to learn from – and one of the best is Charlie Judy, and his blog HR Fishbowl. Continue reading

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Video Blogging at #SHRM12

Recruiting

And So It Begins, With Gratitude

I’m excited to announce the launch of my new project, Amplify Talent. This platform will focus on all things talent: trends, tools, recruiting best practices, recruitment process optimization, employment branding, social media, and leadership – among other various musings and observations. The content will be based on my recruiting experience gained over the last 14 years across a broad range of industries and organizations. But before I can move forward with this project, I need to reflect on some of the people who helped me along the way.

The year was 1998. I was a rookie technical recruiter with Pencom Systems in my first job straight out of FSU, learning what it meant to be a recruiter. Fortunately, I had an amazing mentor who believed in me and challenged me to be my best – Rick Krostag. Rick was from the old school of recruiting. Give him a phone book and a phone and he’d find five Java programmers by the end of the day. He taught me how to recruit the right way – building strong and lasting relationships, out working everyone, working with integrity, following through, hustling, and candor. Rick played a key role in shaping my approach to recruiting in the early stages of my career. He went on to establish his own recruiting firm, Connective Talent, in Houston with much success. He was a great boss, and I’m proud to call him a friend. Continue reading