February 12, 2019

Proactive Talent Q&A: Meet Lead Consultant, Dan Medlin!

Meet Dan Medlin, our new Lead Recruiting Consultant, and one of the newest members of the Proactive Talent tribe! Dan is based in the Austin area and came onboard with us just a few weeks ago. We did a quick Q&A session with him so you can get to know him a little bit and understand what he brings to the table for Proactive Talent and our clients.

1.    Where have you worked in the past and what led you to Proactive Talent?

I have 20 years of experience in Talent Acquisition (TA) leadership, with expertise in strategy, branding, sourcing, candidate experience, hiring manager training, recruiting and training teams while delivering peak headcount. I have worked in companies ranging from 75 to 300,000 employees (Robert Half International, GE, Samsung, Arm and AMD, to name a few) and managed global teams from 3 to 30 employees. I am also a lead and active member of the Austin Recruiter Network.

I have been fortunate to have known Will Staney for several years in talent circles and events here in Austin. We have shared many ideas around best practices in TA and I’m excited to be working with him and the team at Proactive Talent. My core strengths lean towards recruitment process optimization and headcount delivery. I have leveraged these strengths mostly within technology-driven industries and I feel honored and blessed that these areas of expertise are exactly what Proactive Talent needs right now.

2.    Why should companies work with Proactive Talent?

I think the fact that we offer a full suite of end-to-end solutions that help companies revolutionize their hiring across the entire talent acquisition life cycle is something that makes us an amazing partner to our clients. We offer a wide range of services such as Employer Branding, Recruitment Optimization, and OnDemand Recruiting. This suite of services is everything a company needs to move forward powerfully with their growth agenda. We have helped a wide range of companies across a multitude of industries, from small startups, to multi-billion dollar companies, wherever they are located.

3.    What can Proactive Talent clients expect out of working with you?

To answer this question, I need to offer a humble brag. Clients will be thrilled to work with me for several reasons, including my drive for excellence and fast understanding and process adaptation to their unique needs. But the key things I will do for them - the results I will deliver for them - will be my legacy. First, I will either build a recruitment program from scratch, or I will fix the gaps, cracks, or leaks in their current program (that’s recruitment optimization). Secondly, I  will do this consulting work while leading a highly proficient recruiting team, delivering on their current headcount needs (that’s on-demand recruiting). And lastly, I will help them hire and deliver training to their own recruitment team, and I will inculcate their updated program with hiring managers and executives in the organization. I will teach them to fish, while filling their boat with fish!

4.    What are the most common challenges you see companies facing when it comes to Talent Acquisition?

I am troubled when a TA organization has matured to a new place, but is still looked at by their internal clients and executives as an admin function that can be pushed around. By this time in their maturity, a TA organization may be pushing to be recognized as a partner, rather than an admin force. Their reputation is probably stuck because they are not delivering the real headcount needs of the organization and are not teaching their clients what they know to demonstrate their expertise. We need to become much stronger in our awareness of the true business need for headcount, the metrics that determine that need, and our predictable delivery against that need, based on having the right resources aligned. We also need to come out from behind the curtain (ala “Wizard of Oz”), or open the “black box”, and help our clients understand the intricacies of the recruiting process. We are often afraid to do this because we are nervous about the messy details of our work. With Proactive Talent’s Recruitment Optimization service, that fear can be eliminated!

5.    What are the most common mistakes you see recruiters make?

  1. They fail to fully engage with and become the brand of their company, or client-company. Each and every recruiter on the team needs to become the brand of their client(s) - live it, breathe it, drink the Kool-Aid. It makes what we are selling to candidates more authentic and sincere, and is the only way we will get the answers we need to build our expertise in the organization and industry.

  2. They want their processes to be kept hidden from their hiring managers. They don’t want to reveal what they do or how they do it, often because their methods are a mess! Clean up your process and be transparent; show your work, and you will build a reputation as an expert in your craft.

6.    What are your top tips to recruiters?

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. If the hiring manager you’re supporting doesn’t know what you did for him or her that day, your job is not done yet.

  2. Be curious, be investigative. Don’t rush off to start sourcing until you have asked every question you can think of, and then 3 more. Power is in the asking, not the telling. Practice active listening. Pay Attention! It’s tempting to believe that you fully understand what your client needs. So you move on quickly to respond – after all, you also want to have a bias for action. Get clarification and confirmation that you understand fully. Then go do it!

  3. Do it right the first time. Take time to focus on a quality result the first time. Get the answers you need before starting a project. Get the tools you need and the people you need also. Nothing is more frustrating and damaging to your reputation, than having to fix errors that could have been prevented by more careful preparation.

  4. Work the numbers. Know the measurements of success for each of your efforts. Track your performance against them and look back at your numbers for clues about how to improve. Understand which activities of yours have a higher value, by examining how you achieve success, then focus on high-value activities.

  5. Become an expert. Our clients want to hire us because we are experts in TA. It takes practice, focusing on your strengths, and marketing yourself to your audience to establish expertise. It is said that it takes 10,000 repetitions to perfect a performance. When you have discovered what you do well, keep doing it over and over again. Then, let your network know about it!

7.    What about recruiting are you most passionate about?

I love what I do! Getting great people hired by great companies is significantly fulfilling. God has gifted every person with talents and strengths, and when you do what you’re really good at doing, you really enjoy life. And when a company is full of people who have been perfectly placed, using their talents and strengths, it’s a company full of really happy people who bring growth, impact and success.

8.    What’s next for recruiting?

I could talk about AI and machine learning, and certainly those innovations will help our industry in incredible ways, but I would like to focus on navigating the more personal side of recruiting. I believe the future of recruiting will include what I am calling “whole person hiring.”

People bring with them to work their age, gender, culture, faith, family, finances and dreams. Companies often expect them to leave many of those gifts at home. When we can figure out how to unpack all of these gifts in the recruiting process, ethically and legally, and present to our clients the “whole person”, and when our clients can understand more completely, how they can leverage all of the gifts this person brings, beyond just the job description, we will have an explosion of “awesomeness”. They will be companies that inspire, give back, grow, innovate, and lead with lots of people who really enjoy doing what they do. “Whole person hiring” is going to be a big factor in the future of recruiting.

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