Recruiting Leaders

What Kind of Talent Acquisition Director Are You?

Jun 07, 2023 - Cat DiStasio

Leaders come in all types and styles. Some are authoritative, some are soft-spoken. Some lead from behind, some are completely checked out. But one thing is certain: there is no one “correct” management style that is effective for all leaders in all organizations. While thinking about this, we realized there are (at least) four distinct types of talent acquisition directors, each with their own strengths. And, if your goal is to be effective in your current role and advance your career, it’s crucial to understand what your style is, how to maximize the benefits, and where to invest in developing your skills.

Read on to learn about the types of TA directors and see if you can identify which applies to you. (Hint: you could be more than one!)

4 Types of Talent Acquisition Directors

Over our many years of working closely with talent acquisition leaders, we think we’ve encountered every type of TA director there is. These are the four most common styles we’ve met:

  • The Traditionalist
  • The Rebel
  • The Innovator
  • The Scientist

The Traditionalist

Defining attributes: Traditionalists love rhythm and routine, are generally averse to change, and believe effort and intent matter just as much as tools and processes.

Strengths: Traditionalists prioritize team communication and collaboration, are able to set and plan for long-term goals, and feel satisfaction when their team succeeds.

Keys to success: Many Traditionalists are averse to change to some degree. It’s essential for these types of TA directors to stay informed about emerging trends, evolving technology, and the competitive advantages of adapting to a changing talent landscape. Read customer success stories and tune in to informative webinars to learn what’s working for other employers.

The Rebel

Defining attributes: Rebels are drawn to “disruption,” get excited about new tactics and technology, and may confuse those around them who cannot always understand why they do what they do.

Strengths: Rebels aren’t afraid to shift gears when the circumstances demand it. (In the early stages of the pandemic, Rebels were quick to come up with creative strategies to adapt to social distancing requirements and remote work.)

Keys to success: Let your creativity differentiate your organization from your competition. Use immersive virtual recruiting events to boost candidate engagement and lean into video to tell the stories of your culture and your employees’ experiences.

The Innovator

Defining attributes: Innovators like to “move fast and break things,” a la their heroes in the tech industry. Some Innovators move a little too fast, though, and pivot from strategies that could work with a little refinement.

Strengths: Innovators do not fear change if it could lead to better results. They are always looking for opportunities to improve the recruiting process by speeding it up, controlling costs, and enhancing the candidate experience.

Keys to success: Use technology tools that collect valuable data to help you measure your impact over time, so you can refine your processes and prove your ROI.

The Scientist

Defining attributes: Scientists are hyper-focused on data. They just can’t get enough of it! Scientists are also comfortable performing experiments to test new ideas but they may have a tendency toward perfectionism, so they must beware of paralysis by analysis.

Strengths: Scientists use data to inform decision-making so their efforts are usually worthwhile. Scientists can also be great at demonstrating value to others in the organization, especially if they have the opportunity to use charts and graphs to do it.

Keys to success: Identify metrics that are tied to the conditions you want to change. Set realistic goals and track them meticulously. Define a “good enough” result to avoid letting perfectionism keep you from making meaningful progress in other areas.

Your Style Can Lead to Your Success

Just as in any other line of work, there is no one “correct” way to be a TA director. In fact, it’s the differences and unique qualities that can make you an asset to your organization. The key is in understanding how you operate, knowing what to watch out for, and proactively working to develop your skills.

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