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Today’s guest is Sjoerd Gehring, the Global VP of Talent Acquisition at Johnson & Johnson. We are going behind the scenes of talent acquisition to explain what it is, how it works and why one size never fits one in this area. 

Sjoerd Gehring, was born in the Netherlands and attended universities in Europe. He was with Accenture for almost ten years. The last two years he has been with Johnson and Johnson as Global VP of Talent Acquisition. 

When asked for an overview of Talent Acquisition (TA), Gehring indicated that it was a matter of matching talent with opportunity on a massive scale. Specifically, talent needs must be defined and then an understanding is developed regarding the opportunities that are available within the organization. 

In the past, HR would look to fill open positions. Now, TA is more strategic and proactive. In fact, last year Johnson and Johnson TA filled 25,000 positions. The need to be strategic at that level is massive. 

The proactive strategy includes looking both internally and externally for candidates. When looking within, it provides opportunities for TA to communicate openly about possible career paths in the organization. This type of recruitment process requires transparent communication about available positions within the company.  

This is something that is done proactively at Johnson and Johnson – they move people around within the organization. Here, the TA ‘owns’ the entire hiring process. This has process has four distinct steps or ‘buckets’.  

1. Strategic conversations with hiring managers.  

2. Candidate outreach - daily connecting with potential candidates 

3. Selection assessment - assess the ‘slate’ of candidates in a respectful and fair way to lead to making the right talent decisions.  

4. Compensation and benefits negations. 

When asked about whether candidates should negotiate salary Gehring responded that there were two schools of thought. The first is to be open in the beginning about aspirations. Both candidate and organization need to be within the same range of each other. If not, time will be wasted for both parties. However, salary should not be first thing out of one’s mouth; usually this is at the end of the first conversation. 

The second is to look at the total compensation package, rather than just looking at salary and bonus. Consider health care, leave, on-site child care, etc.  

When asked if he has any tips for what candidates can do to prepare for an interview, Gehring said to be prepared. Look at the organization’s career website, research the culture. Also, consider bringing a portfolio. Even those that are not designers could potentially utilize this tool to help showcase previous work.  

When asked if he has any tips for organizations to find the best employees, Gehring said to focus on the job descriptions. They are often very dry and actually disconnected from the reality of the position. Look at things like the wording and potential gender bias. This can lead to better candidates.  

Also, look at selection assessment approach. The number of interviews can be overwhelming. Research has shown that after 4 or 5 interviews there is not much new learned. Additionally, ensure that all interviewers are trained in effective techniques.  

What does Gehring see as the future of  TA? The emphasis will be on a candidate perspective – more consumerism and transparency. This will be driven by data and personalized recruiting. He expects to take massive leaps forward in this area in the next few years. 

From an organizational perspective recruiting will become even more strategic to business leaders. They need to be more agile with better abilities to anticipate the ebb and flow of businesses.  

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • What is talent acquisition? 
  • Insights into how talent acquisition works 
  • Four steps in the hiring process at Johnson & Johnson 
  • Tips for both candidate and organizations during the hiring process 
  • Should you negotiate your salary? 
  • How important is a candidate’s social media ‘brand’? 
  • Some things J&J is thinking about testing out or trying 
  • What is the role of data and technology in talent acquisition 
Direct download: Sjoerd_Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:36am PDT