Today, we chat with VP of Talent Acquisition for Global Business Solutions at Fiserv, Bryan Schreiber. Bryan walks us through how recruitment has changed over the years, whilst still remaining true to a single core philosophy: Building relationships. We get to understand that the more honest a company is and the more they work on building that initial relationship with a potential employee, the more likely they are to find the right candidates and indeed keep them.
[0:00:06.1] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to Me. A podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the frontline’s of modern recruitment.
[0:00:12.8] FEMALE: We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life. We want to understand how they make decisions, where they are willing to take risks, and what it looks like when they fail.
[0:00:22.7] RS: No holds barred, completely off-the-cuff interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs and everyone in between.
[0:00:31.1] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.
[0:00:39.7] MALE: Talent acquisition, it’s a fantastic career. You are trusted by the organization, you get to work with the C-Suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between, and everybody knows you.
[0:00:52.0] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson. And you’re about to hear the best in the biz Talk Talent to Me.
[0:00:59.6] RS: Here with me today on Talk Talent to Me is the vice president of talent acquisition for Global Business Solutions over at Fiserv, Bryan Schreiber. Bryan, welcome to the podcast, how are you today?
[0:01:10.7] BS: Doing great Rob. Thank you so much for having me, I really appreciate it.
[0:01:14.6] RS: Yeah, really pleased to have you. Lots to go into. First off though, you are fresh off of the conference circuit, right? You performed on stage recently. Would you mind telling me a little bit about the session you shared?
[0:01:27.5] BS: Sure. I didn’t perform, but I actually was part of a terrific panel that spoke about some of the macro forces that are impacting talent acquisition efforts at a variety of different types of organizations. Everything from blue collar roles, to white collar roles, to technology opportunities. It was a good, freewheeling conversation about challenges that I think a lot of organizations are facing these days, because of the changing landscape of what work means and how companies are reacting to that.
So, it was a wonderful discussion. We had a great audience with a lot of individuals that were from large organizations as well as some that were more entrepreneurial. So really enjoyed it and got to share the stage with two other individuals that came from—one from a large, huge staffing company, global staffing company, and another individual that was the chief HR officer for a large ecommerce platform. So it was a lot of fun, good discussion.
[0:02:23.5] RS: What are some of the key takeaways? If you had to give us the short of the long from that panel, what kind of stuff did you want to share?
[0:02:29.4] BS: So the two individuals I spent time with on that particular panel were both more from the HR side of the house, where I reside more on the talent acquisition side of the coin.
So, a lot of what I spoke about was around branding and presence and visibility and what it means in this particular marketplace right now for talent to be, if you’re not a consumer brand, for example, that has a level of visibility that just comes naturally. What are you doing as a commercial brand to be more visible to job seekers that you want to bring to your doorstep/that you want to have come inside?
The HR professionals that were on the panel were really focused into engagement and culture and those types of things that keep people within their environments/keep the retention numbers up. So there was a good discussion and a breakdown between what it takes to get people to the doorstep, and then what it means to engage those individuals once they arrive.
The moderator was terrific as well. He was a consultant that focuses into executive leadership coaching. He kept the conversation moving and we were able to take a lot of questions, as well, from the audience.
What we found is that there’s some wonderfully creative ideas to engage workforces out there, whether they’d be remote or in house. Some companies are doing it better than others.
And also, what we found is that there’s similar challenges across the board that companies are facing: As it pertains to getting people to look at their opportunities; to recognize their brand and have a thought process of, “Oh, maybe I’ll want to go look at that opportunity or work for that company.” And that, to me as a talent acquisition professional, probably the biggest challenge right now is getting people to the doorstep.
Not everyone can be Google or Amazon or Apple or one of those ubiquitous brands that everyone knows. The company that I am a part of (which is a wonderful organization) is huge. And they’re involved in everybody’s lives, every single day, and people don’t necessarily know it.
Fiserv is a part of merchant for services and payments facilitation. And we’re all over the place but people don’t necessarily know that they’re utilizing our products and services. So, for companies like ours, it’s important to get that brand awareness out there in a way that really connects.
