6 Ted Talks to Inspire Your Talent Acquisition Strategy in 2021

The experts have laid out a great roadmap for HR managers

It’s the time of year where employees are most likely to leave their jobs. Turnover is costly- in fact, each employee that leaves can cost a company up to 33% of that employee’s annual salary. This can be a challenge for HR managers, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Along with filling these vacant positions, you have more candidates than at any other time of the year. A good talent acquisition strategy will take both these factors into account. 

Though New Year provides opportunity for talent acquisition, HR managers may feel too fatigued from virtual meetings and post-holiday lag to know where to start. Additionally, one out of two expect their recruiting budget to decrease. So where do you begin? 

The experts have laid out a great roadmap for HR managers. Here are 6 Ted Talks to inspire your talent acquisition strategy in 2021.


1. What I Learned from 32 Grueling Interviews: Be the Company Talent Wants to Work For


“I was rejected on the basis of how I described myself. How did they know and decide who I was in just two lines?”

Over time it’s easy to forget how difficult and soul-crushing the job market can be. Ashwini Mrinal Bhagat wasn’t always part of State Street India’s Global Human Resources team. In fact, she had to endure 32 job interviews just to start on her HR management journey. Some of them are shocking- rejected for wearing a green dress, denied for not speaking in front of 10 people, even asked to clean an attic with a bucket of cleaning supplies. This talk gives great insight into how persistent candidates need to be, as well as showing how companies are squandering resources by rejecting talent for nonsensical reasons. 

It’s an uncomfortable truth, but HR managers have jobs, so often do not understand how demoralising the job-seeking process can be for others. Job candidates face scores of job applications, hours spent revising a CV each job application, often ridiculous or irrelevant interview questions, and even ghosting after interviews. The most effective way for HR managers to get the best talent is to understand what it’s like for talent. Empathy knocks away the bad hiring practices that plague the industry. Get a bad reputation, and over time it will be difficult for you to acquire good talent. Get a reputation for kindness, empathy and dignity, and over time you’ll have your pick of talent.


2. How We Can Use the Hiring Process to Bring Out the Best in People: Find Their Potential


“A traditional job interview is basically a high-pressure, one-sided interrogation almost guaranteed to cause significant psychological strain.”

Traditional interviews can demoralise candidates and prevent an employer from recognising a candidate’s potential. But finding the leaders of the future is about their potential, not their past or current achievements. Psychologist and Organisational Consultant Gil Winch explains how to find and tap into that potential by using his own company CY as an example. More than half their thriving employees are severely disabled or have anxiety and social issues- issues that in the traditional working world would have excluded them. 

Help your talent find their potential and they’ll love you for it. But judging employees by how they perform at their worst (ie a high-pressure job interview) will not give HR Managers the best indications of how well an employee can work. Consider Winch’s “reverse screening process” as an option- to assess potential, see how they work at their best. This includes the HR manager acting as a host rather than an interrogator at interviews, choosing an calming interview environment, asking candidates about their passions and hobbies first, and offering each candidate three lifelines. 


3. How Diversity Makes Teams More Innovative: Know How to Find the Best Team of Talent


“While moving up the ladder working as a management consultant across Europe and the US, I started to realize how often I was the only woman in the room and how homogenous leadership still is.”

Diversity is a hot topic, but it’s got a lot to offer the modern, forward-thinking business. Business Adviser Rocio Lorenzo had spotted a connection between diversity and innovation, and so set up a study with the Technical University of Munich. Despite the team’s own scepticism about the link between the two, the findings clearly demonstrated that “companies that are more diverse are more innovative, and that companies that are more innovative have more diverse leadership.” And it wasn’t just innovation of ideas, but product delivery and target goals. But there are qualifications, especially with gender diversity- the jump in innovation revenue comes only after leadership is over 20% women. 

To stay ahead of the competition, innovation must reflect what’s truly going on in the world. That’s why the workforce should reflect the same. And it’s not just about special networking events for underrepresented groups. HR Managers have a fantastic role to play in increasing their company’s diversity through talent acquisition. Loranzo details two big steps you can take. The first is to make diversity a priority in who you hire. The second is to prioritise diversity in who you develop and promote. Quite simply, if your talent brings a variety of life experience, they will bring a richness in ideas.  


4. Why the Best Hire Might Not Have the Perfect Resume: Don’t Overlook the Scrappers


“Take this resume. This guy's parents give him up for adoption. He never finishes college. He job-hops quite a bit, goes on a sojourn to India for a year, and to top it off, he has dyslexia. Would you hire this guy? His name is Steve Jobs.”

