On today’s episode of Talk Talent To Me, we are joined by Taryn Sheldrake, SVP of Talent Acquisition over at PTC, to discuss the shifts over the past few years, as well as how to choose a company to work for as a talent leader, and the ins and outs of leading a TA team.
[00:00:05] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent To Me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the frontlines of modern recruitment.
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[00:00:51] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson and you’re about to hear the best in the biz, Talk Talent To Me.
[00:00:58] RS: Joining us today on Talk Talent To Me, is the SVP of Talent Acquisition over at PTC, Taryn Sheldrake. Taryn, welcome to the podcast. How are you today?
[00:01:07] TS: I’m well, I’m well. Thank you so much for having me. Excited to be here.
[00:01:11] RS: Yeah. So excited to have you. How is the year shaping up/winding down for you?
[00:01:17] TS: I would say, busy. I mean, when you work in talent, especially in this market, things are always busy. But this has been just an unprecedented time for the past few years for all of us. We’ve seen just this big shift in hiring activity and people strategy, talent strategy. In terms of end of the year, I think usually you get a little bit of a lull. I haven’t seen it yet. I’m still waiting for it to happen in my world. I thrive in that. So all good, busy but good.
[00:01:45] RS: Are you in year-in-retrospect mode or are you in 2022 planning mode? Both?
[00:01:51] TS: Both, both, both. It’s funny you say that because we just had some meetings this week with leadership from the business with our HR people team and with my talent acquisition organization. We are, we’ve looked at our year-end review, what we’ve done well, where we’ve had these great successes, some of the challenges, and we’ve already established our planning and goals for 22 into 23.
Definitely in both, and I think the team that we have here, and just that mindset that we have here, because the talent landscape changes so frequently, we’re also quite agile and flexible, where we’ve got goals and milestones and things we want to do, but when the market changes and TA’s got to adapt, we’re also flexible enough in our model in our approach to things that we can do that. So we plan for that, too.
[00:02:35] RS: I assume you and your role are heading up a lot of these conversations, rounding up the crew and doing the retrospective. For you and your team, is that as simple as here were our KPIs, here’s how we performed against them or do you look a little deeper?
[00:02:50] TS: We definitely look a little deeper, because of what we’re trying to build here, the talent pools that we’re trying to build, looking at that business strategy the way forward. When we look back, we’re looking at things like you said, KPIs, how did we perform against what we thought, but I also to bring in I’m quite transparent and honest, here’s how we perform, but here were the things that these complete things that got thrown at us, maybe from left field, and those could be anything from major hiring initiatives where a business strategy shifted, and we had to pivot with it into different geographies, anything around M&A activity.
Things that maybe weren’t planned for, that you can’t really plan for, until those moments come. Then you’ve got to think of a way to pivot with resources, with time, with energy. I like to dig a little deeper into that. It’s not some time, not just about the KPIs. It’s also about the progress that we’ve made getting to what I would say is, who you want to be when you grow up as an organization, both from a business side and an HR side? How have we progressed against some of those ambitions and initiatives?
[00:03:47] RS: I’m curious how you make that meaningful for the team moving forward, how you can, not just look back and be like, this is what happened. But then also look forward and say, “Okay, let’s take this into our planning and strategy and execution for the next year.” How do you take what happened to you this year and make it something meaningful for the team and their behavior for the future?
[00:04:11] TS: Yeah. Well, for me, I think it’s a combination, right? All of us that are here really bought into the company, to the strategy, to the direction we’re going, but also, so I take that when we start with and I try to make it fun too, right? I take what we have for those company-wide goals. I make sure that my team really understands. There’s the business strategy element, right? So we’re driving towards those company goals and objectives. But then we take it down to the level of, okay, what does that mean, for our HR leaders, our TA leaders? What does that mean for the recruiters on the ground? How does your piece of that feed up into the wider?
I try really hard to make sure that my team understands that at all levels, so you can feel yourself as part of that wider strategy. You’re part of that momentum moving forward. The first thing is if people don’t understand what their piece of it is, if they’re sitting there, just think either putting a person in a seat and filling a job, then that misses the crux of that, we’re part of the wider whole, right. When you get people’s buy in, and they understand where they fit in, and you recognize and you appreciate them, they’re much more willing to want to perform and to want to drive forward.
