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Talent Acquisition Tips & Takes with Erika Carroll

Both the world of HR and the world of work are changing rapidly. The talent market is tight, candidates have high expectations for their potential employers, and an almost overwhelming amount of data is available to recruiters. How can HR teams step up to meet these challenges while still remaining true to their core mission? Hearing from experienced professionals in the talent acquisition space can help all of us prepare for the future of recruiting. 

Erika Carroll is the Human Resources Manager at WAI, and she’s also a passionate advocate for the “human” in her Human Resources role. She assists in overseeing HR functions across WAI’s multiple global locations, including recruiting and onboarding new employees as the company scales. 

Erika shared her thoughts with Cangrade about how she keeps up with a fast-changing HR world, how she balances the increased availability of data analytics with her human intuition and her top talent acquisition tips gained in her career across a variety of HR roles. Her insights are a must-read for those in the talent acquisition space. Read on for Erika’s recruiting tips and takes.  

Can you tell us about your role and background?

I’m currently a Human Resources Manager at WAI. It’s here that I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the hands-on approach to employee management that HR entails. Over time, I’ve diversified my experience by working in different HR capacities, with a particular focus on onboarding and recruitment. My professional journey has taken me across diverse industries such as IT, Health and Insurance, Manufacturing, and Distribution, among others.

My focus at WAI is to effectively manage employees, drive organizational change, and align HR initiatives with business goals, ultimately fostering a positive work environment and contributing to the success of the organization.

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

The critical skills that have contributed to my success as an HR manager include strong communication and interpersonal abilities, effective leadership and problem-solving skills, ethical decision-making, and something that is often overlooked, emotional intelligence. By focusing on strengthening those skills, I feel it’s enabled me to be more effective in strategic thinking, change management, adaptability, analytics, conflict resolution, and cultural competence. 

How do you keep your skillset competitive as HR evolves? 

I prioritize continuous learning and development in several ways including professional development opportunities, peer learning and collaboration, mentoring, coaching, and always encourage feedback to help better myself as a person and a leader.

How do you balance the strategic and day-today tasks in such a broad role? 

I prioritize activities that align with long-term organizational goals while ensuring the smooth operation of daily HR functions. This involves setting clear priorities, delegating tasks where appropriate, and allocating time effectively. 

I also leverage technology and automation to streamline routine processes, freeing up time for strategic planning, innovation, and addressing emergent issues. Regularly reviewing and adjusting priorities helps me maintain this balance, ensuring that both strategic objectives and immediate needs are addressed efficiently.

How do you keep up with the evolving talent acquisition and HR landscape? 

I embrace new HR technologies, pursue relevant certifications, collaborate with colleagues, and regularly seek feedback to stay informed and adaptable. HR is ever-evolving and it’s crucial to stay well informed!

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

It involves leveraging both quantitative insights and qualitative judgment. I rely on data analytics and metrics to inform decision-making, identify trends, and assess the effectiveness of HR strategies. 

However, I also recognize the value of my experience, intuition, and understanding of human behavior in interpreting data and making nuanced talent decisions. By integrating both data-driven analysis and instinctual expertise, I feel it helps ensure that decisions are well-informed, strategic, and responsive to the unique needs of individuals and the organization.

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

The biggest challenge I’m currently facing, and I feel is the same with most companies, revolves around attracting and retaining top talent in a highly competitive market. Some strategic solutions I’ve implemented include developing innovative recruitment strategies to reach candidates, enhancing the candidate experience throughout the hiring process, and implementing robust retention initiatives to foster employee engagement and loyalty. 

Additionally, I’m focused on leveraging data analytics to identify emerging talent trends, address skills gaps, and optimize talent acquisition and development strategies to meet evolving business needs.

What trends do you think we’ll see in the upcoming year?

In my opinion, HR trends will likely include the evolution of remote work, a focus on employee well-being and continued efforts in diversity and inclusion. I’d like to see skills-based hiring, technology integration, and agile performance management become more commonplace trends as well.  

Which are you most excited about?

Personally, I’m most excited about the emphasis on employee well-being and mental health support, since it reflects a positive shift towards holistic wellness in the workplace, benefiting both individuals and organizations alike. It’s important to me that I always prioritize the “human” aspect in Human Resources.

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

I ensure leadership is committed, collect and analyze data as well as implement inclusive recruitment practices. I believe it’s critical to utilize diverse hiring panels, provide diversity training, ensure equitable compensation, offer career development opportunities and continuously monitor and improve processes. This ensures a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace where all employees can thrive.

Is there any HR technology you’re implementing and excited about and why?

I’m most excited about the advancements in AI and data analytics for HR. These technologies have the potential to revolutionize HR processes by enabling predictive talent analytics, personalized employee experiences, and data-driven decision-making. AI-powered tools can automate repetitive tasks, streamline recruitment processes, and provide valuable insights into workforce trends and performance metrics. 

Additionally, data analytics can help HR professionals identify patterns, forecast future needs, and optimize strategies to attract, retain, and develop talent effectively. Overall, AI and data analytics hold great promise for enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation in HR practices and I’m excited about it!

How are you building a future-ready workforce at WAI?

I focus on continuous learning and upskilling, agile talent management, technology adoption, leadership development, and employee engagement. These strategies ensure that our workforce is agile, diverse, skilled, and empowered to thrive in a rapidly evolving landscape.

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

One invaluable piece of advice I’ve received in my career is to never stop learning and adapting. By really embracing a mindset of continuous growth and flexibility, it allows me to stay relevant, better navigate challenges, and seize opportunities in an ever-changing professional Human Resources landscape. 

Change can be difficult but by keeping an open-mind to new possibilities, I feel I’m much better suited to adapt and drive the change with my team, other leaders and across our organization.

Thanks, Erika, for the recruiting tips and advice. Looking for more talent acquisition tips and recruiting advice? Check out our full series of interviews with TA experts.