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Talent Acquisition: A Conversation with Natalie A. Smith

This week I had the tremendous pleasure of hosting our Gapology Radio podcast with a very special guest, Natalie A. Smith. Natalie is the author of “The Power of Plan B: Leap Into Your Greatness” and the founder and CEO of PeopleWiseHR which is a boutique HR consulting business operating out of the Washington DC area. Her team works with small to medium-sized organizations, providing a wide range of HR support including advisory support related to HR infrastructure buildout, HRIS implementation, training and leadership development, HR policy and procedure development, HR audits and compliance, and so much more. Head to her website for more of her team’s offerings.

We had an enlightening conversation that focused on the topic of Talent Acquisition, and Natalie shared some of her insights and the things that she recommends to her clients, as recruiting talent is one of the primary services her team offers. Here is a summary of some of her recommendations…

The Needs

Be very clear on the needs of the position and create a strong job description accordingly. Determine the job requirements; essential job duties, core values, core competencies, soft skills, emotional intelligence, and alignment with culture and organizational purpose. Once you’ve clearly defined those things, build-out interview guides to deliver them.

The Candidate Search

Before attempting to tackle the immense global candidate pool, start small. The best job searches start internally, look inside your organization first. The internal team may be filled with interested candidates with transferrable skills that can quickly scale up their talents with little training. Look for the soft skills and attitude, and then train the skills. Focus on employee referrals and look at “passive candidates”, those whom you may have spoken with previously who may not be actively looking for a new job. Even if they aren’t currently interested in the position, they may have additional referrals that you can contact.

The Interviewing Experience

Create a real “interviewing experience” for the candidates. Don’t make it difficult or overly complicated, simply have a structured plan. If multiple people are conducting segments of the interview, determine topics for each person to cover so the questions can determine knowledge and skills without being repetitive for the candidates. Establish analytics for the interviewing experience that can be used to help improve the process overall to create an amazing journey for the candidates, while delivering top talent.

Retention of Talent

Retaining top talent is a key strategy to minimize and grow the overall effectiveness of the team. Talent development is a top point of conversation for candidates during interviews, as they want to know how the organization will help them grow. Develop training approaches to include professional leadership development in a micro-learning environment. Video-based learning, e-learning, and short bite-sized nuggets of training are in high demand. Start with any low-hanging fruit. Go after the educational needs that will make the most difference and that are most requested by the team. Ask the team for their input on topics and methods of delivery.

The Gapology Angle… As you can see above, Natalie’s recommendations tie directly to Gapology and Speed of Purpose in many ways. You will need to close the Knowledge and Importance Gaps by defining clearly what things you are looking for, and what the search and overall experience look like. This should include clear training and talent development strategies, as well as tying in the alignment of purpose between your organization and the candidates. Close Importance Gaps by establishing clear expectations, communication methods, and priorities with your interviewing team.

Stay tuned for more conversation on this topic in the coming weeks!

To hear our full conversation with Natalie Smith, tune in to Gapology Radio!


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