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Talent Acquisition Tips & Takes with Desiree Goldey

Recruiters and HR teams are often only thought of in their talent acquisition capacity for scouting new hires. The truth is, they are frequently the same people responsible for a company’s culture and work environment. In today’s hiring landscape, it has becoming increasingly important for recruiters to not only consider the candidate experience as new hires are onboarded, but ensure that positive energy continues through their entire tenure.

Desiree Goldey is the Director of Talent Operations & Culture at Hub Recruiting, a ZRG Partners Company, as well as the founder of her own firm, Do Better Consulting. She is exceptionally familiar with striking this balance and has spent her career building teams with a 360 degree approach.

We caught up with Desiree and were delighted by her tips and insights into talent acquisition, recruiting, and DE&I (not to mention her metaphors). She shares what motivates and excites her in the industry, as well as ways to ensure she stays at the top of her HR game. Read on to hear her thoughts on how she centers the focus of HR on people, the importance of data in the decision making process and her optimism around the future of AI in HR.

Can you tell us about your role at ZRG and and any specific areas of focus in your career?

As the Director of Talent Operations and Culture at ZRG’s Embedded Recruiting Division, I spearhead efforts to not just help our recruiters and clients be successful through systems and processes, but to enrich our culture and foster an environment where diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are ingrained. My career journey has always been around people and is based on a vision to challenge the status quo in talent acquisition and leadership. I started my firm Do Better Consulting in 2020, which helped me channel my passion for refining hiring strategies and leadership training through the lens of DEIB. Think of me as the person who doesn’t just find people for jobs but finds ways to make those jobs work better for people.  

What skills do you think have been critical to your success? 

Empathy, strategic thinking and a relentless drive to challenge conventional wisdom have been my guiding force. Empathy lets me connect with candidates and team members on a deeper level, understanding their unique perspectives and needs. Strategic thinking enables me to see the bigger picture and navigate the complex landscape of talent management. Challenging conventional wisdom is my daily breakfast—it keeps us moving forward, questioning, and innovating.

How do you keep your skillset competitive?

Continuous learning, staying curious, and not being afraid to dive into anything deemed “risky.” I consume a wide range of content, from academic research to podcasts on the latest tech trends, always with an eye for how these insights can be applied within HR and TA. Networking with thought leaders and challenging myself to step outside my comfort zone are par for the course. After all, if you’re not a little uncomfortable, you’re probably not growing.

How do you balance the strategic and day-to-day tasks in HR and Talent Acquisition?

It’s like being a DJ at a really complex mixing board. Some days, you’re laying down the base track (strategic planning), on others, you’re tweaking the knobs to perfect the sound (day-to-day tasks). The key is knowing your priorities and being flexible enough to shift focus when needed. And yes, sometimes it means dropping the beat on long-term projects to address immediate needs. But that’s what keeps the job interesting.

How do you keep up with the evolving HR and Talent Acquisition landscape?

I stay hungry. Not literally, of course, though a good snack never hurts. I mean hungry for knowledge, for the next big thing in HR/TA. This means tapping into a broad spectrum of resources—industry news, forums, conferences, and my network. Change in HR/TA is the only constant. Staying ahead means being in a perpetual state of learning and adapting.

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

Data is the backbone of our talent decisions—think of it as the main ingredient in a gourmet dish. Just like in cooking, the magic happens when you blend in a pinch of instinct. This helps us not just fill positions, but find the right add. Notice I didn’t say fit— we want a talent that aligns with our culture and has potential that can’t always be measured. Data sets the table, instinct serves the meal.

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

Navigating the post-pandemic world has introduced a new level of complexity to hiring and talent management. The challenge is not just finding talent, but aligning our work culture with the evolving expectations of the workforce. It’s about creating an environment that supports flexibility, wellness, and continuous learning. And let’s not forget about combating the ever-present specter of bias in our processes.

What trends do you think we’ll see in the upcoming year? Which are you most excited about?

I’m particularly excited about the integration of AI and machine learning in creating more efficient and bias-free recruitment processes. However, what really gets me going is the trend toward more holistic employee wellness programs. We’re finally seeing the workforce as people, not just workers, and acknowledging that their well-being directly impacts productivity and satisfaction.  I hope to see DEIB make a comeback this year, it has been demolished and I would love to see more companies go back to making it a priority.

How do you balance and prioritize DE&I in your talent management processes?

Balancing and prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) is woven into the very fabric of our strategic planning and execution. We operate under a dynamic, seven-year strategic DE&I plan, punctuated with clear, actionable steps designed to evolve with the changing landscape of our workforce and the communities we serve. It is truly about embedding DE&I into every facet of talent management, from recruitment to retention and beyond.

We also recognize that our clients are at various stages of their DE&I journey. That’s why we offer a tailored service that propels them from awareness to action. Starting with a comprehensive DE&I audit, we help identify gaps and opportunities in their current practices. From there, we guide them through a structured process towards integration, ensuring that DE&I principles are not only adopted but are also making a tangible impact. We’re in the business of taking DEI hiring to the next level, moving beyond surface-level changes to foster environments where diversity is not just seen but valued.

What technology are you most excited about for HR and why?

AI, without a doubt. Its potential to revolutionize talent acquisition, from automating time-consuming tasks to enhancing decision-making with predictive analytics, is unparalleled. But, it’s the promise of reducing bias in hiring that really lights my fire. AI can help us see beyond the resume, focusing on skills and potential rather than traditional markers of success.

How are you building a future-ready workforce?

By focusing on agility, resilience, and continuous learning. We’re not just preparing for the future; we’re actively shaping it through upskilling programs, fostering a culture of innovation, and encouraging cross-functional collaboration. We’re creating an environment where everyone feels empowered to bring their whole selves to work and to take on whatever challenges the future holds.

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

I lean on the profound wisdom of Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” This advice encapsulates the journey of personal and professional growth. It acknowledges our limitations based on our current knowledge and experience, yet it empowers us to strive for improvement upon gaining more insight. It challenges us to not just settle for what we know today, but to remain curious and open-minded, constantly pushing the boundaries of our understanding and performance.

For more talent acquisition and recruiting tips from leading HR experts, click here.