Career Compass

Building the Workforce of the Future: Talent Acquisition with Adrienne Ables-Sinclair

Episode Summary

In this episode of Career Compass, hosts Vernon Williams and Aly Sharp are joined by Senior Manager for Talent Acquisition at ARC, Adrienne Ables-Sinclair as she describes best practices in securing top talent. Other topics detailed in this session include, skills required for pursuing a career in Talent Acquisition, the importance of certification and how to intelligently discuss salary range.

Episode Notes

In March 2022, there were two openings for every unemployed person. The fact is, there is a war for talent and recruiting the best employees has never been more challenging. During this episode of Career Compass, hosts Vernon Williams and Aly Sharp are joined by Senior Manager for Talent Acquisition at ARC, Adrienne Ables-Sinclair as she describes best practices in securing top talent. Other topics detailed in this session include, skills required for pursuing a career in Talent Acquisition, the importance of certification and how to intelligently discuss salary range.

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Episode Transcription

Vernon Williams: Welcome back to season five of Career Compass, a podcast from SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the SHRM Foundation. Career Compass prepares the future leaders today for better workplaces tomorrow.

Aly Sharp: As the voice of all things work, SHRM supports students and emerging professionals with the advice, information, and resources for every step of your career.

Vernon Williams: Designed for the student emerging professional Career Compass delivers timely, relevant, and critical conversations about work help you succeed in your career journey. Thank you for joining us for this episode. My name is Vernon Williams and I will be your co-host.

Aly Sharp: And my name is Aly Sharp and I will be your other co-host. During this episode, we will explore the ever-changing world of talent acquisition. Today our guest is accomplished talent acquisition manager, Adrienne Ables-Sinclair. Also, just so you know, this episode is valid for professional development credit or PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SCP. We will provide the code later in the episode.

Vernon Williams: And with that, let's get started.

Aly Sharp: Before we jump into today's episode, Vernon, as a candidate, what is your favorite part of the recruitment process, and are there any parts you wish you could avoid?

Vernon Williams: I hope this doesn't make me too much of a nerd, but I very much enjoy telling my story and weaving it into the context of what the job description says and why it is specifically that I would be a good fit for that particular organization. So, for example, when I was being recruited to work here with SHRM, one of the things that I loved was the whole pushback to move forward and some of the other guiding principles that SHRM lives by. That was what honestly, especially when our chief knowledge officer came on and had the conversation with me, that was what was driving me and inspiring me. And I interviewed in such a way that was very energetic and I was like, "I hope they don't think that that was fake. And it came across as not being genuine," and obviously ultimately it worked out.

The part that I would say that I wish I could avoid is probably something related to salary negotiation. I just wish folks would just either post it all online so that you could see it and then you just fall into a box or just pay the fair wage. But I always feel like there's this hidden gem of knowledge out there somewhere or another that somebody might be being taken advantage of. And so, that's what concerns me or worries me, and I wish I could just skip that whole part of any sort of hiring process and just, "Here's what it is, here's what we're going to pay you. We all know that it's fair, everybody can see it," and we're good to go.

Aly Sharp: I agree. There's definitely some ups and downs to the recruitment process, especially for me having graduated and started looking for a job right as COVID was kind of running rampant across the country. I must have had a very different career searching experience than you, Vernon.

Vernon Williams: So, hopefully I can get some of those answers today from our wonderful guests about how I could maybe talk about salary negotiation or somebody could maybe weave a story, and maybe that will come up in today's conversation. So without further delay, let's go ahead and get to our guests. Adrienne Ables-Sinclair is a senior manager for talent acquisitions at Airlines Reporting Corporation, ARC, which has been a trusted provider of settlement services for airlines, travel agencies, and corporate travel departments settling more than $97 billion in transactions annually. Prior to joining AARC, Adrienne worked in talent acquisitions for JBG Smith, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and Interstate Hotels and Resorts. She also serves as Director for Career Services at a local university, which is where our paths crossed. Adrienne earned her Bachelors of Science and marketing from High Point University, her Masters in Business Administration with a focus in HR from St. Leo University, and recently gained her SHRM-CP credential. We are extremely excited about today's conversation, and with that Career Compass would like to warmly welcome Adrienne Ables-Sinclair.

