If you don’t headhunt your own people, someone else will!
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 Grant Weinberg.
Grant Weinberg is VP of Talent Acquisition at TriNet. Grant brings over 20 years of experience leading global talent acquisition teams, optimizing operations, and transforming HR to source key talent. Prior to joining TriNet, Grant led global Talent Acquisition at Gilead Sciences. He holds a MS in Human Resource Management from London Metropolitan University.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?
I had been in the gaming industry for eight years and was considering a career change when I happened to attend a local sporting event and sat in proximity to a group of account managers from Aerotek. After some lively conversation, the rest is now history and here I am serving as VP, Talent Acquisition for TriNet.
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?
I will share an interesting experience as it really speaks to talent. During my tenure with an emerging biotech organization that was rapidly expanding its footprint in Europe, we were seeking a medical science liaison in an emerging region. The hiring manager wanted a qualified medic who was both scientifically and commercially minded. I identified a fantastic candidate who was finishing their Ph.D. in the desired therapy area and from our initial phone interview, I was convinced the individual had the right profile for the role. Unfortunately, they had no industry experience, so they were not considered for an interview and the hiring manager asked that I continue to search for additional candidates. After six months of searching, the hiring manager had not yet identified a finalist for hire. At that point, I recalled this Ph.D. candidate and leveraged all my talent advisory skills to convince a diverse interview panel that the candidate was worthy of consideration. To overcome the noted shortcomings in experience, we agreed that the candidate would present on a scientific paper to evaluate their technical acumen and more deeply assess how commercially minded they were. The interview feedback was resounding that this candidate possessed the skills they had been seeking from the start. The individual was hired and has continued to grow successfully at the company having recently been promoted to senior management. I learned a valuable lesson with that experience; everyone is talented. Simply because someone has not executed in a similar role does not mean they are not capable of learning, and succeeding, through transferable skills.
Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?
Talent acquisition has evolved in recent years largely due to social talent networks, both personal and professional, that gives recruiting teams direct and indirect access to much larger talent networks than ever before. Historically, we relied on recruiters to simply search and find talent. In today’s market, there are many other ways to compete in the “race for talent” that include:
1. Establish all colleagues at your company as talent sources and not just the recruiting team
2. Create the mindset that we all know the right candidate for the role and have them in our network
3. Be inclusive, rather than exclusive, when recruiting; restarting efforts on a search is time-consuming and cost-prohibitive
4. Seek out the individuals who bring capabilities and skills with a desire to learn, perhaps without direct experience
5. Be realistic — the perfect candidate does not exist for any role; hire the right candidate for your business needs and it will lead to better alignment, commitment and performance
With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
1. Differentiate your organization and be realistic around your employee value proposition; beyond the amazing organization, why would they want to work for the function, the manager and commit to the role you are advertising?
2. Differentiate your candidate experience. Learn what your target talent expects. Many times, it’s simple and inexpensive to exceed candidate expectations by providing respect and transparency.
3. Provide content! We are in an era of consumption. The more your target talent reads and learns about your organization, the more acclimated and engaged they become with your brand.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Integrity. Always do what is right! An individual can only change themselves and if they start with this behavioral change at the core, they will be a role model to others. By creating a safe space to support this change in my team, I provide permission to stumble and fall throughout the process while continuing to lead from the front and provide a strong example.
What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how is has it been relevant to your life?
If you don’t headhunt your own people, someone else will! I learned this early on in my management career when I realized that I was always open to hear about new opportunities from external recruiters when my organization was not considering me for new opportunities. Better the talent you know than the talent you don’t!
We are very blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC, 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?
Yes, definitely! I am a massive music fan and DJ groupie, so if David Solomon of Goldman Sachs is reading this, I would love the opportunity to connect and hear your views on leading a global investment bank by day and then being part of the EDM scene by night! I have great respect for bringing your whole self to work!
Thank you so much for sharing these fantastic insights!