I usually try to use that and make it meaningful of like, “Hey, here’s what it means for you in the scope of the team and the company. But actually, here’s what I can help do for you from a development perspective.” So whether you’re going to be a recruiter or a talent acquisition senior leader within my organization or you decide to go somewhere else someday, here are some things that we’re going to work on, we’re going to equip you, upskill you, because these are transferable skills in an ever changing market.
To make something meaningful, I think you’ve got to personalize it. You’ve got to hit at the heartstrings, really understand your people, what they need, where they want to develop, and what they want to do, and try to help them get there regardless of what that outcome may be. You hope they stay with you forever, but if they end up doing something different, you can articulate to them, “This is how you really affected the company moving forward and also what you’ve been able to do to create a new skill set or something for yourself”, which really hits home with a lot of the folks in TA.
[00:06:07] RS: Yeah, yeah. That makes all the sense in the world to me. It just feels indicative of good leadership to make sure that it’s not just about people delivering against the goals of the business, but their personal goals. I really want to dig into how to do that effectively, but we’re now six minutes into the podcast, and I haven’t bothered to provide any context on, who you are? What you do? Before we go any further, Tim, would you mind sharing just a little bit about your background and your role at PTC and how you characterize what it is you do?
[00:06:36] TS: Yeah, of course. I’m happy too. So as I said before, excited to be here, so I’m Taryn Sheldrake, I am somebody who’s quite passionate about people, about talent acquisition, about HR, talent management, development, and many other things. My background is, I’m from Boston. I started as — worked my way up as a recruiter and a headhunter into a people manager. I was recruited into Siemens for starting in their lighting division. I spent 10 and a half years with Siemens to really build my career through many different roles. I started in the US. Then I spent four and a half years over in the UK, working in talent acquisition for UK and Ireland.
Came back to the US, was doing a global role from Florida and then was promoted and moved over to Germany and was in Germany for just under two years doing a Global TA role there for Siemens, so just great opportunities and experiences that I’m very grateful for. Then I was headhunted away to Schneider Electric, worked there for two years. They brought me back to the US. Then I was headhunted into PTC. I’ve been here for about a year and a half working as the Global Head of Talent Acquisition and based out of our Boston global headquarters here, so big Tech Company within the SaaS space, just really a company that is on the cutting edge. I love that I get to wake up and do what I love in a company that’s got some of the best tech out there, which I think is super cool.
That’s me in a nutshell. That’s who I am. How I see my role? I mean, I could probably spend a whole podcast on this, but I think for me, when I’m thinking about what I’m doing every day is I am working in talent strategy at those highest level. Deep down inside, I started as a recruiter, so there’s like, if you’re a recruiter out there, it’s like once a recruiter, always a recruiter. You’re always recruiting, whether you’re working, whether you’re standing in a grocery line, whether you’re meeting people, there’s always a piece of you that’s like, “Hey, what do you do? What do you want to do?”
But as I’ve grown and developed in my own career, I really, I see myself as a people leader. I see myself in this organization and my previous organizations as somebody that really tries to understand the business strategy, get close to the leaders, understand my customers, and figure out how to get ahead of the needs of what they want. So that’s piecing all the talent strategy stuff together. It’s not just talent acquisition, the conversations that I’m involved in the way I see this role at this level is around what’s our strategy for the next six months, three years, five years? How do I then, make sure we have the right talent to be able to actually execute on that. What does that mean? That could mean different locations, different skill sets. That could mean a full time gig. That could mean looking into different sources of talent, looking into all kinds of things.
It’s like, I get this requirement or this need or these business statements and these strategies, and I take that away with my team and figure out how we’re going to solve for that. I see myself as a problem solver, but also a very strategic business partner. I’m at the table. My team is at the table, our HR organization here at PTC. My boss is an EVP as part of the leadership team, we’re here. I very much appreciate and respect that. There’s a lot of knowledge, experience, and that HR is valued. I think, in other organizations, whether it’s big or small, depending on the setup, sometimes you see HR buried, right? Could be buried underneath different functions, I very much enjoy working for a company and having this type of strategic talent leader role be visible, and having that seat at the table at a business level.
[00:10:04] RS: Was talent always at the table or was that something you had to claw out?
