Your Virtual Talent Acquisition Chief of Staff.

I want to set clear expectations up front by being transparent, that this post is about how I arrived at creating an Advisory service firm for senior leaders. Yes, I have a website that explains this, but I also thought some of you might be interested in the story behind the website. The story of one previous corporate head of global Talent Acquisitions move to the other side of the fence as well.

If you’re the head of talent acquisition reading this, I’m also asking for direct feedback on what I have created to help senior leaders in our industry mange ever increasing complex recruiting strategies and organizations.

My passion and your role

I have found, strike that, known what my professional passion in life has been for a while now, so it only made sense to create a boutique advisory firm, Intelligent Talent Solutions that helps senior leaders improve business results, while I follow what I love and do as well.

In short, I wanted to create a service that allows Talent Acquisition leaders the ability to execute and produce optimal results against their own strategies faster, by learning from the mistakes and lessons of other TA leaders, including myself. Let me give you some specific examples for practical context of how:

1) You’re thinking about building and internal sourcing team to help you scale. You believe you need to focus on proactively identifying passive talent but you have never built this capability before. You want to know what is the best way to structure and focus the team (by Job Families, Geographies, Business Unit alignment, hybrid model)? How does the sourcing team effectively partner with your existing recruiters and hiring managers? What are the metrics and KPI’s that show progress? Can I move existing resources around or do I need to hire specialists? Should you leverage an RPO or staff augmentation vendor, and the dozens of other things you need to consider to make this strategy work.

2) You want to create more impactful metrics that show executive leadership the true value of what you do. You’re not sure if the issues getting in your way is data integrity tied to how the ATS/CRM is configured, the operational SLA’s you have in place, or it’s simply the way you are presenting the data is not resonating the right way with your audience?

3) You’re trying to create a quality of hire framework that identifies and assess a higher performing employee while reducing negative attrition. How do you get the executive support and hiring manager accountability given most of this problem is out of the control of you and your team? Is the intake meeting and strategy conversations with hiring managers a hindrance not a help? What’s the best way to analyze the data to support the strategy? What are the change management issues I need to be aware of so I can get buy in from all stakeholders (my team, hiring managers, HR and even candidates)?

Being the head of Talent Acquisition is hard

Running a recruiting function can be a complex beast. Developing your own people to be more effective in their roles. Effectively managing up and across with HR and Business leadership on the value that you and a Talent Acquisition function brings. Making critical decisions on the right Org alignment. Identifying the right Tech solutions that produce the optimal results. Analyzing the data to help tell the story of challenges and opportunities in the business. We could go on and on.

When we think about how we develop our strategies, plans and ultimately, execution of them, our traditional options to validate if they are sound have been:

  • Rely on our own experience and lessons learned from previous organizations.
  • Rely on our own team/boss and their ability to contribute to the strategy/plan and then execute.
  • Get access to business cases from subscription services, and then work out if they could be tweaked in relation to how things need to get done in our own organization. A best practice case study about Google does not always cut it, right.
  • Pay a consultant a lot of money to come in and make recommendations on best approach.
  • Reach out to our network for opinions and advice.
  • Go to a conference.

While some of these traditional options above helped me in the past, I was still challenged in a lot of cases getting the right answers I trusted (unbiased), or getting to them quickly enough on some of the more time sensitive issues I need to deal with. What I found to be the issues or limitations to the traditional approaches were:

  • My own experiences only took me so far, particularly when I was moving into uncharted territory in a new role or expanded one.
  • In some cases, the experience and intellectual capacity of people in my organization could not offer value or challenge my own thinking because they had not been the head of TA themselves and had the historical battle scars.
  • In a lot of cases I could not discuss some of my challenges or thinking internally because of confidentiality given some of my changes would impact my own people and their roles/responsibilities.
  • Some of the subscription services were incredibly expensive for how often I would use them and the case studies I had access to still required the effort to translate into how things get done in my own organization. Additionally, pretty much all of these vendor’s advisors also never spent a day in the chair of a TA leader, so their advice did not resonate with me. I also wanted an unbiased opinion, and most times what I was being told was really them just trying to sell me more product.
  • In lots of cases I just wanted an opinion and jump on a quick call vs hiring a consultant on a project where I would have to spend half my time explaining what I do before we even got to the problem at hand.
  • While my network has been one of the greatest assets I have developed over my career with trusted advice, it still became challenging to find mutual time to connect with other busy TA leaders, and in a lot of cases they could only give me so much information because of IP restrictions or other ‘secret sauce’ related issues.
  • Conferences can be a hit or miss affair with presenters who never been a head of Talent Acquisition so the content can be nothing but the latest buzzwords tied to a sales pitch anyway.