Talent shortages are one of the biggest problems facing many HR recruiters and employers. But committing to outdated hiring practices, overreliance on Applicant Tracking Software, and long lists of application and interview questions designed to weed the ‘weakest’ people out actually contribute to this talent shortage. Human Resource expert Regina Hartley points out that recruiters mistakenly eliminate a huge potential resource- the Scrappers. The Scrappers might not have the perfect resume, or perfect university experience, but they are often the most passionate, resilient, resourceful and capable in crisis- the exact opposite of the ‘perfect’ candidate.

You can benefit in your talent acquisition by giving the Scrapper in that pile of CVs a chance. Find out the reason behind the job skipping, or the late-start in employment, or the job gap instead of throwing the CV away. Often you will find an incredible story that reveals hidden talents. Scrappers have a track record of growth and resilience despite incredible circumstances, whether disability, unstable childhood, trauma. These are the people who know what to do when your company faces a disaster or surprise obstacle. Find out about their ability to thrive in change, what they’ve learned from their failures, or how they worked around seemingly impossible circumstances. 


 5. How Your Unique Story Can Get You Hired: Turn Your Talents’ Doubts and Struggles Into Strengths


“Dylan was not sharing his personal story about filling out immigration papers for his parents when he was younger...Dylan realized that he needed to harness the power of that incredible story...told it in a way, when he was applying to law school, that made it clear why he wanted to go into advocacy law. He is now in his third year at Georgetown Law.”

Effective talent acquisition needs the candidate to understand the importance of their life story in their career development. But sometimes it takes another person to help talent realise what they have to offer because hidden strengths are often things that people don’t even consider an advantage. In this Ted Talk, Aimée Eubanks Davis, founder and CEO of Braven covers the process of transforming ‘doubts and struggles’ into strengths, resulting in increased confidence and performance. 

One of the best ways to acquire excellent talent is to understand who they are as people. Think about the things that happened in your life that brought you to HR- they are probably different to your colleagues. Candidates often don’t have the confidence to go for things they naturally excel at until they realise how valuable their experiences can be. Davis gives two questions - why they want this work, and how does their unique story compliment the strengths they bring to the work? Be curious about their lives. Find out the skills that come easy to them in life. Find out the obstacles in life they overcame, how they did it, what they learned. Hobbies or personal passions and how those skills could translate to their job.


6. This is What Makes Employees Happy at Work: Keep Your Talent


“Organizations that have a lot of happy employees have three times the revenue growth...They outperform the stock market by a factor of three. And if you look at employee turnover, it's half that of organizations that have a lot of unhappy employees. The miracle thing is, you don't have to spend more money to make this happen.”

Only 40% of people are happy at work, and for many companies, employee turnover is rampant. But both of these problems are avoidable. information on what’s at the root workplace dissatisfaction can help turn things around. Michael C. Bush, the CEO of Great Place to Work uses his insight in this Ted Talk to tackle all the issues that make for unhappy talent and how businesses can reverse this trend, become stronger, increase their profits, and excel in talent acquisition. 

There’s not really much of a point in being the best at talent acquisition if a company can’t keep that talent. HR managers can use Bush’s three-part checklist for happy employees to attract and keep the best talent. First, ensure employees feel they are trusted and respected- that their judgement is appreciated and micromanagement isn’t needed. Second, fairness is a key issue in employee happiness - promotion, pay rates, responsibilities - these should be given fairly. And the third is listening. Bush explains it isn’t just active listening, but genuinely considering talent’s ideas, strategies and grievances backed by action. Talent wants “to know that what they say matters so much you might actually change your mind. Otherwise, what's the point of the conversation?” Using these three strategies will not only help you acquire better talent, but keep them. 


Level up your talent acquisition strategy in 2021

Talent acquisition isn’t just about finding a good-fit candidate, it’s about how to anticipate and cast the best and brightest people for a company’s future leaders, innovators, and movers and shakers. This comes from that insider knowledge of knowing where to find them, locating those overlooked resources, and understanding what makes them realise their potential and be happy in their career. 

The New Year is a brilliant time to focus on talent acquisition, so use the inspiration from these Ted Talks to up your game and level up your talent acquisition in 2021. For more HR tips, you can check out our recent blog on How employers can succeed with remote working, or read our interview with Boston Link’s Director of UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, Tom Smelt, for an expert view on the current state of the UK and channel island job market.