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Linda Brenner

Linda Brenner is managing director of Designs on Talent, a consulting firm based in Atlanta which helps organizations improve talent acquisition and talent management results. The firm has a unique approach to recruitment process improvement and recruiter assessment and development. Prior to consulting, she held talent acquisition and talent management leadership roles for Gap, Pepsi, and The Home Depot. For the last eight years as founder, owner, and managing director of the firm, she has worked with clients including Coca-Cola, Microsoft, The Home Depot, Turner Broadcasting, Chick-fil-A, Toys R Us, Scripps Networks, Dell, Linkedin, and TJX. Her no-nonsense, high quality, deliver-the-goods approach is reflected throughout her team of 14 talented professionals. Linda holds a master's degree in industrial relations from University of Cincinnati's School of Economics and lives in midtown Atlanta with her husband and two sons. You can check out Designs on Talent at

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3 Lessons from the Olympics Security Debacle for Talent Acquisition Or . . . How Not to Embarrass Your Nation

by Jul 25, 2012, 5:56 am ET

As you may have heard, the company contracted to provide security guards to the London Olympics announced a scant three weeks before the event that – [psych! sorry!] — it was going to be (by some accounts) 7,000 guards short. This apparently caught nearly everyone, including the CEO of G4S (the largest security company in the world — at least up ’til now) off guard (no pun intended.) The hapless CEO, Nick Buckles, admitted to British lawmakers that his firm has embarrassed the nation.

The extent of the fallout from this debacle is not yet known for the Olympics, G4S, or its competitors (who seem likely to benefit from the over-commitment and incompetence of their industry’s giant). But in the meantime, there are key lessons to be learned for HR and talent acquisition professionals (not to mention business leaders): keep reading…

HR Development: It’s the Economy, Stupid

by Jul 4, 2012, 5:50 am ET

When I was asked to moderate a main-stage discussion at ERE’s Fall Expo in September with two economic analysts from Morningstar, I was both excited and a bit worried. To clarify, for those who may not know, Morningstar (not to be confused with Morningstar Farms, the maker of frozen meatless meals) is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. It offers investment consulting and retirement planning services and manage nearly $200 billion in assets. Among other things, Morningstar employs a crackerjack team of economists and analysts who research and comment on trends in the global marketplace.

I was (and am) excited to be a part of this particular session because I’m a news junkie, I’m passionate about HR/talent acquisition development, as well as the need for HR professionals (that includes you, recruiters) to understand and use information about our economy to drive business results.

But I was also a bit nervous because — let’s face it — most HR professionals will proclaim (with little if any hesitation): “I’m terrible at math”; “I don’t get numbers”; and that “I’m a ‘people’ person.” Bottom line:  news and trends about the economy are not top of mind for many in our field. So I knew right away that my challenge was going to be getting folks engaged with this topic. But I’m always up for a good challenge.

The trends in our economy affect our business and our roles as talent professionals every day. But what information is the most important? What can we do with it? Why should we care? keep reading…

Why Networking is Critical for Talent Acquisition Leaders

by Jun 25, 2011, 12:04 am ET

Everyone knows that networking is critical to finding a job, or for schmoozing with senior leaders at your company. But networking is essential for talent acquisition leaders who want to do a great job. Why? Because leading a recruiting function is hard. Really hard. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not rocket science, but it’s a lot of moving pieces. And just one broken part can derail hiring throughout the company in a very visible way.

So what’s the connection to networking for talent acquisition leaders? Tricks, tips, good ideas, and best practices to constantly making improvements to the way we run the talent acquisition machine. Instead of constantly reinventing the wheel, as we tend to do, we need to take the time to step out of our frenetic schedules and connect, learn, and brainstorm with our peers. The payoff benefits your team, the talent acquisition function, your organization — and your own personal development.

How can we make this happen? Here’s one great idea: attend ERE in September in Florida. Really. It’s an inexpensive way to pack in a ton of networking, learning, best practices, and discussion into two days. You deserve it — and your company deserves it.

8-Track, Anyone?

by May 30, 2011, 12:10 am ET

Remember 8-Tracks? Better yet, remember record albums? Think back, if you can, at how the music industry has evolved: albums, reel-to-reels, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs. It wasn’t really until the advent of digital music that you could finally and clearly see the music industry’s stripes. How did they react to this newest, latest technology? They dug in their heels and sued. Sued artists, sued people downloading music files, sued websites. And the result? Today, more people listen to more music than ever before in the history of the world. They couldn’t stop it.

As recruiters, we can learn from the music industry. Ultimately, digging your heels in isn’t a winning proposition. Defending the status quo is a dead end. Finding the best talent is always a challenge. And the way to do it is always changing. The things that worked for us even two years ago are not the best strategies today.

And for those leading a recruiting team? Balancing the tools, technology, systems, process, metrics, and a team of recruiters can be overwhelming. Sometimes the best thing you can do is get out of the office and immerse yourself in an environment where you can meet new people, hear innovative ideas, and think strategically about where you want to lead the function.

If you’re ready to hear new ideas, learn from your peers and engage in the largest gathering of recruitment professionals, I encourage you to attend ERE’s Fall Expo in Hollywood, Florida, September 7-9.

This event (that I’m chairing) will feature a unique blend of talent acquisition practitioners and thought leaders speaking about the most timely and important issues addressing talent acquisition. In a few days, you can hear best practices and tips about candidate management, talent acquisition process improvement, mobile apps for recruiting, building a talent pipeline, and becoming an employer of choice.

So do what it takes to adapt, grow, and embrace what’s coming. See you in Florida!

(Hat tip to Seth Godin.)

5 Things Recruiters Should Stop Doing

by Aug 17, 2010, 2:18 pm ET

First the good news: many companies are hiring again. Now the bad news: if your company is among them, you’re probably looking at too many requisitions and too few hands on deck to fill them. And, even if you’re not in that boat, you’re probably feeling the pressure to do more with less.

In either case, your team can benefit from persuading recruiters to eliminate the five time-wasters below. By streamlining their work, recruiters will have more time to focus on the most valuable aspects of the hiring process. The results will be: keep reading…