How to build a great Talent Acquisition team, Part II

As this is my first blog post with Spotify HR, let me start with a brief introduction of myself.  I’m Jon Singel and I joined the band in December 2018 to lead Talent Acquisition (TA), having spent the previous five years in the same capacity for one of the fastest-growing energy efficiency firms based out of Austin, Texas. 

One of the first things we did when I joined, was to sit down with all the TA Leads and decide on a common vision for the team. We agreed that we wanted to do things differently, disrupt even, and mirror our business so we can win the war for talent.  Disrupting something means drastically altering the structure of it, yet the recruiting team itself was structured in a way that was very traditional. We were set up in teams that each supported a function (for example R&D or Business) in a specific geographical region.  

But our business operates as a global team, and as HR practitioners we are smack in the middle of building out the business need to be consultative business partners.  So, we took a step back, put down a white sheet of paper and challenged our historical way of thinking within TA. The outcome was a completely new way of working where we embed ourselves into the business and build global teams that align to the core business units we support.  

A big change

This was a big change and, naturally, many of us felt hesitation or resistance.  

Life is full of choices; one of which is to follow the status quo or be pioneers.  At Spotify, we embrace the role of the pioneer and we take pride in being innovators in whatever we do. It’s part of who we are, as a team, to dare to be different and do different. So, of course, we chose to go all-in and make the change. As a result, over the last four months, we have been navigating our journey on this new path. We have done a total makeover; restructured our teams, aligning talent partners to each of the global business units we support and filling gaps where needed.  Sunsetting some old darlings. We have formed Talent Councils (sourcing teams organized by technical domain) that are solely focused on pipe-lining. We have enabled our massive amounts of TA data to drive insight and productivity via bi-weekly dashboards and quarterly newsletters that align the TA results to very real business goals. And now, we are implementing a new state-of-the-art infrastructure and applicant tracking system that will serve the business in the best way possible.

The results

Now, for the question you are likely asking in your head.  What was the result of all this? Well, figures are just in from the second quarter with this new setup and we’re happy to report: First and foremost, we are more strongly aligned to the business, their needs, what drives them, and how we connect to their goals than ever before.  We are building momentum, cultivating pipe-lines of talent that will drive our ever-evolving growth strategy and we are on the brink of leveraging technology that will change the game for everyone involved in the talent life-cycle. 

We are also proud to report that in partnership with the business, Q2 saw us increase our hires by 26% compared to Q1 2019 (and figures then weren’t exactly low either…).  Better still, we are now on pace to surpass this in Q3, as we’ve already accomplished 50%+ of our hiring goal for the year. This reminds us that “no guts no glory” is a thing.  Communication and being close to the business is key, but so is going ahead and just doing what people (even wise and initiated people) say can’t be done. Daring to go for it anyway can really pay off.  And being change-averse and complacent is always a bad idea. 

Going forward

But we don’t have any plans to sit back and relax just yet.  We are committed to continuous learning and we will take from everything we are learning in this process, pivoting as we go and always remembering that great things never came from staying in the comfort zone.  

We’re confident that the best is yet to come!