How many marketing messages do you see or hear every week regarding a new recruiting tool, solution, innovation or process? AKA: Bright, Shiny Objects.

Each one is purported to solve a talent acquisition challenge…or at least improve on it.

Sometimes it seems we have a hammer in search of a nail!

This can become a trap that many Talent Acquisition Leaders fall unwittingly fall into. I’ll explain more below. But first a brief introduction to this dilemma.

It’s easy—and tempting—to chase after a new practice, a new expert, or new research that seems to provide some relief or a solution to a problem.

Talent Leaders in search of solutions to cope with recruiting top people in today’s hyper-competitive job market are faced with a daunting task.

I’m reminded of an article from Harvard Business Review a few years back that had this quote, “Falling in love with the problem rather than the solution makes it possible to avoid shiny-object syndrome, unconnected programs, and random HR innovation.”


One of the key lessons learned is to fully dig into the problem/challenge and seek to better understand. Then you aren’t quite so eager to embrace the first possible solution and move on. You spend some time letting the challenge soak in, studying it from various angles, and understanding it more deeply.

Understanding the Shiny Object Trap

I began to better understand this ‘shiny object trap’ over the past 25 years while I certified recruiting teams in Performance-based Hiring. This has included 2,000+ recruiters from about every industry you can think of…and, includes recruiting teams from many well-known employers.

This unique experience allowed me a most unique insight as I evaluated real recruiting work product that was submitted for certification purposes.

What follows is just one of those insights. i.e. why otherwise good solutions underperform.

Recruiting Foundation and Basics Were Most Important

What I discovered was that many recruiters don’t know what they don’t know. I also discovered that recruitment fundamentals varied greatly between the best recruiters and their average recruiter colleagues.

This variance was also observed when comparing recruiting teams from one employer with another. Some teams are just markedly better and hired more top people. The best recruiters submitted the best certification data. There were night and day differences when comparing the best with the rest!

Obvious Key Takeaway

Even implementing a world-class solution MUST be executed by the recruiting team and their hiring Managers.


Unless these people have solid basic recruiting and hiring skills and knowledge, the outcome will be sub-optimal at best!

Let me illustrate that with a sports analogy. Sorry if you’re tired of sports analogies but many years ago I spent the first year of my professional career as a football coach and I still value the lessons I learned and I’ve carried them with me for the many years that have followed into my Talent Acquisition career.

All football teams must obviously play by the same rules, but that’s where much of the similarity stops.


Teams use many different variations of both offensive and defense schemes. This includes special teams and various strategies for game day preparation. Despite these differences there are basic fundamentals that EVERY player must utilize regardless of different schemes or game day preparation.


These can be broken down into fundamentals, techniques and skills. These include weekly practice for blocking, tackling, agility drills, pass routes, etc.


It’s also revealing that even NFL teams routinely have their player consistently practice these basic techniques, yet most recruiting organizations rarely assess the execution of foundational skills, and knowledge among their current talent acquisition teams…or provide ways to practice and improve these critical skills and techniques.

It should be the same for recruiters. Top Talent Acquisition pros exhibit superior performance results across nine KPO’s (key performance outcomes) in their work. These same KPOs can be assessed prior to hiring. These nine KPOs cover the skills AND measurements of how well they execute the best techniques allowing them to hire more top people.

All too often, Talent Acquisition leadership focuses most of their attention on the latest tools, such as AI (artificial intelligence), etc. They typically spend little time reviewing the basics, auditing and evaluating their team’s execution of the basics.

I’m not saying these leaders shouldn’t focus on the new tools, strategies and solutions! They absolutely should look at how AI and other new methods, techniques and technology will help.

What I am saying that unless the talent acquisition team has solid basic skills and techniques, these new solutions won’t be nearly as successful as they could be! Remember it takes basic recruiting skills and techniques to execute these to their maximum benefit.

How Talent Acquisition Leaders Build a Top Team

Top Talent Acquisition Leaders can audit their teams across these nine (9) KPOs. They can arrange for additional education and training to upskill their teams.

A good place to start is with the Performance-based Hiring method which is built on a KPO foundation. This can include an outside recruiting team audit, internal and external coaching, on-site and 24x7 online training learning center, and certification. This can be customized and tailored to meet the needs of any recruiting team regardless of size, industry or challenges that are being faced.

I'm Carl Bradford. Call me for an introduction to the company I've been associated with for over 25 years that provides all of this and more.

Talent Acquisition Leaders should be aware of traps from pursuing the wrong birght, shiny objects. See how to avoid these traps.

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About the Author

Carl Bradford's background includes 30+ years as an HR Director, Executive Search Professional, Trainer for 1000+ recruiters and an expert in Performance-based Hiring methods. Carl has certified recruiters in this method since 1999.