Differentiation and candidate experience… some considerations on “Talent Relationship Management” by Armin Trost.

From time to time I receive requests from ex-colleagues and friends associated with talent acquisition or with legal departments asking me for help to find specific candidates to fill their legal positions. Usually the requests go like this – “Could you share this position on your LinkedIn page? I have not found a suitable candidate in months!”- or –“Could you tell your colleagues that I am looking for a candidate with this experience? We have not receive to many resumes… ”-.

The last job description I have been asked to publish states the following: “LEGAL MANAGER required urgently!. We are looking for a Legal Manager with 7 to 10 years of experience in corporate law and international matters. Candidates able to join immediately preferred. Qualification: Master Degree in International Commercial Law, bilingual. Candidates who had previously worked with any organization having more than 500 employees will be given preference. Salary package offered is based on qualification and experience. Please send your CV to name@email.com”.

After one or two weeks my now desperate ex colleague contacts me once again to confirm that I did publish his/her vacancy as I have promised. So far she/him has not received any new resumes at all and his/her conclusion is that “there is no talent out there”. However, I am absolutely sure that the talent she/he is looking for does exist, I have worked with them, I talk to them on a regular basis, and I see their posts published on LinkedIn everyday. But the issue here is that none of those “talents” have felt particularly inclined to apply to this specific position and the question is “Why not?” and who gives us the answer to this interrogation is Prof. Dr. Armin Trost: the post was developed focused on a vacancy rather than on talent.

Dr. Trost, in his book “Talent Relationship Management: Competitive Recruiting Strategies in Times of Talent Shortage”, with his traditional meticulous and structured analysis describes the current challenges that talent acquisition faces “which no longer lies in choosing the right candidates” only. Employer’s passive attitude to attract talent, demographic development, and Internet influence among others are highlighted by the author as part of such challenges.

Dr. Trost carefully leads the reader through an overview of Talent Relationship Management, its philosophy that should be an “extremely active approach from an employer’s perspective”, and the description of the six components that should be part of it. To support his arguments, Dr. Trost also presents successful relevant cases, like the ones of Gerhard Rösch GmbH and Lufthansa German Airlines that attest that creativity, innovation and differentiation are not just necessities but characteristics themselves of Talent Relationship Management.Though the author primarily focuses on relevant topics like employer branding, which is his personal area of expertise, “employer promise” or employee value proposition, strategic personnel planning for key and bottleneck functions, and search and recruitment strategies like “social community recruiting” and “guerilla”, he also goes beyond the expected content for a book on this topic as he illustrates clear tactics like “speed, transparency and appreciation” for constructive settings of “candidate experience” and “candidate retention”.

From the content of the book it becomes evident that the author is not particularly a big follower of the so well known phrase “We owe our success to our people”; however, it also becomes clear that Dr. Trost does care about people and businesses. The author makes all efforts to remark that, if employers own their success to their people then they should take care of them by improving their experience with them, being the first one the “candidate experience”. It could be inferred from the book that if you care about your people you demonstrate it, not just state it.

For those professionals who are not already familiar with Dr. Armin Trost’s work who is an industrial and organizational German psychologist and author, speaker and consultant who focuses primarily on talent management, employer branding and the future of work, they will meet on this book an author that is highly accessible to understand while he also delivers top level academic and practical content.

The research of Dr. Trost can be particularly useful to, besides human resources practitioners of course, entrepreneurs, key executives, and managers of all levels and areas to get a better understanding of the current dynamics affecting talent acquisition and how to tackle them, or in any case, how to support those areas that have the specific task of attracting the talent they need.

Finally, for those readers who are not “hunting” candidates but are somehow candidates themselves this book may be helpful to them to find out where, how and when large companies, small and medium-sized business “which do, and will, suffer more intensively from the shortage of talent” will search for new talent in the times ahead.