[00:10:12] TS: Claw out. I wouldn’t say that at PTC, but I would say that in former groups or former, it didn’t always start, it wasn’t always handed to you as TA was at the table. Sometimes there was a claw there of “Hey, what can you do for me, TA? You’re more administrative. Hey, go process my rack. Let me give you some — lob some things over the fence and you can come sort it for me.” That’s not how I approach TA at all, all right. Over the years, I’ve even evolved my own methodology, but very much for me, my team is focused on value add activities, strategic sourcing, building relationships, building partnerships with diversity organizations, understanding the market, having a good sense of data, understanding what the data is telling us in the market, so that we can bring that to a leadership level and say, “Hey, we’re making decision A, because of B. Let’s talk this through.” Wasn’t always like that.
If I think back to previous years or even earlier in my career, no way was did you see TA folks doing what we do now, even HR business partners, and HR leaders coming to the table with full stacks of data and being able to talk to that, just like a leader. You see people also moving their career in that direction. You can go out and see now CHROs that then go on to be CEOs. I can’t say that I was seeing that 10 years ago, right? I see it now and it absolutely makes sense to me and I love it, because there’s many CHROs that I’ve worked for, Chief People officers, that I can speak of that I’d say that person could run it could GM or be a CEO tomorrow.
I just think that’s such a step change. But it just goes to show the caliber that the people function, the talent function is one of the most strategic ones in an organization when it’s done right and having that mindset. I definitely bring that into my teams and my job every day.
[00:11:53] RS: It’s probably easier to join a company that’s already bought in to how crucial is strategic the talent department can be is rather than have to educate the company and clock out that’s, that’s by the table like we said. What do you ask, during the interview process to ensure that a company does have that buy in to talent and that they are in the room where it happens?
[00:12:19] RS: Yeah. Great question. I mean, I think too, when I’m going through any type of process, I want to understand what they think my role is. What was there before? What would you think the role is of a strategic talent leader? See how somebody can articulate that and most of the time, you’ll see either, head nods or head shakes or eyes get bigger of, “Oh, we don’t have that, or this is what I think it is. I’m not sure that’s what I need.” When you listen to that descriptor, I think that’s part of it. Also, just talking through the strategy, right? When I want to talk through strategy with somebody and ask certain questions about what they’ve budgeted in for like people costs or what, because leaders can talk about amazing things that they’re going to do. We’re going to move this year, and this plan is going to close. We’re going to move this staff to this country and open this here.
Sometimes, whether it’s an interview or a business conversation, it’s. “Okay, well, how much do you spend on your people, do you know? Okay, well, let me bring the data to you, let me show you. Have you thought about adding in these costs for this? Or have you thought about the strategy of how you’re going to ramp that or onboard those people?” So if they’ve done it before, I like to dig into that a little bit and see maybe where some of those gaps are, because it gives me a lot of insight into how the mindset is in that company. How people are viewed. I always like to figure out volumes and things that are happening and what those expectations are.
I ask little poke questions about that on purpose too, just to understand, depending on who I’m talking to, and what their role is. I think that’s really important to delve into that a little bit and see what that perception and persona is. Is it a place where you really think you can influence and change? Because there’s — if you’re a person who loves that, it’s an amazing feeling to be able to come into a company and steer the ship in that different direction and go from that completely reactive talent strategy to a proactive one, if you have the right mindset and chops to do it. I love that stuff.
Sometimes there’s people that like you said, just really want to go into something with more of that established machine. They may choose companies that are a little bit bigger, who have 25 talent management specialists and three, 400 recruiters and you know that engine is going to turn, but it takes a different type of questioning and a different type of skill set. I think to be able to come in and get a seat at the table when you didn’t have one before and I like that.
[00:14:28] RS: What’s an example of a poking question you might ask?
[00:14:31] TS: I love asking questions around, I’ll just ask things like, do you know what your percentage or do you know how many diverse hires you’ve made? Or tell me a little bit more about some of your talent and what your proudest moment was of somebody who you’ve developed? Things like that or it’s not just about TA, but it’s more about that whole talent piece, where I want to see if a leader really thinks about their talent or if they’ve really, when they can give an example or something around a person that they developed or whatever, and it wasn’t just like, “Hey, I promoted this person, because yeah, they were there for 20 years.”
