Over my nearly-30-year career, I’ve come to understand a simple truth: most employees just want to be recognized and appreciated for their work. At the end of the day, we want to clearly communicate to our employees that their hard work is noticed and appreciated. High-touch recognition, like a handwritten thank you or praise from a manager, can go a long way.
As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Marie Artim.
As Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition for Enterprise Holdings, Marie Artim leads global recruiting for Enterprise Holdings, the world’s largest car rental provider.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I walked into my first Enterprise Rent-A-Car branch as a Management Trainee, I didn’t entirely know what to expect. I was always attracted to business and I thought Enterprise would afford me great opportunities to learn the ins and outs of running one, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted my career to look like.
I worked hard to move up in the company, eventually being promoted to an HR and recruiting manager role in Chicago. The role was a perfect mix of my interests at the time. It focused on recruiting, which draws upon elements of sales and marketing, as well as managing and coaching others. During this time, I came to understand the importance of trying new things and showcasing my successes. The role was a launching pad for where I am today.
Today, as vice president of talent acquisition, I use my success and experience working in Chicago along with all I’ve learned from my colleagues across the company to inform our strategy around the recruiting and hiring of top talent — everything from developing our team and measuring their performance, to identify the partners that will assist in our success.
Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?
There was one day in particular where I truly grasped the importance of preparation. I was relatively new to my role as a management trainee. The dress code around the office was business professional, but every so often, we could wear business casual. It just so happened that on one of our “business casual” days — where I probably dressed a little too casual — our regional vice president ended up visiting the office! While I was embarrassed, I was even more motivated to make the most of our time together, ask smart questions, and learn more about their role and the company as a whole. We ended up having a delightful conversation about their career with Enterprise. I learned two important lessons that day: You can never be too prepared, and your first impression should always be your best impression.
One mistake I see candidates make today is lack of preparation. I often find that the small, seemingly unimportant decisions set our future leaders apart from the rest of the candidate pool. Dressing for the job you want… spending an hour on LinkedIn learning more about who you’ll be interviewing with…showing up five minutes early… all of these small decisions show commitment. And, they pay off in the long run. When a candidate takes the time to prepare it makes a genuine difference in the interview process.
Let’s now jump to the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 3 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?
· I believe it’s important to focus on ability rather than specific experience or background. Great talent can come from many places, and it’s critical to determine whether candidates have the right competencies to do the job. For example, our Management Trainee program focuses on core skills such as empathy, leadership, and flexibility rather than industry experience.
· When possible, experience the job you’re hiring for — or at least spend time to truly understand it. While every recruiter may not be able to “do” each job, I think it’s critical to spend time with those in the role by shadowing or really digging in with the hiring manager to know what skills to prioritize. For example, before my team hired for several new customer support roles, we spent a few weeks “on the ground” in our operations, aiming to understand the skills necessary for the role. We rode the airport buses, sat in the exit booths and observed the maintenance facility to understand what was needed of those employees.
· Build strong relationships with your hiring manager to ensure you’re a trusted partner in the process. I believe in recruiters “owning” the full recruitment cycle. This makes it easier for the hiring manager to be involved where they know they can make an impact.
With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
We know that effective recruitment relies on a variety of strategies to attract top talent. At Enterprise, we lean heavily on:
1. Engaging our employees. We have always held employee referrals as our most important source. Culturally, it not only allows employees to be a part of the hiring process but also allows for recognition and engagement when they bring new candidates to us.
2. High-touch recruiting. We recognize that, especially today, candidates expect the employment experience to mirror the consumer experience. That means having a transparent and authentic experience with our recruiters and our brand. In addition, we put great value in personalizing our approach by making our recruiters easily accessible and available throughout the entire hiring process.
3. Online sourcing. Online recruitment platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed allow us to connect with a wide pool of candidates. Today’s market is all about finding people and helping them understand what opportunities are available, and technology enables us to widen that net.
What are the three most effective strategies used to retain employees?
Employee retention is the key to maintaining a healthy and robust workforce. We’ve seen a huge return on investment from three different priorities:
1. Our promote-from-within philosophy. We believe in rewarding employees who perform, and we communicate from day one that opportunities for advancement can come quickly. Bonuses, recognition, and promotions are available at the pace at which you earn them. We don’t just tell people we promote-from-within either; we show it. In fact, we feature a promotions ticker on the homepage of our careers site.
2. Our approach to recognition and reward. We reward employees based on performance, rather than seniority, by tying career advancement directly to an employee’s success in exceeding customer expectations. It’s what keeps our team invested in the business and delivering the best customer service possible.
3. Our commitment to developing people. We want to empower employees to become our future leaders. Our company culture is based on one underlying philosophy: “Take care of your customers and employees first and the profits will follow.”
In your experience, is it important for HR to keep up with the latest trends? Can you give some examples of what this looks like?
Absolutely. Today, we see candidates shopping for jobs in the same way they do for shoes. They’re using review sites, assessing social media platforms, and seeking transparency from brands and leadership. It’s critical that companies have a presence on the latest platforms to attract top talent.
Another trend I’ve seen in our industry is an increased desire for career mobility. Employees today desire to be constantly learning and taking on new challenges. The success of an organization will greatly depend on its ability to allow candidates the freedom to grow and change in their roles.
Recognition definitely goes a long way! You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
That’s an interesting question! I think our world needs a movement to help organizations discover talent in unexpected places. I would love to lead a movement where we opened the top of the funnel and allowed individuals to be considered for their individual traits and differences — allowing for a more holistic way of connecting people. We could open up the door for organizations big and small to really capitalize on the diverse talents out in our world.
One of the simplest mistakes recruiters can make is having too narrow of a mindset for what an ideal candidate’s experience should look like. We look at the skills and experience of our candidates, not a specific major.
The fact is, every organization owes its success to its people. I’m confident that a movement like this could drive even greater talent for organizations and match employees with work responsibilities they never previously considered.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Since the beginning of my career, I’ve always lived by the philosophy that sometimes you may have to step outside your comfort zone and take calculated risks. Instead of sitting back and waiting for someone to give you approval, you have to move quickly and act on opportunities when they arise.
It’s not about stepping on toes — it’s about reaching out and grabbing what makes sense for the business.
Some of the biggest names in business, VC funding, sports, and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?
Anderson Cooper! I have always admired people who take risks and look to interact with the world in a different way. I’m inspired by Cooper’s innate curiosity and eagerness to connect with others. He has lived an extraordinary and influential life but has done so with humility — finding his own way, instead of relying on the connections that could have made it easier for him. Plus, he just seems like a fun guy to be around. I would love to hear some of his stories firsthand.
Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!