“The Oprah Effect” – Even Recruiters Can Learn a Thing or Two from Oprah

Oprah Winfrey has been called one of the 100 most influential people in the world.  Since her show is ending after 25 years, I thought I would have a little fun and think about the impact that Oprah has had on our culture and put into the recruiter’s perspective.

Oprah – Need I say more? Oprah is the power of the brand at its best.  As a recruiter are you building and enhancing your own personal brand?  Are you a trustworthy, honest, ethical, passionate, knowledgeable recruiter?  Do you have a positive reputation with your candidates, hiring managers, your colleagues?  Oprah (the million dollar women) stays humble.  Are you but still striving for excellence?  “Be” something special and people will follow you.

  • Favorite Things- I have very few regrets in life; but not being in the audience for one of Oprah’s Favorite Things is one of them.  Joy, Joy, Joy…what a great experience.  Take a deep breathe, now think about the business of Oprah’s ‘Favorite Things…aka The Oprah Effect.  There hasn’t been anything like this.  Think about the power she has over merchandising (maybe even our Gross Domestic Product). Once Oprah says she likes something, that company’s phone literally rings off the hook, websites crash, and millions are made!  (I gave her favorite Chicken Pies for Christmas last year).  Can you image having that kind of buzz about your company?  Wouldn’t it be great to have all the top candidates in the world chasing after you?   What are you doing as a recruiter to create that desire to must have?  When you talk, do people listen?
  • Ask the tough questions – We have all heard the stories about how people have learned from listening to Oprah’s interviews.  I especially appreciate her skills as an interviewer.  Oprah asks the difficult questions (ones even the best of us would have avoided).  Don’t avoid asking the difficult questions, always come to an interview prepared (research and read) and always treat everyone with respect.
  • Books – Since 1996, Oprah has chosen over 60 books for her book club.  Oprah loves to read and it shows.  Oprah is a lifelong learner and it shows.  Recruiters can learn from her and stay fresh, improve your vocabulary and keep up with the hot topics on everyone’s mind.  The best way to learn may be to simply read.  Read the classics, read fiction, read non-fiction, read HR books, read business books, read just for fun, but read.  We learn from books.  I am not talking about articles, blogs or tweets.  Pick up a book.  Books still change the world.
  • The “Aha Moment” – I love it when I am stopped right in my tracks ; hit with a revelation, when the light bulb comes on, I find the perfect word, when I get it…the “aha moment.”  Think about your favorite “aha moments” in recruiting, like the time when you figured out what your hiring manager wanted, when you knew what it would take to close a candidate, or the time you realized why love your job so much.  I am not a philosopher, but the phrase “aha” has been part of my vocabulary for a very long time.  Its great way to explain the experience of finally understanding what it all means.
  • Be Who You are – Oprah appreciates people for who they are, as they are. She seeks out diversity in others.  We sure have witnessed Oprah in all shapes and sizes over the years.  She has been real by sharing what makes her who she is.  A good recruiter find out how a candidate is wired and what makes them tick.  Is the candidate a fit for the job, the company, the boss?  Oprah tells us to be good with whom we are, but make sure you are real.

  • Live Your Best Life – Oprah never looks like she is working.  She lives life out loud.   Oprah has said that the job of your life is to find out what the job of your life is.  Are you having fun being a recruiter?  If not, maybe you should take a walk about.
  • Give Back – Philanthropy and Community matters.  Not only does Oprah give away money, time, resources, but she does it with her heart.  Oprah is one of the most successful and busiest people in the world, but she always seems to have time to give back.  Are you making time to give back to your community, your profession, and the next generation?
  • Who’s Next (Friends of Oprah) – Oprah surrounds herself with talent.  She then catapults them (i.e. Dr. Phil, Suze Ormond, and Dr. Oz) to stardom.  Are you sharing your secrets to success and helping others to be the next big star?

Not everyone is a fan of Oprah, but I can’t let her go away (do we really think she is going away for good?) without acknowledging how she has impacted our world.  Before you jump on your smart phone and tweet during your commute home, consider visiting and signing Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge.  Yep, Oprah touched your life even if you don’t want to admit it.

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Diana Meisenhelter

Diana is an alumnus of Riviera Advisors, and worked with the Riviera Advisors team from 2004-2012 as Principal Consultant.

Diana has over 25 years’ experience leading and being a strategic thinker in Talent Acquisition. She has held key corporate roles as a Managing Director and Vice President of Talent Acquisition, has had a significant experience in global consulting across many industries, including Entertainment, Gas, Financial Services, Electric and Utilities, Healthcare, Hospitality, Government, Oilfield Services, Technology and Telecommunications. She started her career as recruiter. She knows what good looks like from all levels; her passion is in helping companies identify how Talent Acquisition can implement best practices and impact and improve their business.

Most recently she led Talent Acquisition for FedEx Office. Previously, she was Vice President of Staffing and Talent Acquisition for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and Director of Worldwide Recruitment for Westin Hotels & Resorts, She also was responsible for executive recruitment and College Relations for American General Hospitality and held corporate HR generalist roles for Embassy Suites, Inc. prior to the hospitality industry; she worked in other industries such as healthcare, IT executive search and US government support.

Diana has a Bachelor of Arts, Communications/Business Management from The University of Maryland - College Park and an Associates of Arts, European Studies, The University of Maryland - Munich Campus, Munich, Germany

She is actively engaged in the HR and TA profession and helping the profession by volunteering in key leadership roles in the community: Board of Trustees - DallasHR (local mega chapter for Society of Human Resource Management), Society of Human Resource Management, Member of profession networking groups like CareerXRoads Colloquium and The Conference Board.

Past President the DFW Staffing Management Association (previously EMA), Founding Member Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals, Board of Directors - Woman’s Business Council South West, Talent Acquisition Executive Board/The Conference, SHRM Texas State Council and the Board of Directors for the International Association of Corporate and Professional Recruitment.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Loved it! Love Oprah because not only is she a super-star but she asks questions, she shares her success to make others so, and she is humble…and she reads books! I have my Oprah Winfrey Moment when I teach literature to talk about books that are on her list. I am never disappointed by her selections.

    Loved the presentation, your article is very motivating. I will keep this at hand to use and refer to.

  2. Great work and insights! Really enjoyed – this thanks for sharing.
    I’m sure Ophrah’s touch on the world will be studied in textbooks in the future – all the way from Marketing to Social Studies and beyond. Several of my customers had their companies zoom to success after one of their items appeared as one of Oprah’s Favorites.

  3. Fantastic! Great points. I am one of those people that is lucky to do what I love. I consider my self a little dorky (unique) and I love Oprah for being her self and at time just as silly as I am. Her legacy will be studied and hopefully shared with generations to come.
    Excellent Article!

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