How did they go about that? I’ll say, tell me a little bit more, just like if I was interviewing someone. Tell me even more about how that person started with you and your team and what was their trajectory? How did you help them with that? I want to understand what the focus is on people. Is it a culture where a company is going to be investing? What was the investment into talent last year? See, pause, what do you say? Do they even know? How do they even react to that type of a question? Like those type of things, I think sometimes are just interesting and important to see what type of response you get and how much somebody knows, cares or on the alternative, I respect too, if someone doesn’t know. They’re just like, “Hey, I’m not sure. I don’t think we focus enough on that. That’s why we need you.” Okay, that’s cool. That’s fair enough, right? So that type of thing.
I want to understand, to the root of you’re talking to some important leaders in the company that are important enough to talk to someone about it ahead. Chief People Officer role or chief talent roll like, what do they really, what have they actually done? I try to get a sense of what they’re willing to commit too, because you can tell pretty quick if they think they want something, but they’re probably not ready for it yet.
[00:16:04] RS: Yeah. That’s my concern with the retort. I’m not sure that would be your job or I’m not sure, that would be your job. That’s why we need a Taryn at our company, for example, because that just feels like, okay, have you put enough thought into the processes you really need? Have you at least made an effort to put this stuff into place then realize, okay, we need a professional? That to me, it feels it might betray a gap in the organization.
[00:16:28] TS: Yeah. Sometimes it does. I think that, it’s also about like you said, what they think they need? Do you want someone to come in and push paper and just fill racks and just, right? Do you want that or do you want them to really come in and change your organization to be a culture of hiring? Where everybody is involved in hiring, from the managers, the non-hiring managers, the employees, the branding people, the talent folks, everybody, right? I always say it takes a village to make hires and it’s hiring and people development and all of that there’s different elements of it.
You think of it, in those terms and that’s another I guess, leading question, right? You can ask, who do you think’s responsible for XYZ. Sometimes that will tell a lot too, because if I want to hear managers that are like, “I’m responsible for that, too. I’m a leader here. I want to do things in this way. I want the best talent here and here’s how you and I can partner up to get there”, rather than, “Hey, that’s an HR thing, let those guys go figure it out.” Sometimes it does expose cracks in the foundation and that’s where you can figure out is that something that you can jump in and fix or is it something where maybe you don’t?
[00:17:36] RS: It’s such a unique perspective a talent leader brings to an interview process in so far as they are assessing to the company. You really can look at the roles they’re hiring for, and determine this is what they’re hiring for. I’ve spoken to enough people at the company to know that what they actually need is blank. In that case, I guess it’s a personal question of what kind of job you want next? Do you bring that up to people? Do you take that on as the challenge? Do you use it as a con and negative checkmark to be they don’t actually know what they need? How do you evaluate your perspective on the maturity and needs of an organization when it comes to assessing them as your next company?
[00:18:21] TS: Yeah. I mean, I don’t necessarily see it as a negative, right? Because it’s what we were talking about. It’s getting a lay of the land and understanding what it is you’re walking into, because you could see 50 postings out there for head of talent. They could all be something a little bit different. Depends on the organization, it depends on their maturity, their readiness, the readiness for change, their readiness for things like, free talent movement and open talent markets, and things like that where you see software out there that’s changing the game like a [inaudible 00:18:48], or platforms where people can own their career and move around.
Those are also things where – I don’t necessarily see it as a negative, I see it as a, almost like an evaluation of like, okay, this is like you said, maturity. You can look at the maturity models from Deloitte and just how teams move up the stack. Usually after I have those types of conversations, I know, I can put my finger on, okay, they’re at level one or level two or four or whatever. Then I know what would be in front of me, if you’re going to then build an organization around that.
So I think it’s actually just all about, like you said, what challenge or what career step do you want next? Then you layer that on with what is the size of the company? Are you someone that wants to work in something more established? Are you someone that wants to be highly visible in a smaller organization where you can make change quicker, usually? What does that mean for you and what time and effort? Because in today’s market, it’s just absolutely like nothing we’ve seen, right? I mean, gone are the days I think when people are staying with companies for 10, 15 years. Now, it’s on average, if you look at the demographics, sometimes it’s two years and then you put the COVID layer on top of that. I’ve just really seen that shift of folks that have come into the talent space years ago.