[0:04:43.1] RS: Yeah, that makes sense. So, I want to make sure we learn a little bit about you before we get too deep in the weeds here, Bryan. Would you mind sharing some of your background and how you wound up at your role in Fiserv?
[0:04:53.6] BS: Sure. I’ve been in the talent acquisition space for a long time, about 25 years now (more than I’d like to admit). And I originally got my roots/I started an agency recruiting, technology recruiting back in the 90s (I call it the boom-boom 90s) when technology recruiting was just out of control. There was more roles than there were technologist in all different spaces, whether it be database development or developed network administrators or software developers. It was a crazy market.
I grew up in that space and moved into corporate recruiting around 2000. I’ve been in corporate recruiting for a little over 20 years now. I’ve had leadership roles down south, before the AT&T merger, running recruiting for BellSouth business. I spent some time with Equifax, running recruiting at Equifax, and have evolved through different industry verticals over the course of several years.
I believe good recruiting is good recruiting and it can be done successfully within any industry vertical, so long as you know how to connect and how to really engage, and get candidates to understand what the value proposition is for coming and joining the company. It doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to, “you got to be an expert in one field.” It’s still about relationships.
But, during COVID, I actually was doing executive recruiting. That was hit pretty hard by the COVID downturn, specifically because the organization I was with (which was a wonderful executive search firm) worked heavily with management consulting firms. So, a lot of management consulting firms drew back on their recruiting at the partner levels during COVID, and I left that particular opportunity. Another one presented itself—which is a private equity owned organization that had been a carve-out of Fiserv, and that organization was called Tegra118.
I spent the better part of a year helping to carve that organization off of Fiserv, which still had an ownership stake, and stand it up and merge it with some other organizations. And then, I actually joined Fiserv, as the larger entity, as the VP of Talent Acquisition about a year ago, and it’s been a terrific journey. Fiserv’s a Fortune 150, we are global in scope, 45,000 plus employees, $16 billion plus in revenue. So we’re definitely one of the larger organizations out there.
In the United States, I think we’re about 27,000 people. Big footprints, great organization, wonderful culture. It was a great opportunity to join and run recruiting for the global business solutions division, which is really the client-facing sales part of the organization for small and medium sized businesses. Client support, production support—there’s a number of different types of roles that fall under the GBS umbrella.
[0:07:32.4] RS: Got it. Would you ever go back to a role where you were doing purely executive recruiting?
[0:07:39.7] BS: I liked executive recruiting. What I find with people that reach that level—I don’t know if I’d go back to it necessarily. It’s one of those things that when you’re in a good place, you’re in a good place. But, executive recruiting is interesting to me because people at those levels tend to know what they really want in an opportunity. They’re very concise and clear about what that next step looks like in their career when they reach executive levels.
So it makes it easier to setup guard rails, so to speak, to travel that candidate down as you’re looking for opportunities that might meet with their background. Also, on the clients side, clients are very specific about what they want at the executive levels. They tend to be very targeted on: “Go search from those companies or those particular organizations that are competitive” or “go find a type of profile that looks exactly like this experience and background.”
So to me, executive recruiting can be very challenging because of the cycles and how long they are. But, in many ways, dealing with the candidates and expectations is a lot easier. I think there’s push and pull to it and it’s a fun field to be in. I don’t know if I’d go back to it.
[0:08:46.2] RS: Yeah. Do you think that clarity around what they want in a role—is that something that comes with more senior candidates? Is it less common to find for early to mid-level roles?
[0:08:59.3] BS: I think there’s more of a broad set of opportunities that exist for early career and mid-level career job seekers. But again, it’s a two-way street, because you also have to have employers that are willing to look at people’s background experience: What they bring to the table and how it can be applied for their particular environment.
I think one of the biggest challenges to corporate recruiting in any setting, and I would think that other leaders in talent acquisition would agree with this, is that hiring managers will become too narrow in the scope of what they’re seeking. They’ll say: “I need you to check all these boxes for me when it comes to hiring a candidate.”