What makes this advisory service so different and special?

Truth be told, I am not special. I’m just a guy that has the battle scars of learning as much about what does not work vs what does on my leadership journey in the last 20+ years. I have been the global head of Talent Acquisition with experience on five continents for some big and complex organizations, and if you look at most consultants in our industry today, only a few can claim this experience.

As I said from the get-go, that I want to be transparent about what this article is. The primary reason I am writing this in the first place is to raise awareness. Like most new companies, making people aware of what you do is part of the challenge. Is my advisory service for everyone, nope. To be fair I don’t want it to be fore everyone as per my rules of engagement on my website:

If you are looking for answers that might make you feel a little uncomfortable on the journey, enabling you to a better outcome, then you have come to the right place. If you’re a no nonsense, no BS, type of person, then we want you as a client, and I believe you want us. We are serious about what we do but we can all still have fun doing it.

Based off the hundreds of conversations I have had with TA leaders and CHRO’s well before even starting my own advisory firm, these are the three primary scenarios where I believe I can add the most value:

1) Experienced leader needing to scale = You are an experienced recruiting leader who just wants to ramp quickly in their new company (or expanded role) or need to leverage a resource that you can’t internally for capability or confidentiality reasons.

2) New leader assimilation = You are HR/Business leader moving into their new roles as the head of TA and who has the business experience but needs help accelerating their all things Talent Acquisition knowledge

3) Hi-potential leader = You are a manager being groomed and promoted into a Talent Acquisition leadership role.

How it works — A flexible model based on you, not me.

The first thing I wanted to make sure I built into the model was to solve for the historical challenges related to flexibility and timing. Personally, I think a lot of the traditional time and materials models are broken.

Flexible, as in you don’t feel locked into only one way to engage. You could be looking for something as easy as quick feedback on a critical email to leadership, access to a best practice template, through to more complex discussions around optimal org design and 3-year business plan conversations. The advisory model must accommodate for the realities of how we run our complex functions as not everything can be perfectly planned and timed.

Speed, as sometimes you need immediate support on those time sensitive issues that we know always pop up unexpectedly in our roles. The solution to your problem based off my experience is you don’t always need to engage a consultant on an overengineered SOW tied to a bloated hourly rate, that takes months to push through procurement.

  • A mix of regular structured and ad-hoc confidential conversations. I have found the best mix is getting regular calls in the calendar on the cadence that makes sense to your situation as we know we all get busy, but additionally the flexibility to act more quickly and jump on a call given those time sensitive issues.
  • Access to best practices, benchmarking, tools and templates. Given my leadership roles for the last 10 years, but even more specifically in the last few, I have had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of leaders around their challenges and best practices on all things recruiting. Sharing the lessons learned from my own experience and hundreds of others across a diverse set of companies and industries.

How much does it cost?

Send me an email or give me a call as I had to create some type of call to action :-)

As Jerry Maguire said….’Help me, help you’

As a recruiting executive reading this, I welcome feedback on my approach and advisory model, as I learnt many years ago, that creating solutions in vacuum without getting continued voice of the customer feedback is a fool’s errand. I truly want to provide an added value service for the industry and do it by leveraging what I am most passionate about.

If you have never met or worked with me in the past, and are curious about my style and approach, then here is a link to my articles. In particular, this article I believe best articulates my thinking and core principles: So you want to be the head of Talent Acquisition?.

Don’t be shy with your comments here publicly or if you prefer to give me your thoughts privately, you can email me at

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