It started almost with you were generalist and then it went to, oh, my God, everybody has to be a specialist. You’ve got to be a specialist, you’re either a comp person or you’re a recruiter or you’re a learning specialist, right. Now, I see that that pendulum swinging back the other way, especially in a company of the size of PTC, so we’re about 7,500 people ish, right? Where there’s more people playing across lanes and I love that. I mean, I think that’s actually great for development. I get to do that a lot within my team. We do that here, where you can play across those HR lanes and I see that out in the market.
So when I’m talking to people about their career or advising them, I’ll say, “Don’t be afraid, you can go from agency into corporate back to agency if you want or you go into corporate TA and be a recruiter, and then you can go into talent management. You might manage a team of people. Then you might go back to an individual contributor role.” That’s totally fine. That’s nothing to be frowned upon where I think maybe years ago, people thought you could just climb up the ladder. Now, the ladder goes sideways, things change, people go out of the workforce for a while. I think that’s a lot better. It’s a lot more inclusive of the way we think of things. I encourage people to do that. I do that with myself, too. I’m always trying to expand and stretch myself in different areas.
[00:21:07] RS: Yeah. I guess, the question is not how mature is this organization, but what is my ability to affect change? In the event where perhaps the organization isn’t that mature in areas. That can be an opportunity for some really easy wins, right out of the gate where it’s they’re not doing this thing that is very obvious to me. Well, good. I’ll just do that and it’ll be done within the first 90 days I work there. Then already have a log that win. Yeah. I guess it just it comes down to like, what it is exactly you want to spend your time working on specifically in early days of your role.
[00:21:37] TS: Yeah. What are those pain points? How does that align with whatever organization that you work for or that you’re talking to, to work for? Figure out what those pain points are they have. Then start to think about what’s your 30, 60, 90 day plan. How do you get there? What’s that, like you said, low hanging fruit of things, you can just check off, and that will probably make a huge difference in an organization. That’s where the speed, the different things come in with the speed of different organizations. Some you can instigate change very quickly, others it’s going to take longer. Do you have the patience for that? Think of those things when you’re evaluating what organization that you want to work for, because they’re all very different.
People get their energy from different things, right. Some people love playing that long game. I’ve seen and advised colleagues and friends that want to be in huge companies, they love playing the long game. They’re like, “Yeah, I can’t do this for two years.” But in four years, let me tell you, I’m going to have this roadmap of blah, blah, blah, that energizes them, whereas other people need that quick, hey, here’s my quick wins. I’m going to do all this in the first year. I’ll stay for another and then I’m going to move on to something else. So it just depends on I guess, your makeup as well.
[00:22:37] RS: Yeah, yeah. Makes sense. I want to ask you about upskilling and developing your team, because you mentioned that before I realized that I needed to bring your very insightful train of thought to a screeching halt, so I can do the thing I should have done five minutes earlier, and then introduce you back at the beginning of the show. I’m really interested in how you approach that developmental need on the part of your team, right? How do you help them reflect on that? I think, we’ve established why it’s important, because no matter what people need to feel they’re growing and developing in their roles. When it comes down to actually getting people to upskill, to develop, what are some of the questions you ask, and how do you go about that?
[00:23:15] TS: For me, within my team. I really try and I enable my — and I empower my leaders to do this too, right? I want to understand my people. I want to understand, who’s on the team? What those needs and wants and development areas are and where people want to get too? I think, that’s the first question is I always ask them, it’s like we’re, what’s your end game? Some people don’t know and that’s okay. I help them get there. Some people would say, and I’m sure there’s folks out there that, and I love it. They’re like, “I want to be the best recruiter I can be.” Awesome, let’s work on that, right?
Then there’s others that are like, “I want to manage a team of people or I want to move abroad.” First, you got to understand who you’ve got and what they want to do. Then you’ve got to offer them some vehicles to get there and what I try to do is make it really clear. So with the expectations I have for my team, they’re totally different than they were five or 10 years ago, but they’re all for me around the characteristics, capabilities that I need out of a TA partner, so that looks different. It’s many things, but a few things that probably I would mention that were different than some years ago was around data.
When I worked back in the agency, I didn’t have to pull a whole bunch of data back then, right? I didn’t. I was trying to put the best candidates in front of my customers and make a hire. Now, my recruiters, I train them on data. There are folks that are like, “Oh, I don’t want to do that.” Then okay, got it. Maybe this isn’t the right recruitment environment, because in our team, we do that, so it’s data, it’s recruitment marketing, it’s sourcing, it’s all relationship building, it’s being able to push back on managers, it’s being able to consult with managers. So I make it really clear for them up front from a team perspective. This is what it looks to be a talent partner within my squad, right?