Adrienne Ables-...: Thank you for the invitation. It's my pleasure to join you all and share some stories and insights.

Vernon Williams: So, one of the first interactions that we had, I don't know that you remember this, we had lunch in the cafeteria area and we connected with the fact that both of us had MBAs, which I think made us a little bit unique in the higher ed space. And so, you probably have gotten this question before, but given that you have an MBA, you could have chosen many fields, you could have gone into a lot of different directions. What made you take your talents to HR and what attracted you to this field?

Adrienne Ables-...: Yeah, great question, Vernon, and I remember that conversation vividly, our first week. But, before I talk about what attracted me to HR, I want to share a little bit about my early years in the working world and how one particular job that led me on my career path to HR. So, when I was 16, my parents told me that I was going to work, I was not an athlete, I didn't partake in school organizations and activities, and quite frankly, I had enough time to work a part-time job while I finished up my last two years of high school. So, I landed my first job at Walgreens, and they hired me to be the beauty advisor behind the perfume counter. And what was pretty cool at the time, and I don't know if Walgreen still does this or not, but beauty advisors can earn a commission on top of their hourly pay if they sell specific cosmetic products at the beauty counter. So, one crazy fun fact about me, I did very well with that. I actually ranked number 44 in the company, number four in the region, and like number one in the districts for cosmetic sales.

Vernon Williams: I'm not surprised at all.

Adrienne Ables-...: And I was going to say, I know Vernon, you're probably thinking, "How does cosmetic sales lead you to human resources?" So, as a teenager, 16, 17, this was the first time where I realized that I had a special talent in building connections with people, making them feel comfortable, listening to their needs, and helping them with their buying decisions. So, fast forward today, if you were to ask me what strength or skill led me to become a successful HR talent acquisition leader, I would tell you that I have this knack for engaging and influencing people, which all stems from my early career with Walgreens. Now, of course, I go into college thinking, "Maybe I should pursue marketing," since I like things that revolve around sales, customer relations, buyer behavior, and just overall business. And I think marketing could have been my career path. But, I graduated in 2010, which happened to be the hardest time to find a job, because we were dead smack in a recession.

But however, thankfully I had this amazing mentor from my college internship who referred me to a senior HR officer who was looking for an HR coordinator to support the workforce development office at a small naval command in Norfolk, Virginia. And that was my first introduction to human resources. So, going back to your question, Vernon, about what attracted me to HR? One, it was all about timing. And I say this because the HR coordinator opportunity was presented to me at a time where recent grads were struggling to get a job due to the recession. And I'll be honest, I was not about to be picky about where I was going to work after college. But, more importantly, number two, it was a role that was most aligned to what I was learning in school. And they were looking for someone who enjoyed working with people and building relationships, someone who was welcoming and can create this positive experience for people, and also someone who was business savvy with the ability to follow processes, manage multiple tasks while staying organized, and being able to think strategically and be a valuable team player. All of those characteristics in most ways described me and the strengths that I had already developed. So, it only made sense to pursue the HR field, and I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to do so.

Vernon Williams: I appreciate that response and I can certainly attest to the fact that you really do take the time to get to know folks and genuinely care about the things that impact their lives. And so, I know that I appreciated that as a colleague. I want to sort of follow up on something we mentioned in your intro that you have recently earned your SHRM-CP credential. You already had an MBA, which a lot of people consider to be sort of a terminal business degree. What factors went into the decision to earn your SHRM certification? Other than the fact, and I love plugging this, we know that SHRM research indicates that emerging professionals that do earn their SHRM certification earn about $11,000 more than their peers. That may not be what was motivating you, but I'm just curious what motivated you?