And you can’t teach soft skills, you can’t teach motivation, you can’t teach engagement, you can’t teach a lot of those things that come naturally but are large parts of whether or not a person’s successful. I think in early career and mid-career people have more of a broad opportunity to look at different types of roles, if the companies they’re looking at believe they can add value with some training and development.
At the mature levels/the senior levels, people have been at it for 20 years/15 years, they tend to understand: If I’m a controller now in a large organization, I want to be the CFO. If I’m a marketing director or marketing VP, the next opportunity for me is to be the chief marketing officer.
Those are the types of things that—or, in the consulting space, if I’m a senior manager in a particular industry or vertical within my current management consulting firm, I want to be a partner or step up to the next level in the next firm I go to. So people tend to have more of a defined career path.
If you look at the consulting space, as an example, years and years and years ago, many of the consulting firms (the large ones) would align people to industry verticals from the moment they started. They would live and grow up within those verticals. And a lot of the consulting firms now are a bit more board about the level of experience and exposure they’re giving people. Which makes for more exciting opportunities and makes that person better rounded, honestly, when they come out of those consulting firms, as an example, to go into corporate America.
I think, again back to what I mentioned earlier, it’s a human type of an industry to be in: Recruiting. And I know there’s wonderful AI tools out there and machine learning and these great pieces of technology we can use to source and interact with candidates. But, it still doesn’t match what you can get engaging as a good recruiter with a good candidate, and building relationship, and finding out what they want and finding out what they’re capable of, and then helping them on the journey of discovering that.
If you’re in a good corporate environment that’s open to those things, you can find some real diamonds in the rough.
[0:11:46.0] RS: For the folks who maybe have less clarity for the fact that there’s a wider swath of opportunities available to them, I fear that they may not be very forthcoming about their lack of clarity. If you ask someone, the kind of person we’re speaking about: “What do you want in a role?” They’re going to tell you and their answer, if they’re a good interviewee, is probably going to describe the role that they’re interviewing for, you know?
How do you act in a consultative fashion to make sure you really understand what people want, as opposed to going down the path where they’re describing to you the job because they want a job?
[0:12:21.7] BS: Well, you almost have to go back to before the recruiters were ever speaking with a candidate. And why I’m saying that, is because a good recruiting team is trained in a corporate setting. Is trained in what their organization does on a broad level. They should understand the ins and outs.
And Fiserv is a huge organization. There’s a lot of different products and services that we offer. Again, we’re everywhere. And understanding the breath and the depth of who we are and what we do—if the recruiter can explain and position that with a candidate and understand that for themselves as they’re having a discussion with the candidate, it can help them as the recruiter to think more broadly about where this person could fit.
So part of recruiting is knowing what you’re selling, almost. Knowing the availability or the breath or the opportunities that exist/that you could potentially align somebody to as you’re digging into their background and as you’re talking to them.
One of the things that I found over the years, and this is kind of a steady evolution, is that candidates don’t do as much research into opportunities as they used to.
Part of that’s driven by the fact that you have platforms where people can apply for multiple roles at a time or they can be applied for roles that they never knew they applied for, for example. And they get contacted by recruiters and they really have no idea what they’re discussing. So they don’t do research.
The onus then goes on to the recruiter, which is initially that first contact with an organization, to explain what the company does; what the opportunities could be; why I’m talking to you; why you should consider us. It’s that level of engagement and that first discussion that really matters. Especially in this market, when people are being contacted by numerous recruiters. And they’re hearing about all different types of roles that are coming form all different angles.
The best recruiters will win. It’s one of the things we talked about at the conference last week: That whole level of engagement starts not just at the interface between the recruiter and the candidate, it starts even before that. Training the recruiters; developing them; making sure they know how to communicate the broader message of the organization they’re recruiting for. Some recruiters are good at that, some are not.
I think the organizations that do a good job of that, and arm their recruiters with the right types of materials and training, are going to be more successful. In this market right now, you have to imagine, anybody that you’re talking to, bringing through an interview process, taking to an offer, accepting an offer, getting ready to start—they’re continuing to interview with other organizations all along the way. They’re not stopping at all.
