Corporate Eye

Quick Takes and Backward Glances


Some brief observations and retrospective alerts:

1.     Make time to visit Susan Burns’s beautiful site, Talent Synchronicity.  It proves that a website can be visually interesting without being gimmicky, and that an “artful” design can still look orderly and energetic.

2.     While there, read Susan’s post on Community managers and the evolution of recruiting.  This excellent summary supplements a post I did a while back on Recruiting 2.0: The new importance of community.

3.     As much as I like the Talent Synchronicity site, and even though I get the intent of the name . . . the “T-word” seems to be everywhere in recruiting these days.  The word “talent” has become dominant in the standard jargon of recruiting (“talent management,” “talent wars,” “talent search,” etc.)–and I think that raises some concerns:

  • It sounds dehumanizing to refer to human beings as “the talent.” Whatever happened to “persons,” “people,” and “human resources”?
  • “Talent” language seems to focus on finding star performers and high-value resources. Don’t companies need regular “workers” any more?
  • There’s a bit of show-biz glitziness to these phrases that would seem to put interviewing and hiring on a par with American Idol.

Love to hear a contrasting point of view!

4.    Speaking of (potential) comments, here are a few good tips provided by commenters on earlier posts:

  • Mel Kleiman–author of the white paper on hourly recruiting mentioned in Tick Tock–hosts a very interesting community forum at HRExchange. Good content, in addition to worthwhile discussions.
  • A comment from autom8 provided a link to Smashing Magazine’s 10 Harsh Truths about Corporate Websites. Though not about the Careers site in particular, the article offers a provocative and generally accurate summary of typical problems and pitfalls.
  • The post On the Hunt for Passive Candidates produced several good tips. In separate comments both David and Richard mentioned RealMatch–worth a look if you’re not familiar with this “pay-per-performance recruitment advertising solution.” And commenter Patrick has a nice instructional post on LinkedIn for HR and recruiters.

5.    Finally, here’s the info on a site I can’t quite figure out how to categorize, so it never gets into a post.  But it’s very interesting, and a good resource: is a member-based, knowledge-sharing portal aimed at improving organizational and interpersonal communication. At the center of Communitelligence are nine expert-led communities on topics such as intranets, internal communications, marketing, media and presentation skills, photography and design, communications technology and public relations.”


(Thanks to Ana Patricia Almeida for the “art of speed” illustration.)

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.

I completely agree with you about the word “talent”. In fact, for some months now I have been planning a blog post calling for it to be banned. I’m still formulating my ideas about it, but you have prompted me to revisit the topic and I hope to post soon.

To me, there’s something a little sinister about the word “talent” in the current economic and political environment. I think it reflects the near ubiquitous belief (particularly among financial types) in “meritocracy” – namely that the “smartest guys in the room” got where they are because of their innate superiority and not by luck of birth, schooling or by surfing the biggest credit bubble in history.

And it was particularly worrying when Gordon Brown said he wanted a “government of all the talents”. What he meant, of course, was a government of the unelected – no doubt drawn from the pool of “talent” that is currently benefiting from all those tax-payer bailouts!

Thanks so much for the important insight, Clare. It’s interesting to realize that the word “talent” originally referred to a unit of measure or monetary value, not a type or degree of ability. Our current usage comes from the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), in which the servant who saved rather than invested is rebuked by his master, while the servants who made a profit are promoted!

Indeed, that hadn’t passed me by – the war between savers and speculators is clearly age old!

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