Nine Questions

The next participant in The Field Guide's interview series - "Nine Questions" - with HR thought leaders is Deb Andrychuk, Vice President of Media and Strategy at The Arland Group. Below, Deb gives us her thoughts on everything from asking CEOs difficult questions, the impact of social media, the power of doing one's job well and more...

Tell me why what you do is rewarding, challenging, and I suspect in your opinion (and mine) quite awesome?
I love what I do because at the end of the day, I am helping clients solve recruiting problems and attract talent for their organizations. Even better, we are also fostering relationships between job seekers and our client partners via the events that we help promote, the social media content that we provide & manage and the recruitment media outreach that we structure and put into place. One of my clients recently showed me an employee newsletter where one of their new hires was sharing how he got his job (a second career for him) through an online ad that I recommended and how he felt he had found his true professional match. I was thrilled that we could somehow be a part of a positive life changing event for this man.
Do you believe in the notion of professional regret? Why or why not? If so, what's been your biggest professional regret?
Nope. I believe that I am the person that I am today because of the 100+ times that I have fallen flat on my face. Failure always means that I had the guts to try. I do believe that a person should own up to mistakes, make amends and then move on. I love that I have never been afraid to try new things!  
What do you think has been the most significant game changer in your specialty area of human resources over the last 5 years? Over the course of your career?
I think the biggest game changer by far in recruitment advertising in the last 5 years has been social media. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram have become an integral part of the strategy for almost every single one of our clients and candidates expect to see a presence on all of these platforms. Over the course of my career, I would say the biggest change has really been the shift of working with just HR generalists to working with talent acquisition teams and leaders who specialize in recruiting human capital. From a technology standpoint, the biggest change occurred when Monster went live, taking newspaper job postings to online ads…and the space continues to evolve rapidly. Now it’s all about social sourcing, SEO, talent networks and building your employment brand.
Where do you see your area of specialty heading in the next 5 years? Do you think that’s a good or bad thing?
I see us doing less and less work with media consulting, especially job boards and focusing more on social media and employment branding. We have no choice in moving to more socially based recruiting platforms because that is where the candidates are. I think that it’s good and bad. It’s good because there is an opportunity to connect in the environments online where candidates feel comfortable. The bad part is that many companies are still tentative in their social approach or have not fully bought in to using social media.  
In your opinion what’s the most important part of the talent management puzzle: attracting talent, acquiring talent, developing talent, or retaining talent – or something else entirely? Why?
I think that it goes without saying that people want to work for good companies. If companies would focus on doing the right things by their customers and their employees and keeping the triangle balanced, I think that the challenge of attracting & acquiring talent would be a quick fix. And, if you are hiring the right people who will in turn also do the right things, then developing and retaining your people isn’t a problem either. Companies spend a lot of time and money trying to “sell” candidates on what they aspire to be. I tell companies that you need to be real, transparent, truthful. Fix what’s broken so you don’t have to spin the opportunity to get people in the door.  
What do you think is the biggest failure of most organizations when it comes to their talent management strategy? Is there an easy fix, a difficult one, or can it be fixed?
I think the biggest failure of most organizations is not valuing the leaders in HR/ Talent Acquisition or funding their projects so they can be successful. I always want to ask CEO’s, “If people are your most important asset, then why does the majority of your advertising spend go to marketing and a paltry percentage go to recruitment advertising?” Companies need to recognize that recruiting talent needs to be ranked highly on the priorities list if they want to see change.  
In your own words, define what it means to be a leader? Do you think anyone can become a leader? Why or why not?
I think a leader is someone that you want to learn from, someone that has characteristics that you admire or want to emulate and someone who knows how to get the best out of their people without riding them and instilling fear. I know everyone can’t lead. Some people just aren’t cut out to put their necks on the line and they don’t like making unpopular decisions. I am really lucky because I work with some talented folks that don’t need constant direction from me. But, I am proud of the fact that I can be direct and honest with them and I’m always there to listen to them. I might not always agree with what they say, but I believe everyone has a right to voice their opinion. At the end of the day, I am just looking for ways to improve their lives and mine.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge facing human resources related professions and professionals today?
I believe the biggest challenge right now is that most HR folks have been faced with budget cuts and have also had to cut staff. Most of the human resources people I work with are seriously overworked and are being forced to “do more with less” every day. But, here’s the really fun part, most are facing an increase in hiring and don’t have the tools or the people to deliver in an efficient manner. I feel sorry for my clients and friends who are trying to make things happen on a shoe string budget. I think that anyone trying to elevate their recruiting programs to the next level, needs to learn how to tie what they are doing to the overall profit of the company. If you helped hire the biggest producer in sales…being able to translate what you want (new tools, more money, additional headcount) into how the company will benefit (higher quality candidates, lower turnover, lower training costs, etc.) will help you get senior management’s ear.  
What words of advice would you give to a college student considering a career in your field? To someone looking to transition careers? To someone in your field that is feeling burned out or turned off? 
I would say that if you are looking at getting into recruitment advertising as a profession, start networking early and reach out to smaller agencies and see if they will take you on as an intern . I know our firm would definitely be open to mentoring an ambitious and bright college student! If you are looking at transitioning into this field, it’s best if you have a background that offers applicable skill sets. The obvious is to hire someone with a marketing/advertising background, but we have found that our some of our strongest employees have come to us with journalism backgrounds. If you are in recruitment advertising and burnt out, you need to take some time off and decide whether or not you’re just not a good fit for the job or if you just need a break. I always tell friends, “ You can’t be one foot in, one foot out.” If you work for a larger company, see if you can make a lateral move. Sometimes people get burnt out or bored because they have been in the same position with little or no new challenges for too long.  

Before joining The Arland Group more than 4 years ago, Deb Andrychuk worked for for nearly a decade where she was responsible for developing recruiting strategies for Fortune 500 clients across the US and served as a key member of the Diversity/Military Media team which focused on educating and encouraging clients to include these recruiting programs into their current strategies - Deb has worked with some of the largest brands in the world and has added immense knowledge from each. At The Arland Group, Deb manages the Talent Acquisition Services Team and is responsible for developing strategies for improving recruitment processes, retention, diversity initiatives and overall recruiting ROI for clients. She works with various vendors in the human capital vertical including but not limited to job boards, ATS vendors, print partners, job distribution tools, CRM’s and social/professional networking sites. Deb is passionate about staying abreast of cutting edge technology and is well versed and capable to help clients of all sizes with employment branding, social media solutions, mobile and digital solutions, web solutions and more. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and kids. In her off time, she enjoys working out, traveling, reading and cooking.

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