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Nellie Peshkov, vice president of global talent acquisition at Netflix
LAS VEGAS—Nellie Peshkov, vice president of global talent acquisition at Netflix, learned a valuable lesson early in her executive career.
In an earlier job at Symantec, Peshkov partnered with the vice president of engineering for a leadership development program. They were challenged to tell one another what value each brought to the other's team. After hearing him speak about complex engineering issues and how they related to the rest of the company, she stumbled.
"I did not know what to say. I wasn't searching for any roles on his team or working on any initiatives for his department. I did not know what value I brought" outside transactional work, Peshkov said.
His response floored her. "Are you kidding me?" he asked. "You have people talent. Your insights and instincts about people will be invaluable to me. When I get stuck and don't know how to get through to someone, you will be the person I call."
That exchange gave Peshkov the confidence to think of herself as more than a recruiter and instead as a talent acquisition business partner.
She shared that experience with recruiters Oct. 5 at LinkedIn's Talent Connect 2016, a conference for LinkedIn users.
Now she's at Netflix, a company famous for its innovative hiring process and its intense "freedom and responsibility" culture—one without performance reviews, expense approvals or many administrative hurdles at all.
She said that the company's talent acquisition practices draw on that culture, including the focus on collaboration, transparency and feedback, which stands in sharp contrast to the typical consultant-client relationship between recruiters and hiring managers.
"That's not a partnership. If the goal is to hire great talent, the most critical key to success for the talent acquisition team is partnership with the business," she said. She explained that hiring managers are ultimately responsible for hiring and are expected to "put as much energy and effort" into recruiting as recruiters do.
The Work Must Be Mutual
With everyone pushed to work at talent acquisition, what's expected of recruiters at Netflix? "Not only do they have to be amazing at identifying talent, engaging talent, assessing talent and getting them on board," Peshkov said, "they need to be an amazing talent acquisition business partner. It's their job to turn every hiring manager at Netflix into a recruiting champion."
She quoted actor Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood character from the popular Netflix program "House of Cards" in giving a succinct definition for a true business partner: "If you want my loyalty, then you have to offer yours in return."
She added that the foundation for a successful partnership is that it is mutual, it is built on trust and it has a constant flow of communication. That's what is discussed with hiring managers during the first meeting with the talent acquisition team at Netflix.
"We're going to source together, engage candidates together and work on strategy together. There's no such thing as my role and your role," she said.
Peshkov outlined the following five ways that recruiters can be better business partners.
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