They might continue to have conversations with companies after you hire them. And, actually, that’s becoming a very normal thing. So, back to that whole engagement piece: How are you engaging? What are you selling? Are you delivering on what you’re selling? They’re all parts of the puzzle that have to be lined up in a really cohesive way. So that the candidate looks at the process of being recruited—let’s say they’re looking at four different companies. And that interaction with that particular recruiter on the team that I’m running (or somebody else), that one was the most meaningful relationship that they built.
They’re choosing that role at that company as much for that relationship they built with the recruiter, as they are for that opportunity. I know it sounds kind of high in the sky or pollyannish to say that, but where do all the questions come back when people are going through onboarding? They always come back to the recruiter. The recruiter was that first relationship they built.
So, it’s really important that recruiters understand the opportunities that exist: The company culture, the environment, and then know how to communicate it in a way that they can (as they’re talking to a candidate) understand where that candidate best fits. Because then, you are engaging with the candidate. You’re not just listening to them saying: “I’m looking at this job only.” You’re having a much more impactful conversation.
[0:16:15.9] RS: I like how you said: “The best recruiters will win.” In the realm of relationship building, what are some ways recruiters can stand out throughout the process?
[0:16:26.4] BS: Well, I got an email the other day from one of the recruiters on the team. And it was from a candidate that we’d recently hired, that came onboard. And his feedback on this particular recruiter was that she was the most knowledgeable person/recruiter that he had spoken with. She was able to explain the role; the company; how the company actually impacts people’s lives.
If you think about a company like Fiserv, where if you’re swiping a credit card, 60% of the payments in the United States may go through one of our platforms. If you’re using Apple Pay, if you’re using Zell, you’re utilizing our services and our products. We’re everywhere. And people don’t necessarily realize it. But when we explain that to candidates, it helps to connect the dots for them, between: “This is a company that literally makes commerce and business go” and “it’s something that to be a part of—I’m part of a much larger influential organization that really powers the world.”
To be able to explain that in a way that a candidate can understand and connect the dots back to their own life, that’s engagement. It’s easy. I liken it to this: If you have a street, and the street’s half a mile long, and it’s lined with beautiful homes, gorgeous lawns, beautiful front porches, wonderful doors—but there’s these parties going on, on different lawns. And as you look closer, one lawn’s—one house is Amazon, one says “Google”, one says “Apple”, one says “Goodyear”, one says “Kraft Heinz.”
All consumer brands that people know—and they know those brands and they use those brands and they know how those brands impact their lives. So they gravitate towards those brands. It’s human nature. Whereas, other companies on that street/other homes on that street are equally amazing places to work—amazing places to go hang out on that front porch, take a step across the doorstep, find out more about that environment and see if you want to live there. Because, basically what you’re asking people to do is come live in your company and work at your company.
So, if you look at it in that model, what are you doing from an engagement standpoint to make it attractive (first of all)? And then, what are you doing to get them onto that front porch and over that doorstep? The best feedback I get is from those candidates, when I talk to them after they have been with us for 30 days or 60 days and say: “What was your recruiting experience like? Is the role you’re in what we shared with you during the process?”
Those are the type of things that when you get the answers back that: “Yes, this is where I belong and this is what I thought it was going to be and I am excited to be here and I’m having a great time.” Those are the types of things that really, to me, are where recruiting clicks with a candidate or recruiting clicks with even a hiring team and the engagement process of how they engage candidates. Because, honestly, you have to do that through the interview process as well. It’s got to be selling at every point.
And, once the person’s hired, then you pass the baton off to the team that hired them and hope that they are doing the same. It’s still relationship-driven. And first year attrition rates right now are through the roof. I think in many cases, it’s because people aren’t getting what they expected to get when they arrived in an organization or what they were told was in an organization.
So, you have to be consistent with the messaging from start to finish. And, actually, there is really no finishing point because you should always be engaging and selling with that person once they’ve started. So, that’s why we’re joined at the hip very closely with HR, with training and development. Those relationships are really important as well.
[0:20:08.8] RS: There is an amount about a role, which a recruiter needs to know, in order to successfully conduct a phone screen and advance or reject someone. Usually, they’ve just come to understand a general profile, a background about someone and know that that’s the kind of person the hiring manager wants to see and they just move them along. It sounds like you’re describing recruiters knowing a lot more than that.