Adrienne Ables-...: Great question. I received my MBA degree with the focus in HR management about eight years ago in 2014, and I had just moved up to Northern Virginia to start my career with Interstate Hotels and Resorts. And I was working full time plus driving back and forth between here and Hampton Roads so that I can attend class and be able to wrap up my graduate program. So, at that time, graduating with my Master was a huge accomplishment. I didn't have this sense of urgency to take the certification exam. Honestly, I was done with studying and I was ready to relax and enjoy my new life in Washington D.C. And so, it was not a priority for me. It wasn't until this year, 2022, where I felt this sense of motivation and commitment to finally go after my SHRM certification.

Partially, my decision was due to the need of wanting to challenge myself. But, the other deciding factor was more about where I was in my career. I was at a point where I was ready to take on leadership responsibilities, and I knew the SHRM certification would set me up for success where I'll be able to expand my knowledge outside of talent acquisition and make better HR decisions. One of the downsides, and people will say this all the time, I think one of the downsides to talent acquisition is that the role can be siloed. You don't necessarily get the exposure in other areas of human resources. That said, studying for the SHRM certification empowered me to step outside of my TA box and be able to think bigger and more strategically.

So, for example, when I'm sitting in an HR meeting about how to improve employee engagement and retention, I'm not sitting there thinking, "This topic doesn't really pertain to me, because it's recruiting and let me be just be quiet." I'm actually becoming an active participant by sharing and implementing ideas that will make a major impact to the company's overall strategic plan. So, for those who are deciding whether they should pursue a master's degree, or take the SHRM certification, or both, it's really up to them. I think MBA degree builds a foundation and gives people a broader understanding of different areas and business, where the SHM certification dives deep into HR competencies and how to apply that knowledge into real life workplace scenarios, which I believe is super beneficial.

Aly Sharp: That was great feedback, Adrienne, and I definitely understand kind of getting that hands on experience from the SHRM-CP versus more so learning from a classroom experience in your MBA. I'm starting a master's program. I know I talk about this every episode, but I just recently started my Masters of Marketing, and so I kind of understand where the first answer kind of came from where you're talking about your interests and really relating to the consumer. But following up with that, you've done some talent acquisitions at many different companies throughout your career. I'm wondering how does hiring for hotel corporations differ from real estate and investment firms and from other industries that you may have worked in?

Adrienne Ables-...: Yeah. So, there are similarities in the real estate and hospitality industry when it comes to recruiting for certain positions. The corporate office size is generally the same. I hire for similar teams like marketing, accounting, IT, finance, and operations. And most of the positions were professional level up to executive roles. I think the major differences in commercial real estate is that there are more finance development and investment focus where corporate hospitality is more so focused on sales and operations. Now, here's where things differ is not so much industry to industry, it's more the type of recruiting, onsite recruiting, and some people call it field recruiting, but I'm going to refer it to onsite recruiting. That is a vast difference compared to corporate recruiting. I'll give you an example. In 2016, I was hired to become the area talent acquisition manager for Hyatt Hotels. This was an opportunity for me to dive deep into talent acquisition.

And for the first time, lead recruiting efforts on my own. I was leaving a team of five recruiters at interstate to join essentially a one man recruiting department at Hyatt, and recruit for three large full service hotels in Washington D.C. And just to kind of paint a better picture, these hotels had about 500 employees, 800 rooms, and a large food and beverage staff. Now, I did have the support of the HR teams at each hotel along with three coordinators, but I was hired primarily to focus on staffing. This was a big transition for me, because I was now getting a taste of high volume hourly recruiting, which is completely different from corporate recruiting. And why is that? Turnover was higher, The candidate profile was different. The need to fill was greater and more immediate, and it was boots on the ground. At times, I was feeling 25 to 40 requisitions, where in corporate your typical rec load is around 10 to 15.

But again, that really depends on the company. At Hyatt, I was recruiting housekeepers, front desk associates, sales managers, as well as food and beverage staff, like cooks, waiters, stewards, greeters, you name it. I was recruiting it and it wasn't always easy. Now, Vernon and Aly, I assume you guys live close to D.C, is that correct?

Vernon Williams: You know it, we're right here in Northern Virginia.

