Becoming a Talent Hero

For those who attended my session at the ERE Fall Expo, you heard first-hand about CACI’s Predictive Staffing Model and were the recipient of a “secret recipe” which when prepared correctly will make you a “talent hero” at your company. CACI’s Predictive Staffing Model is a proactive, forward-looking talent approach driven by this secret recipe which was concocted in the hollows of Wild and Wonderful West Virginia, which I’m proud to say is my home state. The secret recipe for your success is simple and has three key ingredients:

  • First and foremost to be a talent hero you must always think like a business person in everything you do. ROI is the ultimate secret to your success. Your CEO will be absolutely thrilled when you start speaking business instead of HR and then back it up with fact-based metrics instead of generalalites and emotions.
  • Second, and just as important, you have to be an innovator. A wise man from West Virginia once said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” That’s some deep wisdom, but it’s so true. Bottom line is you will never improve and become a talent hero unless you continually try new things.
  • Third, and my biggest lesson learned in doing this talent stuff, is there’s simply no one single solution/technology/thing out there that you can do/use to ensure success. To be successful and a talent hero you have to excel in all your talent areas and have them in sync working together all the time.

At CACI we work extra hard every day perfecting and executing this secret recipe which has propelled us to national leadership in the talent area. I’m totally confident you can do the same at your company by following this secret recipe, but I must tell you it takes lots of work and persistence. Remember — and yes this also comes from West Virginia — that “winners never quit and quitters never win.” Once you’ve perfected this recipe and have it cooking on high you’ll see I’m not selling you snake oil. To prove my point here are a few examples of what this secret recipe has done for CACI:

  • Ingredient #1: Everything we do in the talent area gets measured, and has a ROI;  for example, we know exactly where every hire (external or internal) comes from, how long it takes us to find them, and the cost of each hire. All our talent areas are also tied directly to CACI’s strategic and financial plans; for example, our predictive staffing model presented at ERE where we are driving our days to fill to 0 — now that’s a big hairy goal. Accountability is also vital to your success; for example, every time an open position goes unfilled longer than 25 days, the “hiring manager” and “recruiter” get to personally explain why to the President of CACI. It’s amazing how well this keeps us all focused on filling positions.
  • Ingredient #2: At CACI we constantly try new ideas, technology, and reinvent all the traditional ways of doing things in our talent areas. We look for talent where others may not. We hire lots of disabled veterans, which are a gold mine of talent for those of you who have not looked there. We also revolutionized college recruiting. We simply run an in-house invitational job fair focused on college grads and market it in college newspapers and social media. A great example of our job-fair success was when we marketed three unique skill sets (developers, finance types, and analysts), received 500 applicants, interviewed 140, and hired 80 new college grads all within 60 days for less than $400 per hire. Another incredible innovation: we hire the superstar college students — e.g., 4.0 GPA during their “junior” year — taking them off the market before competitors get to them. I must admit almost everyone in the college hiring business squirms big time when I share my crazy innovations, but they really do work and are just a smarter productive way of doing business. Additionally we have our interns work year ’round so they can so earn more money for college and take on bigger projects for us. Lastly, we advanced our already highly successful alumni hiring program by paying our alumni the same referral bonus we pay our employees when they recommend candidates we hire. Our alumni know our business and culture well, so they often provide us perfect fits.
  • Ingredient #3: This last ingredient is the hardest one since it contains all the moving parts in our talent area, from technology to process improvement. We constantly focus on connecting all the talent dots so they perfectly fit into our predictive staffing model, which ensures we produce results and not excuses.

Producing results is what it’s all about and why we come to work at CACI. I will assure you this secret recipe will produce results for you and you will become that talent hero at your company as soon as you get it boiling.

Larry Clifton
Larry Clifton is senior vice president in charge of recruiting and workforce planning for CACI International Inc, a leading information technology and professional services company serving the defense, intelligence, homeland security, and federal civilian government areas. CACI is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia with approximately $3 billion in annual revenue and 13,000 employees at over 120 locations worldwide. In addition to being named as the top senior HR leader in the Washington, D.C. metro area in 2009 by HRLA, he and his team were selected as the finalist for the ERE Recruiting Department/Function of the year award in 2010. He is an innovative thought leader whose team hires over 3,500 new employees and redeploys over 700 existing employees into new positions annually. His numerous talent management initiatives and successes have been highlighted across all national media. Prior to joining CACI in 2000, he served in the U.S. Air Force and held numerous leadership positions. His last military assignment was at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland where he was Director of Staff of the 89th Airlift Wing and Commander of the busiest aerial port in the world directly supporting the President of the United States. He received a regents bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University, a master’s degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University, and a master’s degree in human resources from Webster University.