What do you think is the difference? What is the additional information recruiters need to know to really understand a role and really hone in on whether it’s going to be right for someone, beyond just enough about the role, to understand what the hiring manager is looking for, and then pass them on?
[0:20:52.3] BS: When we do our intakes with hiring managers, we talk about the core aspects of what are real, true, hardcore requirements for the role. We’re a FinTech company, so people that come out of payments backgrounds or merchant services backgrounds or competitive environments are obviously going to be the best people that we could potentially look at and consider.
People that come out of credit companies—those are always going to be the type of folks we’ll probably gravitate towards first. But, having said that: In the technology space, for example, programming and development languages are pretty consistent across different industry verticals. So, understanding the hardcore of the actual required experience or required skillset is something that we dig into.
Then we do ask specifically: “Are you open to people out of other industry verticals? Are you comfortable with bringing folks onboard into a marketing role, but they haven’t been in marketing in financial services or FinTech?” Maybe they came from retail or they came from a consumer type of brand, but they have a great marketing background or data analytics background.
It’s one of those things that we are clear with our hiring managers: What’s important to you from a core standpoint? Give me the top five things, and then let’s talk about where we could actually give a little. Because, the reality is (and this has been consistent for years, this isn’t just new because of COVID), 75%/80%—that’s about what you’re going to get if you look at a candidate pool these days. You’ll probably get 75 to 80% of what you want if you are the hiring manager.
Getting a 100%? You might occasionally find that when you find good referrals and people that know people from previous work environments. That’s where you typically get your 100% matches. But, that 75 to 80% level, that’s a hall of fame number. If you can hit that level of skillset with consistency and say: “I’ve got 75% of the skills here” —you’re going to have to go train the other 25—those are hall of fame numbers.
You’re doing your job as a recruiter, putting a slight together for hiring managers, if you’re getting most of those things with the core skills defined. It’s sometimes a tough conversation you have to have with your hiring teams, but it’s reality. And most hiring managers understand that. You’re not (generally speaking) hiring the CEO or the chief operating officer, where you really do have to drill in and have a 100%.
But, what I find, is that most hiring teams are very much open to that. And also, I’d say, in this particular marketplace right now, from a sourcing standpoint/an engagement standpoint, you got to be using every single, solitary intelligent idea you can come up with to attract people to your brand and to your opportunities.
That could be working with third parties—it’s the different platforms that you can engage with that exist out there. It’s user communities, it’s early career hiring—there’s so many different facets of recruiting that exists right now and it has to be an all of the above approach. There is no magic bullet.
[0:24:03.3] RS: I’m glad that you called out the need to sometimes have hard conversations with hiring managers. Because, in that case where you would say: “Hey, are you open to someone maybe outside your industry?” If they said no, you can’t just take that marching order, can you? You can’t just be like: “Okay, I’ll go find you someone with a 100% industry experience or all these relevant industry experience.” You need to educate them, right?
You need to say: “Look, we can go find this person but please know that you are cutting off a huge amount of the available folks.” Is that the conversation you kind of have to have with folks at that point?
[0:24:37.5] BS: It is. And for certain roles, the industry experience might be one of those five core things: “Yeah, I’ve got to have somebody from financial services or FinTech” or “I have to have somebody from technology background.” Then, you have to get into the conversation of the depth of what that experience looks like. Is it a couple years of exposure working in a large organization, like a Fortune 50 where they’ve had great exposure to a big organization? Or is it ten years or is it 15 years?
That basically just spurs further conversation. I will say, that the roles that my team works on a lot—we work on a lot of business development roles that are out and working with small and medium size businesses—those people don’t necessarily have to come from a FinTech or financial services background. It’s certainly helpful. But, what we find is sales and business development (those kind of chops, that experience or that behavior stack), having it be wired to the same industry doesn’t always mean that that person is going to be successful.
The sales behavior stack is typically a utilitarian behavior stack. So it’s: “I’m in this business to support my lifestyle and support myself. I want to win. I’m in it to achieve and succeed.” And it’s this driving type of a behavior stack. And good sales people can typically, if they’re trained and developed on different products, can sell pretty much any different product.
