Lessons On TA Leadership From speakEZ Podcast

March 04, 2024 4 min read


Have you been enjoying the speakEZ Podcast as much as we have? Dan Harten, Customer Marketing Strategist at hireEZ, has sat down with some exceptional TA leaders over several weeks and uncovered valuable insights into the world of recruiting excellence.

We're revisiting some common themes explored in Dan’s conversations so far to synthesize what we’ve learned from the expert guests on the speakEZ Podcast. Tune in every Monday for new episodes.

One topic we've loved hearing our guests speak on is TA leadership. What are the qualities and practices that make a great TA leader? Drawing on their own experiences and major influences in their career, our guests give us their insights.

Challenging Comfort Zones and Fostering Growth

Trent Cotton shares his journey of transformation under the mentorship of leaders who challenged his comfort zones and instilled confidence in his abilities. He talks about how these leaders created environments where he felt empowered to innovate and grow while still feeling supported: “She knew that whenever my back’s against the corner, I innovate…And she would put me in those situations to force me to innovate. And she gave me the confidence to be able to do it because she says, ‘I’m not threatened,’ you know, ‘I want you to shine.’”

Trent also emphasizes the impact of authentic relationships built on trust and mutual respect. He reflects on his mentors, who not only supported his professional growth but also left a lasting impression on a personal level. Trent’s perspective highlights the ripple effect of impactful leadership, inspiring others to pay it forward and create meaningful connections in both professional and personal spheres.

Embracing Transition and Adapting Expectations

Junius Currier, reflecting on his journey into leadership, discusses the initial challenges of transitioning from individual contributor to team leader: “One of the biggest things I had to learn to kind of change is not necessarily holding the individuals on the team to the same expectations that I hold myself to. It doesn't mean that you lower the bar of excellence, but what it does is that you have to understand that there's different approaches for different individuals because everyone doesn't communicate the same, doesn't think the same. And it's important to be able to reach people where they are when you're a leader.”

Highlighting a need for flexibility and empathy in leadership, Junius stresses the shift from a self-centered focus to a people-centered one. Leaders must prioritize understanding and meeting the needs of their team members while aligning with organizational goals. Junius advocates for a servant leadership approach, where leaders aim to empower and support their team members rather than assert authority.

Recognizing and Cultivating Potential

Dana Wilkins reminisces about the leaders in her career who believed in her potential and supported her growth. She highlights the profound impact of a leader who saw beyond her current capabilities and provided opportunities for development, opening the door to a successful career in recruiting: “She believed in me when I had no idea what I was doing, but she just saw potential.”

Dana also emphasizes, like Junius, the value of giving individuals a voice and tailoring support to their unique strengths and growth areas. Dana explains how her current director excels in this area, saying “She has a strength for looking kind of into people and figuring out where they really do have strengths, and where they can grow those strengths, and really gives those people a voice, I think, to do the things that they need to do to be successful because it’s not the same for everybody.” This personalized approach fosters a sense of empowerment and encourages individuals to thrive in their roles.

Being Adaptable and Learning From the Past

Jeff Demodna reflects on the diverse leadership styles he has encountered throughout his career and how they have influenced his own approach. He talks about being receptive to different perspectives and integrating learnings into one’s own leadership style, saying “One of the things I like to pride myself on is just being a sponge with all these people, right? Like taking pieces of what they do and hopefully implementing it into, you know, my own approach, which becomes a unique style of its own.”

Jeff continues to evolve as a leader by drawing inspiration from previous leaders and learning from past experiences: “Being in the role and knowing what I liked and didn’t like from leaders in the past and making sure I try my best to not make the same mistakes that, you know, maybe I felt that they were making.”

The insights we’ve gained from talking with Trent Cotton, Junius Currier, Dana Wilkins, and Jeff DeModna offer valuable lessons for TA leadership. Effective leadership in talent acquisition requires a blend of empathy, authenticity, mentorship, and a willingness to challenge comfort zones. By prioritizing the growth and well-being of team members, leaders can create environments where individuals thrive, driving collective success and fostering a culture of continuous learning and development.


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