What Is In a Name?

While watching the Academy Awards, I noticed there wasn’t much bling this year.  I made a comment on Facebook:  “Where’s Charles Winston on the red carpet this year?”  I was immediately corrected that it wasn’t “Charles,” but “Harry” Winston.

I guess names do matter, but I guess I have always known that.  Names and titles matter.  They brand us, tell others who we are, what we do, where we sit in the hierarchy, and of course often create first impressions.  There may some irony to the fact that names and titles matter, but didn’t Shakespeare get that long ago?

I have been thinking a lot about the title of our profession.  We have many names, including but not limited to:

  • Recruiting
  • Staffing
  • Employment
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Talent Management
  • HR
  • Human Resources
  • Personnel
  • People Services

and any combination of the above.  Yes, our profession has changed a great deal since our days as Personnel (oh I may be dating myself here).  But, isn’t it funny that we can’t all agree on who we are today?

In my last corporate role, I changed my title often and with the changing times.  I changed it from Recruiting to Staffing and eventually to Talent Acquisition, all within one year.  The last one was powerful.  It allowed me to take a stand and declare that our team was different and that we were changing the way we did business.  People used to laugh at me for changing my title all the time (and my department), but it worked.  It set a new tone, clarified, and energized my team and our clients in our new world.

I am not sure what the answer is to what we should call our profession right now.  But I think about this often.  I do find myself changing the title I use, depending on the audience.  But, maybe I lean a little more towards Staffing these days.  It’s safe; we catch the recruiters and the people that deal with internal mobility, too.  But, at the end of the day, what we do is recruit talent, right?  Yes, there is so much more to that role today, but what’s wrong with being a recruiter?  Maybe people don’t like “recruiting,” because it makes them think of Army recruiters.  But, what’s wrong with that?  They have a very difficult job and do pretty well at it, especially these days.

But, I’ve never played it safe.  So, I challenge us to shake things up a little and take a stand.  I think it is time that we have a meeting of the minds and collectively decide on what we want to be called.  If the current titles don’t work, lets make up a new one.

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.

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