It’s more about their personality and how they build relationships. And, back to what I’ve said before, how they engage. I think the same thing goes for good recruiters. Whether they’re selling opportunity to their candidates or they are having a discussion with a hiring manager about what recruiting is going to look like. Meaning: Talking to them about what those expectations should be.
And also, testing the waters a little bit on the front end of a search, for example, on working with those hiring managers: “Hey, are these profiles fitting the bill? Would you consider this person or that person?” To get their feedback, and make sure that there is a good discussion going on.
Talent acquisition and HR and the hiring teams, they all have to be very, very interactive in order to be successful. Hiring managers, in my experience, appreciate the fact that you can come back to them and say: “Well you know, that’s probably not going to be possible to find. Let me explain to you what will be, based on what the market looks like right now.” Or: “You will be able to find this but it will take you six months and you don’t have six months, you have 45 days (or 60 days).”
In that particular instance, it changes the conversation, and then it becomes a conversation of: “Is the role so important I have to have it now/that I’m willing to make an investment on somebody that might not fit a 100% of what I need?” Or: “Can I wait in order to find the perfect fit?” And that’s a question for the hiring manager and an answer for them to come up with.
[0:27:25.7] RS: Can you explain what is meant by behavior stacks, and maybe give some more examples?
[0:27:32.0] BS: Sure. When I work in the consulting space, I worked for a wonderful boutique firm called Jabian Consulting. They’re based here in Atlanta, a wonderful organization. They firmly believed in the idea of profile/persona driven hiring, which a lot of organizations do, and behavioral tools and testing that give you an idea of what a person’s profile is like.
Over the years, I’ve worked with tools like Trimetrics (is the big one I’ve worked with). You’ve got Myers-Briggs—there’s a number of different types of tools that exists out there. The behavior stacks that are ubiquitous to sales (and this goes back to the 1960s or ’70s) is this utilitarian mindset or behavior stack, and then a relationship-driven ability to build relationships.
If you have a person take a test (all of this stuff is done online now whereas it used to be done on a professional’s couch, asking questions, now it’s all done online) you take a test and it comes back and it gives you what your natural behavior is, what your adapted behavior is.
Natural is how you’re naturally adapted. What it is when you’re in a current or in a stressful setting, how you adapt your behavior. What you look for, for sales people, is that utilitarian-driver mindset: “I am in it to support my lifestyle. I’m in it to support my family and what I want to do with my life.” It’s that kind of a, for lack of a better way to put it, it’s that in it for the kill mindset, right?
That’s what people—they like the competition of sales, they like winning. A lot of former athletes have that background. People that played sports in high school or college, that’s just a competitive edge. Behavior stack is something that I got more heavily involved into understanding when I worked in a consulting space. And then, we would use those behavior stacks that we looked at.
It wasn’t just about sales, it was about interacting with other members of the team. We would bring our behavior expert in, as we constituted a team to go out on a project, and we’d make sure that they all understood how to communicate with each other and what the expectations would be of: “You’re working with this person and they’re this type of a personality or this type of personality.”
So, you build this cohesive structure before they even went to the client, to understand each other. And then, we’d actually work and use the same tools with our clients to help them understand how to best manage their people and manage their organizations. These are all ethnicity agnostic, they are gender agnostic. It is about the behaviors that set into a person’s psyche, and who they are around the age of 13 or 14 when they’re going through puberty.
In most cases, those behavior stacks don’t change at all, unless there’s some sort of a very, very disruptive event that happens in their life. A death or a disease or something along those lines. But, otherwise, those behavior stacks stay pretty consistent, locked in from the time they’re a teenager.
[0:30:23.9] RS: Interesting. Okay. So, it’s not dissimilar from like a buyer persona, right? Or a candidate persona, where you are just trying to drill in on motivations and get a vague sense of what sort of drivers would make someone successful in a given role.
[0:30:23.9] BS: Right, exactly. I mean, it’s looking at the role. It’s looking at the types of motivating factors that define success based on who’s there. And this is not something that we utilize. We use some tools, within my current environment, but those are things that you can also use behavioral questioning and interviews around these types of things, to determine by the answers that a person gives what their personality and their drivers are.
