From networking to empathy: Melissa Grabiner’s 5 golden rules for effective talent acquisition

“If you’re viewing people as a placement, a fee, a resource, a talent, a candidate, or anything other than a human being, you’re doing our industry and your colleagues a disservice. Treat every single person with the exact amount of kindness and respect you would want for yourself if you were making a life-changing decision.”

Melissa Grabiner
Global talent acquisition leader
Melissa Grabiner



If you’re entering or considering a career in talent acquisition, good for you! 

I’ve really enjoyed my two-plus decades in TA, and I can assure you that you can have an extremely rewarding and dynamic career in this field.

But, like any journey, it’s always better with a guide. 

Drawing from almost two decades of experience in talent acquisition, I’ve curated some indispensable pieces of advice to light your path and ensure your success in the world of recruitment.

Here are my five golden rules to help you succeed— 

1. Networking, networking, and more networking!

I firmly believe recruiters might as well have “professional networker” on their resumes! 

When it comes to talent acquisition, your circle is your power. What you know and who you know can make or break your success rate.

So, broaden your circle, meet as many new people as possible, and cultivate new relationships. 

I can’t recommend this enough because a larger candidate pool vastly improves your chances of making high-quality hires and acquiring new clients. 

One way you can build a professional network within both HR and recruiting communities is by attending industry events and conferences

Events offer great opportunities to connect with peers and mentors who can offer guidance and support for years. 

I’d also suggest joining relevant LinkedIn groups. 

If you’re a people person and great at building those personal connections, you will always have an edge.

2. Master the art of communication

I believe a solid communication strategy is the heart of recruitment. 

Unlike our peers in corporate communications, our dialogues are unique. 

We’re constantly in conversations – interviewing candidates, updating hiring managers, or delivering updates and feedback of all shades. To excel in this realm, one must be an exceptional communicator.

Your communication style can be the comforting touch candidates seek during interviews. 

Through our words and actions, we build trust, foster relationships, and project a positive image for our organizations. 

Being approachable, empathetic, and responsive will cement your position as a trusted ally in the recruitment process.

3. Harnessing technology in recruitment

The digital age has transformed recruitment like no other. 

Tools powered by artificial intelligence, automation, and data analytics have made our processes more streamlined and insightful. 

From sourcing to candidate engagement, technology is our steadfast companion.

For instance, AI aids in drafting job descriptions, ranks candidates, conducts preliminary interviews, and even assists in post-offer engagement. 

It also acts as our scribe, taking interview notes and sifting through vast data for perfect candidate matching.  

Embracing technology not only saves time but also ensures we make data-driven hiring decisions.

4. Never overlook data and analytics!

Data and technology are two sides of the same coin. 

With advancements in tech, our ability to gather and interpret data has skyrocketed. 

These metrics narrate a story, highlighting potential areas of improvement and automation.

Recruiting metrics like time-to-fill, cost-per-hire, and quality of hire are invaluable. By leveraging this data, we eliminate biases, ensuring the right candidate is chosen for the role.

It also expedites the hiring process, facilitates resource planning, and ultimately leads to happier people and higher-performing recruiting teams.

5. Empathy: The heartbeat of recruitment

Lastly, a gentle reminder – we’re in the business of changing lives. 

If you’re viewing people as a placement, a fee, a resource, a talent, a candidate, or anything other than a human being, you’re doing our industry and your colleagues a disservice. 

Treat every single person with the exact amount of kindness and respect you would want for yourself if you were making a life-changing decision. 

Embrace this ethos, and you’ll find recruitment to be an incredibly rewarding journey!

Remember, talent acquisition is as dynamic as it is impactful. With these five golden rules, you’re well on your way to making a significant mark in the industry. 


Melissa Grabiner

With nearly three decades of experience in both human resources and recruiting, Melissa Grabiner is a sought-after strategist and expert in talent acquisition.

Melissa works at Christine Matthews Consulting (CMC, a One Digital Company), where she serves as a Senior Talent Acquisition Leader. In this role, Melissa works with biotech and pharmaceutical startups in helping to build out their talent acquisition infrastructures and programs as well as hire individuals across all levels and functions.

Prior to CMC, Melissa spent 18 years in HR and recruiting for Baxter Healthcare, where she served as a Senior HR Business Partner and then Director of Talent acquisition for the company’s largest global business. Baxter was later spun off and acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. During her time at the company, Melissa and her team were responsible for recruiting nearly half of the company’s total global hires each year. Melissa has won numerous team and individual awards while at the organization.

In her spare time, Melissa is a Yoga instructor and has become a well-known champion for job seekers across the globe. She is recognized by LinkedIn’s Influencer program as a “Top Voice” for both recruiting and job seeking strategies. 

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