Then we do self-evaluation. So we’ll say, “Okay, well, where are you against this?” Here’s the things we’ve established as a team or the, I’ll just make it up five competencies, capabilities that you need. Now, let’s understand what that means by level. Do you need to be someone who’s — do you need to be intermediate or advanced or just competent almost like low, medium, high? Let’s evaluate you. So then you look at, and you get them to evaluate themselves and have that conversation, because sometimes people will evaluate themselves higher or lower than maybe you do.
It’s on me and my leaders to have those open, honest conversations to say, “Okay, maybe you think you’re here on sourcing, but I think there’s a little work to do. Let me give you some examples of why and we’ll get you there and hey, here’s a training plan me enablement to help you, maybe upskill on some of these things where you want to get to be proficient in that area, and you’re not.” We put timeframes around it. I think, it’s about understanding and being clear about how you upskill. Sometimes people will say, “Hey, I want to become an HR business partner.” Awesome, then I’ll look for some secondments, or some ways to send them over into the HR business partner world for a while and trade talent, borrow talent from some of my peers and we do a little bit of a trade, so that people get that exposure on a project or a role.
I just think it’s important to understand, lay it out and be clear, and then measure against it. Again, I always try to enable folks with things that would be useful to them and the team that we’re in now, but also outside of the market, that really helps if you get this certification or we put you through social talent or some of these great things out there. Then that helps you with us but also helps you later, if you want to make a move. Taking that attitude, I think, also helps people with the buy in, because I genuinely do want them to succeed no matter where they are.
[00:26:37] RS: Yes. It’s important, I think, to point out that not everyone raises their hand for this thing for this, for this very deliberate developmental conversation and plan. You may have a handful of folks on your team who have that ambition and that drive and are full of spit and vinegar, nothing but a dream in their hearts and a pocketful of miracles, that kind of thing, right? Not everyone is so forthcoming. Do you have those people who may left to their own devices, may just run the treadmill and just keep delivering against their normal day-to-day, as opposed to looking long-term? Do you coach these people to be like, “Hey, this is why this is important for you?”
[00:27:14] TS: Yeah. Of course, sometimes they take you up on it. Sometimes they — you got to be able to find ways to overcome some of those things, right? I’ve had recruiters that, oh, my gosh, many times that are like, “Hey, I don’t want to use ABC tool or I don’t want to do something like this, because I know how to do it like this.” That’s okay. I think, you got to meet people where they are, too. I think, that’s really important is you can’t snap something from somebody that has been successful doing it that way, right? They can still continue on doing something that way. That’s where you coach through, like here’s some additional things of, let’s take some baby steps into some of these additional things that can also enhance your skill set and enhance, for me, it’s about time.
So it’s skill set, but it’s also time. If I can take administrative burdens, if I can take things away that I would not consider value add activity that we can put elsewhere and off that plate, that’s a selling point, then I have to execute on that. I can’t say it to a recruiter and not do it. That’s the worst. But you have to then execute on that. So hey, this is my promise to you, if you test some of these things with me, give it a chance. Then let’s meet back and talk about it and let’s figure out how it went and I have my leaders, my talent acquisition leaders are very engaged with the teams on the skills, the capabilities and the tools that they use. I have a very mixture of, it’s a vocal, honest, transparent environment.
So like, “Hey, we’ve gone out and invested here. You guys tell me, is that working for you? Is it not? Do you like that program? Do you not? Did you like that tool? Did you not?” If they don’t, we don’t use it anymore or we swap it out for something else. They’ve got to be an active part of it, because they’re the ones at the desk every day, making the dream happen. I think, that’s also a way to get people to, I’ve put people out there and tested them and challenged them in situations to try things. Sometimes they’ve come back and loved it. “Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe, I didn’t want to do that or I didn’t see that.” Like I said, if it’s just, “Hey, I want to be a great recruiter.” We have skills and tools and things we can do for that, too. It’s an awesome career path. I’ve got folks that have done that for 15, 20 years, and they’re still learning things.
[00:29:08] RS: How do you do that for yourself?