Adrienne Ables-...: Awesome. So, you probably know how competitive it is here. There are hotels and restaurants everywhere. Everyone is looking for the same talent. And before the pandemic, the race for talent was a struggle when it came to hospitality. Recruiting. People would work their jobs for about six to 12 months and then be onto the next job down the street. Sometimes candidates would apply, they would get hired, but then they wouldn't show up for their first day, which is kind of unheard of in corporate recruiting.

So, overall it was a different mindset. But, to this day, recruiting at Hyatt was one of my favorite roles, because I became a strategic talent acquisition partner, the hotels depended on me, and the impact of recruiting was more immediate. You could literally see the end result. I had to be resourceful and think outside the box to fill these positions. I built relationships with the community and partner with multiple non-profit career development organizations who focus on asylum seekers, people with disabilities, veterans, minorities, opportunity youth. And for those that don't know what opportunity youth, these are people between the age of 16 and 22 who don't have the means and resources to go to college, but they need a stable, good job to take care of their family at home. So, this is where I developed a love for career coaching and development. I enjoyed working with people all around the community to help prepare them for the workforce and transition them into the hospitality field, which is one of the reasons why I decided to lead talent acquisition for a short period of time and enter education as the Director of Career Services.

Vernon Williams: I appreciate that response, Adrienne, especially the part around sort of what the differences and the nuances are with corporate recruiting. Will probably ask another question around that a little bit later, especially since that might be changing given some of the talent wars that we're experiencing in the workplace. But, I want to touch on the last part of what you said about the experience in the higher education space. So like I said earlier, our path cross when you were the Director for Career Services, what was some of the best advice that you gave to our students who were looking to be hired, especially since we've got lots of emerging professional students listening to this, and maybe some of this might even touch on how you talk about salary when you're in those interviews.

Adrienne Ables-...: Yeah, absolutely. I transitioned to the university world in the fall of 2019, and I was asked to rebrand Career Services and really help students utilize this free resource. And one of the services we offered was 30 minute one-on-one sessions with students. My team, including myself, would meet anywhere around five to 10 students a day. And our major focus was preparing students how to present themselves in front of employers. These sessions included everything from helping students with building their resumes, preparing them for interviews, consulting them on which career path to take, and how to engage with employers virtually and in person. You talked about compensation and how to negotiate salary, we also talked about that as well. I think my best advice focused more on interviewing naturally, because I think that is where I have the most insight from being on the other side of the table.

And I knew what employers were looking for. So, I could also see that students were more nervous about interviews, and did not know what to expect or how to prepare for them. Like most people, they would try to think of every question that could be asked and write down a response for it. I'm sure you've done this. I have. Sometimes we'll ask Google like, "What questions should I expect in an interview for a marketing coordinator role?" Although that method may work, it's not the best way to prepare, because you never know what questions the employer will present. So, I help students think about interview preparation in a different way, which was quicker and more effective, especially when it comes to preparing for situational and behavioral interviewing. And I assume you guys know what this is, but this is when an employer asks, "Tell me about a time when you did this, or give me an example of that."

My method helps students prepare their examples in categories, or what we call competencies. So, first we would look at job postings and see what skills are being highlighted. So, is it communication, collaboration, problem solving, influencing others, critical thinking? These are all behavioral competencies. Second, we help students build their examples based off these competencies. So, for instance, I would ask the student to think about their internship, or classroom experience, and have them present one or two examples that target how they build relationships or collaborate. And then we work through that example by coming up with what is the situation, highlight the task, what action did you take, and what was the result? So, what is that, the classic star approach, which I'm sure you guys know about. The star approach is something that students learn all the time in school, but we don't really learn, or students don't learn how to pool those examples out.

My goal was to help the student compartmentalize their experience and be able to throw these examples in competency buckets. That way when a question comes up in an interview, especially if it's a bit of a curve ball, they can easily think, "It sounds like the employer is asking me about how I collaborate. Excellent. I know how to answer this. I can grab from the collaboration bucket and use that example." And this method, I believe, put students at ease. And it was also kind of a way to help them prepare and not be under prepared or over prepared, but it utilized their time a lot better. And that is something that I think is one of the best advice that I had given to those students.

