Poll Results: So Where is all the HR Talent?

In The Chapman Consulting Group’s October study, we looked at the ways in which HR Leaders find out about other talented HR professionals in the market.

By far the majority of voters (51%) said that the best HR professionals that they know of tend to come from personal referrals. These might be from business colleagues or HR colleagues, from current companies or from past employers. The Chapman Consulting Group is not surprised by this result — in our experience, what makes a ‘good’ HR Leader can often be highly subjective, and it’s always best to match HR people who come from similar backgrounds in terms of company size, industry, regional set-up and business objective. “When someone gets referred to an HR colleague through a known business connection, that colleague often has the same viewpoint,” said Oscar Fuchs, Associate Director of The Chapman Consulting Group, “and so can be quite accurate with recommendations.”

The other three options on our survey received approximately the same number of votes, which goes some way in showing how there is no singular best way to ‘root out’ talented HR professionals in the market.

17% of voters said that they met the best calibre of HR professionals through headhunters, and this could either be through introductions to them as clients or as jobseekers. This might seem one of the more natural ways to seek out new HR talent, however in practice the process can sometimes be a frustrating one, as many HR recruiters and headhunters are not exact enough with their introductions. Also, these introductions can be heavily contextualised to the interview itself, so it’s not always easy to build a proper assessment of another HR professional.

Another 17% said that the best HR people they met were ones who were already working in their company when they joined. This is also quite an understandable way to meet good HR people, as it’s often upon the basis of the standard of HR talent in an organisation that an HR person chooses their next role. Matthew Chapman, Managing Director of The Chapman Consulting Group, added: “Role models and mentors are a very important part of an HR Leader’s development and future style of HR.”

And finally 15% said that they met the best calibre of HR professionals through events, conferences and other networking events. The quality and quantity of good HR people that can be met in these situations depends on the way in which the event has been organised. In far too many occasions, larger scale events can be quite a free-for-all, and it’s almost impossible to make real connections with other HR people in the audience. According to Fuchs, “By far the most effective way to meet strong HR people is through tailor-made and smaller-scale industry roundtables, where there is far more depth in the information shared between participants.”

In conclusion, there’s no golden formula to meeting good HR people, however the proportion of votes given above can give the reader a very accurate indication of how much energy should be put into these four different approaches of seeking out HR talent.


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