[00:29:10] TS: I challenge myself, right? I’m the person in the room that’s always going to take the thing that nobody wants. I’ve always been that person. Like, “Oh, does that sound hard? Like you said, nobody wants to put their hand up, I put my hand up. That’s something I’ve done for myself to try to embody that behavior for myself, but also for others. If like, hey, if I can do it, you can do it too, so for me, I take on challenges, I take on new things. I’ve been somebody that’s, again, moved across the pond twice in my life. I’m not afraid, but I think that comes naturally. I’m not afraid to take risks. I think, do I have to do that all the time? No. Sometimes there’s a safe route, sometimes there’s a risk route.
I think for me personally, I try to challenge myself in the moment to say hey, just do that or try that. I say yes, then I figure it sometimes you can figure it out later. It’s a good learning style for me. I try to push myself, I guess that would be the best thing, right? Because I know TA have been doing it for years, but I love getting involved in you’ll often see me involved in many projects in every company that I’ve worked at, because I’m somebody who likes to collaborate. I’m somebody who’s a creative thinker and inclusive and I like to get things done. I’ll put myself on to things that maybe aren’t always just talent related and go for that. I think, that’s something that it’s just something to keep in mind. Maybe sometimes it’s when you come out of your comfort zone that you learn.
[00:30:31] RS: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Well, Taryn, this has been such a delight chatting with you. Before I let you go, I do want to ask you to help this episode slide into home. What advice would you give to folks who, for them the up-leveling development, the goal is to wind up in a role like yours? An SVP type title, making strategic decisions, seat at the table, etc, etc. How would you instruct someone to go out that?
[00:30:55] TS: I would say from a development perspective, it’s around having a part of you owning your own career. Also putting pressure on your manager to make sure that you’re getting the development that you need. For a talent leader, if you want to get to that higher level, I mean, really make sure that you understand people, how to manage people, I learned so much living abroad, I can’t even tell you, it could be a-whole-nother podcast, but you learn how to get business done in a different way. I think that’s extremely important. I say, put your head down sometimes and do the job. I have to have faith and believe that most of the time that will get recognized and the right people will notice and you’ll get promoted or get what you need.
I would say take some risks, and also take some time to own your own path too. Map out what you want to do and how you want to do it. You don’t have to have it all figured out and you can switch that around as time goes, you may change your mind. If you want to be in a role like this, you got to know how to manage people, you got to know how to understand the business, you got to understand strategic thought and perspective, and you have to be able to stand in front of a room and sell a point and sometimes take rejection. That’s hard, right? Because when you come up through the path, a recruiter a lot of times will measure themselves on the hires they make and the quality of those hires.
When you want to climb up into a higher level role, you’re not always going to get that positive reaction, you’re not — everything isn’t going to be roses, right? You’re going to be dealing with very difficult people situations and sometimes your strategic point of view of how you want to get something done will be met with different objections from leaders. But you’re sitting there more as an advisor, and you have to have confidence in that. I would say, try to upskill yourself on those things, put yourselves into different situations, understand the business that you work for, and be able to speak for it as if you were a GM and just, don’t be afraid to – I know COVID has thrown a wrench into things in terms of relocating and moving.
But if you do have the ability to take yourself out of your comfort zone or ever work abroad, I always highly recommend it, because it just did so much for my career and for me personally, to just really live and breathe and do business in another culture and then bring – I’m much more aware now, amd I’m managing global teams. I understand, I understand what it feels like, because I’ve been there and live there. I’m proud of that. That’s something I would always recommend as well, but I would say map it out. I asked my team all the time, who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? I can help you get anywhere you want to go, but I need you to make some of those initial decisions of, do you want to be an individual contributor? Do you want to be a people leader? Do you want to go into the business? Do you want to be an HR business partner? Would you want to do something totally different? Let’s work on that. Give yourself the time in your own self-reflection, is some other advice I would give to really figure out what you want. Then a good leader will help you get there.
[00:33:30] RS: Yep, makes sense. That’s great advice. Taryn, this episode’s been jam packed with great advice, so at this point, I would just say thank you so much for being here and sharing all this with you. I really love chatting with you today.
[00:33:39] TS: Yeah. Same here. Thank you so much. Hopefully we’ll do it again sometime.
[00:33:42] RS: We’d love to. Take care.
[00:33:43] TS: Take care. Bye.
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