James is Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Epicor, a global leader in enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), and human capital management (HCM) software. He has over 15 years of Talent Acquisition & Technical Recruiting and over 11 years of Talent & Organizational Leadership.
As the VP of Global Talent Acquisition, James is responsible for the strategy and operations of Epicor’s talent acquisition team. His position oversees Epicor’s global Talent Acquisition team, executive recruiting function, and university recruiting teams around the world with core hubs in the US, India, Mexico, EMEA, and APAC. The teams support the 4,600-person ERP SaaS business across over 40 countries.”
What do you think is the key to being successful as a Talent Leader in the current business environment?
The key to being a successful Talent Leader in the current market takes a multitude of skills. I would say, in my experience, I have thrived with two key aspects:
- Relationship building
These two things alone are not a guarantee for success however, Grit has enabled me to continue to ‘dig in’ when times are tough. The saying “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” sticks in my mind and no matter how tough life/work gets, I always want to overcome the challenge and be better than I was yesterday. This doesn’t mean just getting your head down and doing the same thing. I will surround myself with peers, team members, and mentors with whom I can discuss the challenge and gain different perspectives.
The second part is relationships. Don’t build relationships purely to gain something or only when you need something. I view building relationships like a farmer would plant seeds. You don’t expect to instantly get a return, however, if you continue to develop the relationships (water the seeds) you will find, people are willing to help when you need. It also builds a level of trust that is needed to do the job. You aren’t going to make correct decisions 100% of the time. You must accept that and know that your relationships are strong so you can get honest feedback to improve next time.
As a Talent Leader, what is your key advice for managing your teams and people?
Be genuine, honest, and have a bias for action.
I’ve found, being genuine helps build foundational trust within the team. Creating an environment where you can be the real you. This encourages people to feel comfortable challenging and innovating.
The bias for action is one I have always been known for. Get sh*t done! It is easy to get paralysis by analysis and take too long to action or inability to execute the strategy.
Celebrate your wins and regroup for your misses. No one wins in the blame game, take shared ownership of wins and losses. This will continue to encourage psychological safety in the team and your role as a leader is to protect others from harm.
How has the role of a recruiter changed and what new skills do you think they need to possess and develop?
Recruiters are not administrators moving people through the interview process. Great recruiters have a multitude of skills and attributes that make them key to business success
- Salesperson – understanding the USPs for the business and selling appropriately to candidates
- Brand ambassadors – Using EVP and social media to champion the company culture
- Marketeers – know whom to target and how to build the brand in the right areas
- Detectives – Using creative ways to find the talent the business needs
- Business aptitude – being able to advise the business on what is needed and what is realistically available. Not just taking orders and finding talent but consulting with business leaders to solve the main challenges.
What do you think is the biggest challenge and biggest opportunity facing Talent Acquisition / Recruitment?
In the last 12 months, the market went from boom to gloom. Recruiters were the hottest property during the first half of the 2022. In the second half, there were mass layoffs. This has happened with each recession or signs of adversity. Businesses need to learn from this to avoid overspending or over-hiring. They will also damage their brand reputation if they treat people like commodities.
I would like recruiters to ask companies more about layoff procedures and how the TA team is viewed by executives. The opportunity moving forward is for Talent Acquisition to be seen as a key strategic partner to a company’s success, not just focused on filling seats
What is the next stage of transformation for the Talent function?
Each company is different and TA is seen differently depending on the model’s maturity and buy-in from executives. There are four key steps in the TA model
- Transactional – reactive, cost-centre mentality
- TA strategic – being consulted on talent decisions before being told direction on hiring
- Talent Strategic- Similar to #2, however being able to offer perspective and influence on company decisions
- Transformational – Proactive in bringing forward solutions that could change the business direction and improve the level of talent acquired.
Would you like to share any other opinions or thoughts about Talent Acquisition and Recruitment or the wider business world?
No matter what industry you are in, your people are the competitive advantage.
‘At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.’ – Maya Angelou
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