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Interview with a Talent Acquisition Specialist

Posted by Kati McDermith - MNI Brand Ambassador on Wednesday, October 20, 2021


One of the best things about working in the manufacturing industry is that so many people are involved in manufacturing at all different levels, it’s easy to connect on topics of importance.

We read posts and articles every day about the labor shortage and all the need for workers.

Our LinkedIn feeds are full of managers looking for people to join their team and polls about recruiting concerns.

Today I am spending some time talking about the challenges in recruiting and talent acquisition with my role model and sister, Terri Lick, Talent Acquisition.

I am very proud to bring to you, a third installment of my spooky series for manufacturing month; An interview with a talent aquisition specialist.

KATI: What do you look for in a candidate?

TERRI: A lot of that depends on the position. Some positions have requirement – that is the first place I start. If they meet all the ‘requirements’ of the job, I look at where they are currently working, what they are currently doing and what their degree is in (if applicable). After that, when I am conducting a phone interview – it comes down to what I hear when I ask my questions. I look for customer service, patient mindset, ability to reflect on past mistakes, and communication to name a few.

KATI: What is your greatest accomplishment in Talent Acquisition?

TERRI: I always go back to my first HR job where we integrated 80 Hmong into our workplace. Most of them did not speak English. There was not only a language barrier but a culture barrier. This was the most challenging and the most rewarding.

KATI: I remember this. I worked part of a summer there and loved working with the Hmong! I learned a few important phrases (and some just silly ones) from my coworkers on the line. I know you also helped employ inmates who were on a work release program. With my experience there, I think this might be an untapped resource…

KATI: What struggles do a hiring and talent team face?

TERRI: Lack of candidates! Even prior to Covid, the unemployment rate was low. Every sector is impacted by this. Some of this is due to childcare constraints such as limited childcare hours. Some is transportation -- some communities do not offer mass transit and if they do, the hours of operation are limited. Not to mention all the options out there; everyone seems to be hiring – we are stealing good candidates from each other.

KATI: Tell me what you love about your current position?

TERRI: I love healthcare and everything about it! I do not like blood so nursing was out of the question, but I can hire great people to work in healthcare to care for my family and the people in my community. Nothing beats working for a great company and supporting great leaders. If the values of the company and the leadership is good, it is easy to recruit people to come work for you.

KATI: hear, hear!

KATI: Can you explain how Talent Acquisition differs from recruiting?

TERRI: Great question. Ask 10 people and you will get 10 different responses. From my perspective, most recruiters are good at both – these two, at times, mesh together. Recruiting is the process that deals with hiring candidates to fill open positions. Whereas Talent Acquisition is more a continuous process-building relationships. Another way to look at it is Recruiting is reactive and Talent Acquisition is more proactive. In my role, not only do I fill open positions but I have a seat at the table. I am there with my leaders, understanding strategies, the future direction of the department, metrics, direction/growth/vison. When interviewing a candidate I am not only looking at “this” position but, others – presenting options not only to my candidate but to the leaders I support. Being that trusted advisor to both.

KATI: What advice do you have for hiring managers in the manufacturing industry?

TERRI: From a recruitment perspective, you must move quickly on your candidate. Interview and make your decision. They can go anywhere and get a job yesterday. The candidate is not the only one that needs to sell themselves to you. You need to sell yourself to your candidate. Why should they work for your company? What can you offer them (not just money)? Why should they work for you?

KATI: I know you have been in recruiting for a long time, can you tell me how LinkedIn has changed recruiting in general?

TERRI: It is a great way to connect with people, other professionals, and candidates. It can be a double edge sword though. I was recruited away from my past job through LinkedIn.

KATI: What is your favorite Halloween candy?

TERRI: YES - 😊 oh.. not an answer... Peanut Butter Cups.

Thank you so much Terri for taking the time to talk to me about talent acquisition, recruiting, and hiring.

As your sister, I have always looked up to you and your work ethic and get things done attitude. I pull from your example daily.

As a professional, I respect your authority on the topic and definitely have learned a lot more about your work.

Want to learn how IndustrySelect can help your business? Connect with me on LinkedIn, sign up for a webinar, or send me an email at kmcdermith@mni.net! Or, are your ready to give IndustrySelect a try? Click here to sign up for your free demo. 


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