Thinking Backward to Move Recruitment Forward

Editor’s note: This article is part of a series highlighting speakers at the upcoming ERE Recruiting Conference. Click here to view other articles in the series.

The world of work is changing. Paradigms have shifted in an age of agility, re-skilling, and digital disruption. To move talent acquisition forward, you’ve got to think backward. 

What does that mean? you might be thinking. Giselle Mota will tell you. A principal consultant on the future of work at ADP, she’ll be speaking at the upcoming ERE Recruiting Conference in San Diego, Apr. 15 – 17, about how to shift your mindset to acquire next-gen talent. 

I recently spoke to Giselle about her upcoming session, why her dyslexia is a workplace advantage, and her experiences in the workforce as a neurodivergent, millennial, AfroLatina woman.  

Can you tell me a bit about your session and why you think it’s important?

I’ll start with the second part of your question because, you know, I’m all about thinking backward! So here’s the deal: It used to be that employees were at the mercy of employers, but with unemployment being the lowest it’s been in 50 years, the situation has flipped. Employers now must do a better job of finding candidates with the right skills. They’ve got to flip some rocks and look in places they haven’t traditionally. 

Take me, for example. Before coming to ADP, I had my own consulting practice and was doing contract work on the side. At the same time, I was hitting the pavement and hustling. Companies with traditional sourcing and recruiting approaches probably would not have found me. And even if they had, they probably would’ve overlooked someone like me, who is Latina and who is neurodivergent. And when I say neurodivergent, I’m not talking solely about being on the spectrum; I’m talking about people who think about and approach things in different ways. Today’s employers have real opportunities to tap into such pools of candidates.

I think a lot of people agree, or at least say that they agree, with that. But let’s get back to that first part of my question. 

Yes, that my session is about thinking backward. Recruiting should be about looking at the entire employee lifecycle. It shouldn’t be about just getting talent, but imagining how that talent will progress in your company. Why would someone stay years from now? Why might that person leave? If you start with those questions, then you can work backward to figure out why someone would join your organization in the first place. By understanding what it takes to keep someone, you will better understand how to recruit someone. 

Again, I bet a lot of people would agree with such logic, but do you think there are any misconceptions about taking such an approach?

Probably that this will be burdensome and complicated, but isn’t that what we always fear when we don’t understand something or keep an open mind? So if recruiters have to think backward to attract diverse forms of talent, they may initially resist doing so. It will make them nervous. But the benefits to the company can be great. It can be so helpful to have people who see things through entirely different lenses. They’ll see problems differently, and come to new solutions.

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For instance, I see things in patterns, so whereas other people might see a straight line of how A connects to B, I tend to see how A connects to B and C and D and so forth. It’s because of the dyslexic tendencies I have — which can also bring new levels of dimension to business. 

Would you then say that dyslexia is an advantage for you in the workplace?

Yes, but not for the usual reasons people might assume — you know, that it has created struggles for me to overcome to make me stronger. It’s actually an advantage because of what I do with it. It’s how you leverage something that turns it into an advantage, and I use my dyslexia to bring a different perspective into the workplace. 

I love the notion of viewing what others typically consider a disability not necessarily as a disadvantage to overcome but as an advantage to leverage. That’s powerful.

I think it is. And really, that’s what my session is all about, helping companies see candidates in new ways. It won’t be the usual, same old talk about recruiting talent. I hope people come with an open mind to hear my personal story, to hear something different, and then to apply it in their own situations. 

Interested in learning more about how to move your recruitment efforts forward? Come see Giselle and network with tons of other great speakers and attendees at the ERE Recruiting Conference. Use code ERESD2020READER to receive 10% off your ticket price by registering by Feb. 10. See you in April! 

Vadim Liberman is editor of ERE.net (the devil wears TJ Maxx) and a workplace renegade advancing how we think, work, and live. He has previously worked as a strategy consultant to HR and recruiting tech companies at The Starr Conspiracy, as a talent management professional at Prudential, and as senior editor of The Conference Board Review, a magazine for business leaders. Vadim loves to talk about all things talent acquisition and Bravo TV shows. Bring it!

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