Aly Sharp: That's great. I definitely utilized my Career Services center when I was an undergrad and they kind of struggled to get people in, but I think once people did go and they realized the value in. It was invaluable and it really helped prepare us for our interviews, especially like I mentioned, doing them virtually, because that was kind of an uncharted territory for us.

Adrienne Ables-...: Yeah. I want to add to, I know the salary conversation comes up and that is something that is a struggle. And Vernon, you mentioned this earlier, but you wish that the companies could just tell you what is the compensation arrange so that you're not having to play this guessing game. I think there's a way to target that, or combat that, when it comes to talking to recruiters. One thing the recruiter really shouldn't be asking you, "What are you currently making?" They should be asking, "What are your expectations? What salary range do you want to be in?" And I always tell students and young professionals to be honest about their salary expectations. You can do some research online and look into what is this position paying, what is the range, but you should always be honest about where you want to be. And, I think, some people go into that question and not want to answer it.

That only kind of frustrates the recruiter a little bit, because the recruiter's trying to help you. We're trying to get you in the best direction, and we want to advocate for the candidate. And sometimes what we don't want to do is push you along in the process and your salary range is above asking and then we wasted your time. So, it's a question that I think is important and should be answered, but it also should be a very true response from you. If you're looking for a specific range, make sure that is a real realistic range and that's something that's kind of pulled out from a random place. So, I think, it's just really important to have that kind of in mind before you get on a phone call with a recruiter.

Aly Sharp: I definitely agree. I think I was recommended to do research on different salaries for where the job was and what the title was. I've also found websites that take into consideration your education level. So, I think, that's really cool. And this kind of ties in the salary question with how people like to work. So, in 2021, SHERM research showed that 40% of U.S. workers would prefer to work completely remotely. With the COVID pandemic in the new world of working from home, how have you addressed the desire for remote work and then I guess if you want to tie it back to salary influencing that in their decision to want to work from home?

Adrienne Ables-...: Absolutely. Aly, this was a bit of a challenge in 2021, as my company at the time did decide to bring employees back on a hybrid schedule. This means we would work three days in the office and two days at home, which in my opinion, it worked out well. It felt good to see your colleagues again, be able to collaborate in a room together, go to happy hours occasionally, and still have the flexibility to be at home. However, my job as a recruiter was to get talent in the door, and I did face a lot of resistance from candidates who desired 100% remote environment. And unfortunately, I was losing some really good talent because they couldn't commit to a hybrid schedule. When it came to addressing this issue, we had to think differently and become more proactive with our sourcing, because at the end of the day, our company was not returning to 100% remote.

We were in real estate, and we needed to be back in the office, plus we based our values on bringing people together and collaborating. So, I completely supported that decision. My team just had to get a little more creative in the way we recruited talent. We focused more on the overall benefits, including salary, but some of the cool benefits, one thing that the company offered was being able to bring your dog to work and you could bring your dog to work every day, or being able to dress for your day, which means a T-shirt or jeans.

Our CEO would wear khaki shorts and Chucks. So, that way you felt being a little bit more comfortable. We had excellent amenities like cold brew and bagels in the morning, and these huddle rooms that had Zoom capability. So, in a lot of ways I painted this picture to candidates to make them feel like they were going to be working in a more co-working space rather than this cold, stale office. And it was all very true. My company offered an amazing office space, and you didn't have to sit at your desk all day. You could work in the lobby, or in the huddle rooms, or outside on the rooftop. So, it felt very much like home. And that's how I addressed candidates who desired a remote environment. It was letting them know that, "Yes, we are in the office, but this office offers the same type of flexibility and sense of feeling at home."

Vernon Williams: So, I kind of want to follow up on that a little bit, Adrienne, and ask about where you see this going over the next three to five years. And, I think, we were talking about this a little bit pre-show, given some of the trends that we are seeing in the next few months that potentially a recession could be coming. Where do you see the talent space coming? How is it going to impact or potentially change your work when you factor in folks desires for remote work, salary, and competition with potential recession that's on the horizon?

