February 28, 2021
Hiring 09 June 2017
Top 15 TedTalks for Hiring Managers and HR Professionals
Hannah Son
TedTalks, Hiring Managers, HR Professionals, recruiters, communication, conversation, body language

Recruiters and hiring managers are hyper focused on finding the best candidates that will deliver results in their positions. According to a hiring manager from Glassdoor, “Our closeness to the inner workings of our company and our team goals can serve as both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand, there’s no one better to assess the needs and idiosyncrasies of the role. On the other hand, we can fall into ruts, which can mean our vision can get a bit myopic.”

Here are the Top 15 TED Talks that will help anyone, especially HR professionals connect and engage through better conversation, understand the motivation behind a person’s interpersonal signals, read body language cues, and use their own body language to portray the right message and find the best fit for any culture. After all, nobody wants to deal with the cost of a bad hire...

1.) Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek, the author of the book Start With Why, explains how his own struggle to understand personal motivation led him to the fundamental realization that it all begins with “Why?”. With this simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership, he explains how the best managers and leaders help people get in touch with their personal “why” and connect it to the “why” of the company or organization. His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers. He addresses the fact that, “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

2.) Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Brené Brown studies the power of human vulnerability. She dives into the world of human connection and our abilities to empathize and love. With humor and knowledge, she poignantly shares her research, about how “connection is why we’re here,” which is relevant to all interactions within and outside of our workplaces.

3.) Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation 

Performance management and motivation go hand in hand. If your employees aren't motivated, it shows. Dan Pink brings to light what managers and missing and what scientists are noticing, traditional rewards are losing their edge. The normal thinking of more money drives more motivation and better work is being thrown out the window and updated. Watch to see how autonomy, mastery, and purpose all contribute to higher efficiency and a happier office.


4.) Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

In Cuddy’s TED Talk, she discusses the importance of maintaining one’s body language to have better interactions and communicate confidence, trustworthiness, and presence in all situations. According to Amy, “When we think of nonverbals, we think of how we judge others, how they judge us and what the outcomes are. We tend to forget the other audience that’s influenced by our nonverbals, and that’s ourselves. We are also influenced by our nonverbals, our thoughts and our feelings and our physiology...our bodies change our minds and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” Body language like Cuddy’s “power posing” can positively or negatively influence our chances our self-confidence, persuasiveness, and chances of success by literally changing our body chemistry and emotions. 

5.) Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers

In this TED Talk, Organizational psychologist Adam Grant helps answer the age old question of “How do creative people come up with great ideas?” He uses terms like “originals” to describe the innovative thinkers who dream up brand new ideas and take action to bring them into the world, “The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most because they’re the ones who try the most. You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.”

6.) Regina Hartley: Why the best hire might not have the perfect resume

In her TED Talk, UPS’s HR manager Regina Hartley presents the audience with two polar job applicants: the “silver spoon” and the “scrapper”. Given the choice between the two candidates, one with a perfect background and one who has fought against the odds, she always gives the "Scrapper" a chance, “In spite of everything and against tremendous odds, they succeeded.” Being a self-proclaimed scrapper herself, Hartley reminds us of the good that can come if hiring managers give the less-than-perfect candidate a chance. 

7.) Arianna Huffington: How to Succeed? Get More Sleep

In this short but engaging 4 minute TED Talk, Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night’s sleep. Instead of bragging about our sleep deficits, she urges us to shut our eyes and see the big picture: We can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness – and smarter decision-making.

8.) Celeste Headlee: 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

Celeste Headlee addresses how to hone your interpersonal skills so you can communicate and have a great conversation with everyone from your family to your company’s CEO. In her TED Talk, she discusses how to pay attention the right way so you walk away feeling engaged from the conversation. According to Headlee, better conversations can be concentrated down to learning how to really listen to understand someone’s perspective. Exercising this muscle might help to identify “culture adds” rather than “culture fits.”

9.) Steve Jobs:  How to Live Before You Die

WSteve Jobs was always an innovator in management. We know you've probably seen this from the graduation speech where it was given. However, it's definitely one for everyone and brings about vital insight to managing successful teams. You'll always have goals, deadlines, and those annoying co-workers but if you can appeal to the ethos of your employees and be empathetic to their lives, hopes, dreams you will have happier employees and ultimately more success. A happy workforce and one who feels valued contributes to high retention rates and outperforms competitors (with a less happy culture) by more than 20%.

10.) Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work

Shawn Achor, is an established Harvard lecturer, psychologist, and CEO, challenges the age-old assumption that we work to be happy. He poses the question of “We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backward?” Through his wit and candor, Achor explains how happiness inspires us to be more productive and not the other way around, “[It’s] the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”

11.) Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend

Kelly McGonigal has been treating stress as a disease that makes people sick but has now changed her tune. While stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. By pumping more blood and breathing more you are preparing for something difficult, and ready to take on any challenge. So, the next time you are stressed, think about it as your body preparing you for the challenge.

12.) Barry Schwartz: The Way We Think About Work is Broken

For most employees, the weekdays tend to blur together as they long for the weekend. Breaks are necessary but, if we can help employees be satisfied and engaged in their work the results are astonishing. What can help make work satisfying? No, not money, what intangible items can bring forth satisfaction? HR expert Barry Schwartz suggests that our current thought and method of work simply ignores these intangible values. According to Schwartz, It's time to stop thinking of workers as cogs on a wheel.


13.) Mary Schaefer: Putting the human back into human resources

When you hear the term “human resources,” often the first thing that comes to mind is the department that handles the people stuff. But if you think about it, the name is about the “humans” who happen to be employees. In this TED Talk, Shaefer talks about the difference between treating employees humanely and humanly. She talks about how when employees are treated in a way that they know you believe they are capable of more, they rise to the occasion. When human needs are met at work so that they feel seen and appreciated, they become more engaged – and they go the extra mile even when no one is looking.

14.) Mellody Hobson: Color Blind or Color Brave?

Diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of hiring and retention issues everywhere. Although it's a  fragile subject, it's precisely the reason we need to talk about it. Finance exec Mellody Hobson makes her case for speaking candidly and openly about race and diversity within hiring. Diversity breeds better companies and ultimately, a better society.

15.) Margaret Heffernan:  Forget The Pecking Order at Work

Oftentimes most companies and organizations run according to "the super chicken model," where the value is placed on select employees who surpass or outperform others. However, the top performing teams or organizations don't follow this strategy. According to Margaret Heffernan, it's all about social cohesion which is built on the small interactions. Every break, each time one employee asks another for guidance or help, over time, that is what leads to great results. See how your leadership compares. Is it time to turn it upside down? Think more critically about each employee experience and their pathway. After all, as Heffernan states, "Companies don't have ideas. Only people do."

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