11 Recruiting and HR Leaders Give Career Advice to Their 23-Year-Old Selves


[Originally posted by Jared Smith on LinkedIn's Talent Blog]

Twenty-three is an awkward age for most. You’re definitely not a kid anymore, but not quite considered an adult either. You’ve got your whole life and career ahead of you — and that can be as daunting as it is exciting.

Navigating a career in the fast-paced world of recruiting/talent acquisition is tough and missteps are inevitable. And who could blame you? At 23, the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for higher-level cognitive functions like decision making), isn’t even fully developed.

That’s why LinkedIn asked 11 successful and influential leaders in recruiting and HR to reflect on their early days and share some advice on how to build a career and life in this industry. Our founder, John Vlastelica, was asked to share advice he’d give his 23 year old self.  Check it out below, plus advice from another 10 talent leaders. 

John Vlastelica: Know the business cold

John Vlastelica, founder of management consulting firm Recruiting Toolbox, has more than two decades of experience in the field, and his advice is simple: “Get curious about the business earlier.”

John stresses how important it is for recruiters starting out to have deep knowledge about the business and how it functions. “I need to be able to engage with the business and demonstrate I understand their challenges and talent pain points as a way to build trust and confidence,” he says.  

Knowing the business not only helps you understand the needs of hiring managers, it also helps you engage top talent. “A-players want to know about the work, and sourcing and selling with a generic EVP and job description doesn’t work for that kind of talent,” John says.

John recalls a time in his early 20s when a candidate complimented him on his knowledge of the role. “During a phone screen, an engineering candidate said, ‘Wait, are you the hiring manager or the recruiter? You’re the recruiter, right? Sometimes I can’t tell — you clearly understand what engineers do so well, and I’m not used to that.’ Made. My. Day.”

Want advice from 10 more great talent leaders? Read the full article on LinkedIn's Talent Blog.