Adrienne Ables-...: Yeah. It's funny, because I feel like I'm in this change bubble every day. It does not stop. It feels like things are consistently changing. I've been in talent acquisition for 12 years now and I want to say I've seen it all, but I don't want to jinx it. So yes, the talent market will continue to evolve over the years. When I graduated, employers have the upper advantage, because unemployment was at an all time high due to the recession. And now fast forward to 2022, college students are coming out of school with a list of items that employers must check off in order for them to join that company. That said, as a talent manager, we have the best insight, because we know exactly what candidates are looking for and what our competitors are doing. And what's interesting is that talent acquisition for a very long time, recruiting wasn't always looked at as the most valuable part of the organization, but now I'm seeing that talent acquisition is becoming more valuable to a company, and is having a stronger voice at the table.

We are coming up with ideas to help our teams create better programs to align with what the market is doing. For instance, I'm constantly talking to candidates about salary expectations and asking them what it will take to join our company. And I'm using that information to relay it back to my teams so that we can strategize and build new efforts towards compensation and work life balance. One great example, and I'm going to pick on my company right now, Airlines Reporting Corporation. Our HR team implemented a new policy called "Work Flex." Now, work flex is an art term, and what that means is that we allow employees to work virtually without set days in the office. Our employees can work from the office, they can work at home, or any combination of the two. There will be times when it's important to gather in person or maybe the manager asked the employee to come in.

So, you do have to be able to come in on as need basis, but overall, the employee has a choice of where they work day to day. And, I think, this is a game changer in a lot of ways because we're attracting candidates who prefer a remote environment, but we're also catering to those who rather be in the office and away from home. Because, as you said, 40% is looking for remote, but there's still another group of people that want to be in the office. And so, we're noticing that employees are more obligated to stay with the company where there is flexibility and control over their own schedule. And some people put that overcompensation. I think flexibility is one of the biggest things right now that is making companies more competitive. So, it's policies like this that help talent managers recruit the best talent and stay competitive in the market.

Vernon Williams: I think you hit the nail right on the head. It's all about flexibility and I think the companies that are willing to work with employees are the ones that you're going to see attracting the best talent moving forward.

I want to pause just for a second to take care of a couple of housekeeping items. First, those of you listening to this podcast who are seeking professional development credit, this program is valid for .5 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. The code to redeem your PDCs is "23-RSRD5." Please note that this code will expire on October 5th, 2023. Again, that code is the number "2", the number "3", "-", "R" as in Romeo, "S" as in Sierra, "R" as in Romeo, "D" as in delta, and the number "5."

Aly Sharp: And speaking of PDCs, one place to earn more than 20 PDCs while networking with peers, connecting with mentors and expanding your HR knowledge is at Inclusion this October in beautiful San Diego, California. Inclusion 2022 is more than a conference. It's a chance to change the way you see the world and create a more equitable world of work. And it's even better for students with discounted member pricing at just 3.95 for in-person registration and 2.45 for virtual passes.

Vernon Williams: All right. So, jumping back into the podcast, you mentioned that you may have seen just about everything. So, this question is right up your alley. So, I know that you've probably have done the entry level recruiting. You've talked a little bit about that. You've probably done management, maybe even C-suite. Can you tell us what the differences are in those recruitment processes between the entry level employee and more of a senior level employee?

Adrienne Ables-...: Yeah, absolutely. One thing I did not mention when we were talking about corporate recruiting versus onsite recruiting. If you're interested in talent acquisition, I highly recommend that you get exposure and recruiting at all levels. It will make you a more well-rounded talent manager. And here's why. You really get to learn about people and their different backgrounds and skill sets. Every job attracts a specific candidate profile. You may talk to people with well educated background, or someone with extensive working experience. You may talk to someone who just moved to the United States for the first time, or someone who just simply wants to work so they can provide for their families. I love my job, because I get to see people for who they are, no matter what level I'm recruiting for. I get to listen to their stories and hear their accomplishments. And my job is to remain unbiased and accurately make an assessment to determine whether that person fits the job criteria or not.

