Welcome to the latest installment of a new series in which we spotlight talent acquisition professionals within the ERE community. The series’ aim is to showcase individuals not so much for what they do but for who they are. In other words, the focus is less on what people are doing in their roles and more on how they view work and life.
Meet Keirsten Greggs. Keirsten is founder of TRAP Recruiter, a recruiting consulting and career coaching firm. With over 20 years of TA experience in talent acquisition, Keirsten, is passionate about helping orgs attract, select, and retain the best people, including underrepresented candidates. She’s also committed to helping job-seekers find their voice in the hiring process.
Keirsten is a regular contributor to ERE (read her articles here) and has taken the stage at the ERE Recruiting Conference multiple times. I recently spoke to Keirsten about what he loves and hates about working in TA, as her best and worst personality traits, and that stereotypical recruiter.
ERE: What is your best personality trait?
Keirsten Greggs: My willingness to help people.
What is your worst personality trait?
I’m very stubborn. I won’t give up until I have the outcome that I desire.
Some might call this persistence and say that it’s a positive trait.
But sometimes I can be annoying about it, so it’s not always positive.
What is the biggest assumption people tend to make about you — be it wrong or right?
That I have it all figured out. It’s probably because I tend to be closed off and don’t let people know when I need help — which itself is because I don’t like being vulnerable.
What do you love most about working in talent acquisition?
The people. The job seekers whose lives you get to change — and I don’t say that haphazardly. For a lot of people, getting a job is life-changing. I also love working with other recruiters who understand what I’m going through and what I deal with in the most intimate way work-wise. The recruiters, the candidates.
You mentioned job seekers and recruiters, but you left out hiring managers.
They are all right. The ones who value recruiters, at least.
What do you like least about working in talent acquisition?
The people. Like the candidates and hiring managers who think that you are a magician and not a recruiter. No matter how much information you give them, no matter how transparent you make the process, no matter how seamless, some people are dead set on being difficult for no good. And then there are the TA people who act like assholes and who make us all look bad.
We all know the negative stereotype of a recruiter. And the thing is, we all have bad days. But there are some recruiters who make those bad days their entire personality and their shtick.
I don’t like when people get online and talk shit about job seekers who have no control over the process. For example, while back a recruiter posted on social media about candidates who were job hopping. He was complaining about going through 24 candidates to get to one who wasn’t a job hopper. He was saying how staying at jobs only a small amount of time makes candidates look bad.
Except none of that is true, and anyone who limits their talent pool like that is a jerk. This guy himself was a job hopper according to his LinkedIn profile. Based on his own criteria, he wouldn’t have his job.
What is your greatest fear in the workplace?
I worry that I’ll run out of things to do.
What do you value most in team members?
What is the most overused or overrated thing that recruiting pros believe about themselves?
That they are in a talent war. I have a problem with the word “war.” Recruiting is snot always a battle. It’s more maintenance than combat.
How do you define success?
It used to mean having a certain title or making a certain amount of money. Now it means that I made a difference, that I impacted somebody in a positive way.
How do you define failure?
As an opportunity to get it right the next time.
What’s your biggest failure?
Not taking a chance and playing it too safe. There was a time around 2008 when someone who believed in me kept telling me to leave my job and do the next thing, but I was too scared to take that risk. It took me three to four more years to make a move. My biggest failure was standing still for three years.
What is your current state of mind as it relates to the current state of recruiting?
It feels daunting right now, and that’s because, like me, there are so many people who are in the job market looking to do something new.
Name one TA person besides yourself who people need to know?
Kristina Minyard. She’s cool. She brings a fresh approach to recruiting. She’s hilarious. She’s funny. She’s extremely collaborative. She’s honest.
Most important question: What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I don’t sing karaoke. I’m not allowed to, but truth be told, there was a time when recruiters would go to this pool hall type of place, and if I had enough drink in me, I’d sing “Stranger in My House” by Tamia.
Finish this sentence: Keirsten Greggs is…
Not comfortable with this question.