Nine Questions

The next participant in The Field Guide's interview series - "Nine Questions" - with HR thought leaders is Matt Adam, Chief Talent Strategist for NAS Recruitment Communications. Below, Matt gives us his thoughts on everything from recruitment as a customer focused function, the evolving demands on HR leadership, some helpful advice for job seekers, and much more...

Tell me why what you do is rewarding, challenging, and I suspect in your opinion (and mine) quite awesome?
Awesome is a great word for it. I learned a long time ago how rewarding it is to not only find your own dream job but to help someone else find theirs. As a marketer I've always taken special pride in knowing that my efforts don't just push a product. Recruitment marketing actually helps organizations find great talent (and vice versa). The best part of my job is hearing the end results of a successful campaign and thinking about how our part in the process positively affected the lives involved.
Do you believe in the notion of professional regret? Why or why not? If so, what's been your biggest professional regret?
Yes. I think that if we are honest with ourselves, regret is a natural part of life, both personally and professionally. The "What could have been?" line of thinking haunts everyone. The question then becomes what you do with that feeling. The mindset I've always tried to take is that regret is a natural part of evolution and a critical component of the learning process. In reality, most of the decisions I make are shaped by previous failure(s). Ultimately that helps me get better at what I do.  
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?
The last five years have brought a virtual lifetime of evolution to the recruitment marketing space. When you couple the highest unemployment rates that most of us have seen in our lifetimes with the advent of social media and mobile communications, it is hard to recognize where things were five years ago. If I had to name the single most significant game changer, I'd probably have to say social media. Social media has changed the very fabric of communication and has permanently altered the way organizations correspond with candidates. It is fascinating to watch and we have only just begun.
Where do you see your area of specialty heading in the next 5 years? Do you think that’s a good or bad thing?
As much as things have changed over the past five years, I believe the pace of change moving forward will only accelerate. The mega shift we are witnessing, in part thanks to social media and smart phones, is a change from 'advertising' based communications to 'marketing solutions'. Word of mouth has always been a powerful method of persuasion and with the technology platforms available now it is exploding. As far as the net affect of these trends I believe they are inherently positive. A world with more open, transparent and real time communication provides power for people to make better and more effective decisions.  
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've always been partial to the attraction of talent. If you begin with the right talent both from a skill and from a cultural perspective, everything else becomes that much easier. To me that makes it the most critical piece of the puzzle.  
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?
To be blunt, the biggest failure I see is organizations that do not treat candidates as if they were customers. Candidates are indeed customers and treating them as anything less is doing your organization a huge disservice. The talent supply and demand dynamics certainly ebb and flow but as the unemployment rate continues to recover, we will definitely see organizations begin paying attention to the candidate experience once again. It won't be easy but with commitment and some help from new sourcing technologies it can certainly be done.  
In your own words, define what it means to be a leader? Do you think anyone can become a leader? Why or why not?
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes and there are certainly many effective leadership styles. To me, the most effective leaders are the ones who lead by example. A leader who is not afraid to practice what she preaches or dig in to help where needed shows that they care beyond the words that they speak.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge facing human resources related professions and professionals today?
Two things: a skills gap and resource limitations. The skills required of today's HR leader are very different than they used to be. Leaders today must be savvy communicators, forward thinking marketers and metrics driven. This is a unique skill set that varies greatly from what the job required in the past. Shrinking this gap is a challenge we are likely to face for some time. In addition, the strain of resources has choked many HR leaders from doing what they know is right for their organizations. HR Technology has evolved rapidly and funding has not been allocated to the level necessary to invest in solutions that could improve their work output and productivity. My prediction is change will come but only after the pain is acute. There are some forward leaning organizations who have the vision and resources necessary to move forward and I believe they will be the clear winners as the economy continues to rebound.  
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'd offer the same advice to all of the above and that is to 'Be Nimble'. The ones who fall behind are the ones who are unwilling or unable to change. We all feel trepidation in regards to change but that is the constant in today's business climate. Above all else, be open to trying new things and exploring the possibility of what could be.
Anything else you would like to add?
Just a thank you to you Erik. Erik and I have never met. We've never spoken over the phone. But I came across his blog recently and reached out via LinkedIn. We connected and the result is this blog post. The sharing of ideas and the openness for collaboration are virtues that I greatly admire and I applaud him for taking the time to share his world purview with all of us. Keep it up my friend!

Matt Adam serves as EVP & Chief Talent Strategist for NAS Recruitment Communications, a leading provider of innovative recruitment marketing and human resource communications solutions. Matt has worked with a wide-variety of organizations to develop effective recruitment marketing strategies that define and shape an organization’s recruiting efforts in today's digital marketplace. Matt is a featured industry keynote speaker on Best of Class Career Websites, Employment Branding and Mobile Recruiting Technologies. He can be reached at or via LinkedIn.

This entry was posted on and is filed under ,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

Leave a Reply