A part of that goes to the interview process as well as identifying behaviors and what you believe is needed for a person to be successful in a specific role. There is a lot of different avenues to understand and get to the destination of understanding—if that person’s background and experience, if their persona fits for what you’re seeking. And, again, when people go through the interview process and they are being engaged by the employer about the role, it’s a two-way street.
The more engaging candidates probably will get more attention. They probably get more—I don’t know if they move further in the process, but those types of connections matter. Because people look at cultural fit. You hear cultural fit talked about a lot. That is part of that interview process, is getting to know people and understanding are they going to fit in the organization? Are they going to be a good contributing member of the team?
Recruiting has evolved over the years. There’s some great tools out there that didn’t exists 10, 15 years ago. But still, at the core, it’s about relationships and engagement and understanding the needs of the people you’re talking to about the roles and the people you’re talking to that need to fill the roles. Pretty straight forward. If it was any more complicated I wouldn’t be smart enough to be doing it.
[0:32:15.5] RS: Well, you certainly are smart enough to be doing it, Bryan. Before I let you go here as we creep up on optimal podcast length, I would love for you to share a little bit of advice for folks who want to forge a career in the space/wind up perhaps at a sizable company like Fiserv, in a role like yours. What advice would you give for them to kind of up level their career?
[0:32:35.5] BS: Well, I’d say two things. One thing, I work with a lot of young career people and I talk to them about entering into the workforce. And I talk about what I call “the personal board of directors”, in the concept I came up with: Choose five people. Five people that come from different walks of life, that you know. Whether you know them through your parents or you know them through your church or you know them through your college, your university or your workplace. Whatever the case, pick five people that you can basically build a mentorship structure around you.
They don’t necessarily have to be from your industry. But they can help you with understanding different facets of your life as you progress into your 20s and 30s, and understand what types of choices could be available to you as you move forward. So, that’s more general in nature than just talent acquisition. And, once you build that board of directors, it’s on you as an individual, as that 20 something or that 30 something, to schedule appointments with those people once a quarter to get together with them—to spend time with them, to ask them questions and to engage that group. That’s a great tool that I think a lot of young people could benefit from, doing that sort of thing.
When it comes to talent acquisition: I started an agency environment, a lot of people do. I think it is a great place to cut your teeth and understand urgency and understand what it means to really learn about an organization that you are supporting as a third party. And learn about how to sell that opportunity.
All of those types of skills that you can build in those agency environments can be applied very successfully into corporate environments. And then, find an environment that you—if you are going to go into a corporate environment, find an environment you believe in. That you feel a part of. That you can understand their mission in a broader sense, meaning: How does it impact lives? It is something that you can get behind and sell?
Because, you’re asking other people to come work there. And as you grow, I know a lot of recruiters that just want to recruit. They don’t necessarily want to manage, they love the opportunity to just recruit every day, bringing people to the doorstep, get them across the finish line. But, for those that want to move up the food chain, get very familiar with human resources. Cross-train, understand what it means to go through organizational planning and riffs, and what it means to look at an organization and go through a full skill reorder.
All of those things matter when you move into talent acquisition leadership: That you understand how those other facets of the organization work, because they are going to impact your job, your team’s roles as well. Again, find good mentors. Find people that are up the food chain from you that someday you want to succeed. And, one other thing I’d say: Don’t be afraid to stay somewhere for a while.
It’s not a bad thing necessarily. A lot of people move around in order to promote. But, if you find that right environment and it is a good environment that’s checking all the boxes for you, from a personal standpoint and a life standpoint, don’t be afraid to stay there. We live in a really mobile market right now. A lot of people are moving every two, three years, don’t be afraid to stay somewhere for five to six years.
Gain a real understanding of that environment and the people—those relationships will support you for life, even if you do leave.
[0:35:45.3] RS: That’s great advice, Bryan. Thank you so much for being with me here on the show. I loved chatting with you today.
[0:35:50.4] BS: It’s been fantastic, thank you for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity and enjoyed it.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
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