Now, I talked about this earlier, but you have to be resourceful, right? So, certain positions you can lean on LinkedIn recruiter to source candidates, but other positions like the ones I've recruited for at Hyatt, I have to lean on the community and nonprofit organizations who work with specific candidate pools and demographics. Lastly, the way you pre-screen or interview candidates will change throughout the process as well. For example, pre-screens and interviews are longer when it comes to mid-level to see C-suite professional roles, we analyze the candidate a little bit more. We focus on competency based questions. We look for critical thinking and leadership skills, and we pay attention to just their overall employment history. Like, "Is this person jumping around? Are they growing upward? Are they moving laterally? Will they bring value to the organization?" Whereas with hourly and entry level roles, we are looking at personality, work ethic.

"Does this person have drive and willingness to learn?" Specifically for hourly roles, interviews are shorter, more to the point. We're asking more, yes, no questions. "Can you work these hours? Can you lift heavy items? Do you have this specific skillset? And are there any limitations?" With hourly positions, you have to move quick because they can just walk down the street and find the next job? So, for example, I spent more time doing onsite hiring fairs where we would invite candidates to interview onsite and then present offers by the end of the day. Where in the corporate role, it's a longer process, there's a lot more people and stakeholders who have input on who we hire. And, of course, there's a lot more approvals as well. So, I would say that would be the differences in terms of what the candidate profile looks like, how we're assessing candidates, and just overall the interview process and the selection stages as well.

Aly Sharp: Adrienne, the last question we want to ask you is just what advice would you offer to a student or emerging professional looking to enter the talent acquisition space for the first time? And what would you say are the key things that they should do to start a successful career?

Adrienne Ables-...: Yeah. So, the first thing that you have to be comfortable talking to people. I spend 90% of my day talking to people at different levels, and that's internally and externally. I recommend engaging in activities that require students to build relationships with people, be able to present information or take in information, and most importantly, influence behavior. So again, I go back to my first job at Walgreens as a beauty advisor, I had to be confident and engaging. I had to figure out how to convince a customer to purchase this cosmetic product. Very much like today where I'm looking at ways to motivate candidates on joining our company. You have to be willing to start also in a more entry level administrative capacity. Some students get lucky and come out of college at a level run recruiter. But, I think starting in a recruiting coordinator role is the best way to learn talent acquisition and its business.

It's also a very valuable role, because the coordinators are the backbone to talent acquisition. I know as a senior manager talent acquisition, there are a lot of areas of the recruitment process that I cannot focus on because I'm in the weeds, I'm talking to candidates, I'm scheduling them, I'm conversing with hiring managers. So, I need that coordinator to really kind of help on the back end, especially when it comes to the onboarding processes, and really creating a good experience for new hires. So, I strongly recommend that if you know you're an entry level person, or you're coming out of school, and you want to start your career in talent acquisition, definitely look for those recruiting coordinator type roles. Not everyone spends their entire career in talent acquisition, but for those who do, they genuinely love what they do. We enjoy changing people's lives. We appreciate learning new backgrounds. We learn to adapt to ongoing changes in the market, and we're driven by feeling a need for the company.

Vernon Williams: Adrienne, thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey, your thoughts around the different HR career pathways and specifically talent acquisitions. I've really enjoyed this conversation.

Adrienne Ables-...: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

Aly Sharp: And with that, we're going to bring this episode of Career Compass to a close. We'd like to thank SHRM and the SHRM Foundation for providing us with this platform. But, more importantly, we'd like to thank you for joining us. And hope you stay with us through the rest of the season as we discuss more topics like this.

Vernon Williams: For more exclusive content, resources, and tools to help you succeed in your career, consider joining SHRM as a student member. You can visit us at to learn more about being a part of a community of over 300,000 HR business leaders who impact the lives over 115 million employees worldwide.

Aly Sharp: If you like what you heard, follow and subscribe, Career Compass on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever else you listen to your podcast. And if you have a topic you think we should cover or a guest we should hear from, email us at

Vernon Williams: Lastly, are you looking for more work or career related podcast? Check out all things work and honest HR at Thank you again for listening, and we'll catch you on the next episode of Career Compass.