2 min read

Has Talent Acquisition Lost Its Way?

What was once the pillar of tactical execution and pragmatic thinking feels like it’s creeping into the land of the meaningless. Aka vaporware in content format.

1-minute 30-second read

I’m seeing Talent Acquisition folks using the same type of fluffy, overly generalized, word salad gibberish that the Employer Branding and DEI champions on LinkedIn are famous for.

Is this a signal that the Talent Acquisition space is starting to lose its way?

As an outside observer, it feels like the industry is slowly (quickly?) losing its grip on the practical applications that drive success in the hiring space.

There is reality. Then there is a better version of reality to shift people towards. Then there are the no-fucking-way-this-will-ever-work versions of reality. And finally, there’s WTF does this even mean?

The TA talking heads (this includes the new wave of in-house and agency recruiters turned part-time “content creators”) are seemingly beginning to reside in WTF territory.

Here’s why this is a good thing:

Anyone in this space with real insights, practical and applicable knowledge, and the ability to show their work has a distinct advantage in this sea of ridiculousness. This small group of folks will win the competition for quality attention and subsequently win their desired business outcome.

Here’s why this might be bad:

As I mentioned previously, I fear that TA is going sideways. What was once the pillar of tactical execution and pragmatic thinking feels like it’s creeping into the land of the meaningless. It looks like vaporware in content format.

TA folks — All you have to do is look at what’s happened to employer branding and DEI to know what not to do. Trust me, fluffy words might sound good on paper. You will sure as hell get applause and convince yourself that you’re smart and that people like you. But these types of words and ideas mean nothing when it comes to getting your job done successfully.

Fall victim to this and you will join the land of redundant jobs and consultants spinning their wheels. Avoid this place at all costs.

So here's my plea to recruiters, in general:

Stay here; on earth. We’ve lost Sales to tribalism ideology. We've lost Marketing to jargon wars. Employer Branding can’t wake up from the dream that company values will be taken seriously (by anyone). And HR and People Ops are too obsessed with DEI and social politics to know what side is up anymore.

You, recruiters, are our last hope for pragmatism. By staying grounded you're speaking to us: the people who live, work, and think in reality.

And reality will always be workable and profitable.

— Nate


I’ll leave you with a real example:

[This is an excerpt from a post I saw from a recruiter yesterday while drafting this. Trust me, you don’t need to see the rest of it.]

“There is no “magic” to recruitment.

You have to work hard in the beginning, pay your dues, build a network of people in your niche.

It takes time. You can’t do it by flipping a switch.

But the good news is this:

It will get easier and easier over time.”

See this post on LinkedIn. Maybe even give it a 👍.