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Talent Acquisition Tips & Takes with Harry Stone

Recruiting and talent acquisition is an exciting and challenging field to work in. And it can be hard to keep up with what you need to know to successfully hire and retain the people you lead in our ever-evolving landscape. HR leaders like Harry Stone can offer a wealth of information, advice, and expertise to guide their fellow HR professionals through these changing times. 

Harry Stone is a recruiting leader and a self-described career enthusiast, and he brings that excitement and energy to the expert advice and encouragement he delivers to his LinkedIn community. He’s recruited for a wide variety of well-known global companies like TikTok, Google, and JP Morgan, and his career pivots have given him a deeper understanding of what the HR world is really about. 

Harry shared his thoughts with Cangrade about what he thinks fellow recruiters need to know in a fast-changing and high-volume hiring environment, the critical importance of diversity and inclusion, and much more. Read on for his insights and advice for other leaders and aspiring recruiters in 2024. 

Can you tell me a little bit about your role and your background? 

I actually am a career pivoter. I started my career in mortgage banking and financial services and found a passion moving from behind the scenes of making a decision on someone’s life who I didn’t know, to the front end of helping to make decisions on people’s lives that I would get to know.

So I navigated and networked and moved into recruitment, which is where I’ve been for the past 10 years. I‘ve worked in financial services at JP Morgan, in big tech at Google, in the startup world of WeWork, then in big tech again at TikTok, and currently, I’m at a nonprofit. 

I’ve worked mostly on the non-technical side of recruitment, focusing on sales, marketing, HR, and different corporate functions. And I also have led teams in the past. 

Today, I’m at a nonprofit where I am focused on our healthcare, finance, and accounting roles, mostly at the executive and senior levels. 

What skills do you think you have that have been critical to your success as you pivot through all of those different industries and positions? 

The number one thing is adaptability, and being flexible. I started my career in a very structured industry with a lot of process and red tape. You have to let go of your ego and understand the business might change and something you’re working on might not go anywhere. And you have to be able to move from client group to client group and really be able to think about new ways of working. Each company has its own perspective and way of working.

The other thing that I would say has always been a big part of who I am is definitely being an empath — someone who can understand and relate to others. That’s been a great way of just being able to connect and work with diverse teams and people and folks from all backgrounds.

How do you balance the strategic and day-to-day tasks in your HR role, either now or in your past roles as a recruiter, and at all of these different companies? 

For me, I would say no two days are really the same. But I do like to have time blocks where I’m doing deep work. In recruiting, the number one thing is to close positions, right? So offers always come first. 

Delegating tasks is another important aspect — thinking about what types of things can you give to others that can help you accomplish tasks together. And then also, as we’re moving into a world of automation and new systems and tools, how do we also build in process efficiencies to take away some of those more day-to-day transactional tasks and get towards more of the strategic tasks that are at hand? 

How do you balance data-based talent decisions with your instinct as an HR professional? 

There’s a balance between the art and science of thinking about data and then also thinking about more subjective ways of making decisions. Because HR is definitely making decisions about people’s lives. I always like to focus on the why and the how and the what and diving into what the business wants to do.

But why are we making this decision? How did we get here? What kind of information can we pull from the candidate from the market from the hiring teams from the other interviewers or panels? And how can we craft a decision that balances it all out? Making decisions that way, at least there’s some type of data behind making choices that are hopefully on the best path.

What’s the biggest challenge that you’re currently tackling in hiring and talent management? 

One of the biggest challenges at the moment is just the volume of candidates on the market because of all the layoffs that are taking place. So there’s a large influx of people who are interested in positions, there’s a shortage of roles, and it’s really trying to balance how you make sure that you’re providing a good candidate experience and also not getting so inundated. 

Also making sure that you’re managing the flow of who’s in the funnel at various stages so the team can also make the best decision and not be so overwhelmed by the number of candidates that they’re viewing. 

And the recruiting teams have experienced a lot of layoffs themselves. So they’re understaffed, and now working with a larger number of candidates.

How do you balance and prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in your talent management processes right now? 

D&I for me has always been embedded within all the work that we’ve done. In the past, I’ve led an employee resource group. I’ve also been involved in core diversity recruiting functions and events and, and thinking about new ways of hiring talent and finding talent where they’re at. 

What I try to do is to tap into a variety of internal and external resource groups — thinking about external organizations from conferences to events to networking groups, and internally to employee resource groups to different affinity groups and ways that you can really help to broadcast what opportunities you have and why folks should join based on the type of organization you’re trying to build.

How are you building a future-ready workforce? 

I work for a company right now that’s going through a technology transformation of sorts. You have to focus on the talent that’s going to be the future leaders. How do you tap into this new workforce, individuals who are early in their careers? That might bring a new perspective or way of working.

Another one is making sure that the current employees are brought up to speed. So if you’re bringing in new tools, and people are resistant to change, how do you work through that? How do you create the right training and development opportunities? That way, they can work in a cloud environment, work in shared documents, be able to communicate with one another through various channels, be able to collaborate when it comes to different ways of working, and be agile in that sense. 

For me, those are some of the things I think about when I’m trying to hire individuals into the organization. Has this person worked in a more forward-thinking environment where we can really leverage their mindset and skill set and help to bring in more thought leaders in that sense? And that can help move the organization forward.

What’s one piece of advice you’ve received in your career that you think everyone should know? 

I was sometimes so focused on making sure that everything was perfect within a project, and some of the things I was focusing on were not as important within the bigger scheme of things. Sometimes we need to take a step back when we’re in moments where we are so focused on completing something in a specific way and realize, “How does this fit into the bigger picture?” And this isn’t something that we need to spend any more energy and time on because, you know, there might be another task or another thing that needs your attention much more. 

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