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3 Forward-Thinking Recruiting Practices from Industry Leader Lars Schmidt’s New Book — ‘Redefining HR’

Source | | Laura Hilgers

When Lars Schmidt joined NPR as head of talent acquisition and innovation in 2010, the nonprofit was undergoing a transformation from a radio/broadcast to digital brand and Lars had to compete for talent on two fronts — digital/tech and journalism — against for-profit companies. The task was daunting. He built his strategy around the newly developing field of employer brand and launched one of the first culture hashtags, #NPRlife. Highly qualified candidates took notice. In his brand-new book Redefining HR, Lars writes, “It was an experimental lab and I loved it.”

Redefining HR (Kogan Page, $26) could be described the same way: An experimental lab on how to move HR forward, filled with ideas and case studies from companies such as HubSpotRedditEventbrite, and Mastercard.

As the cofounder of HR Open Source, a global initiative to accelerate innovation and education in HR, host of the podcast Redefining HR, and writer for Fast Company, Lars has spent years interviewing people leaders around the globe. He peppers his book with their voices, stories, challenges, and solutions. 

Here are three forward-looking practices Lars shares that are central to recruiting: 

1. Upgrade your role from recruiter to talent advisor

Historically, recruiters viewed hiring managers as their “customers,” the people from whom they took orders. But in the most progressive companies, Lars writes, recruiters are evolving into “talent advisors,” and their relationship with hiring managers is becoming more one of equals. 

What does this look like? Consider the words of John Vlastelica, founder and managing director of Recruiting Toolbox, whom Lars interviewed for Redefining HR. “It’s no longer about ‘taking the order,’ and accepting unrealistic target candidate profiles, unrealistic salary ranges, and bad interviewing practices,” John says. “It’s moved into something more akin to a strategic partner.” 

As a talent advisor, you bring all your business knowledge and hard-earned wisdom to the hiring process. You leverage the market realities you encounter everyday to hold data-informed, expectation-setting conversations with hiring managers. You work together to build realistic candidate profiles and recommend appropriate salary ranges. You coach the hiring manager on how to play a leadership role during the interviewing and selection process. 

“Diversity is embedded in [talent advisors’] approach,” John adds. “Not because of compliance but because [talent advisors] know that talent is equally distributed across people, but access and opportunity is not. To improve diversity, they ensure hiring managers don’t depend on candidate pedigree as a signal for quality, look outside of their homogenous teams for referrals, build interviewing teams that reflect the diversity they seek, and make fair, transparent, bias-free hiring decisions.” 

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