As recruiters and hiring managers, we’re laser focused on finding good people who will be effective in their positions. 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.
These 10 TED and TEDx Talks can help anyone widen their field of vision both personally and professionally. And for recruiters and hiring managers in particular, they’re also really effective at helping you connect with the person you’re meeting with, understand their motivations, read body language, and use body language. They’ll also help you get more attuned to how the job plays into their happiness, how they handle stress, and whether they’ll be as motivated on day 1 as they are on day 100.
1.) Celeste Headlee: 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation
Celeste Headlee addresses how to hone your interpersonal communication skills so you can have a great conversation with anyone. She discusses how to really pay attention so you walk away feeling engaged or inspired. It comes 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.”
2.) Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” 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 will work for your money. If you hire people who believe what you believe, they will work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”
3.) Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
Brené Brown studies human connection – our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. She talks about how “connection is why we’re here,” which is as relevant to building teams in the workplace as it is to building relationships in our personal lives.
4.) Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” – standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident – can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. It can help you carry yourself better in interviews – and also be more attuned to how the person you’re interviewing holds him- or herself.
5.) Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work
We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards? In this fast-moving and very funny talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive.
6.) Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius
Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses – and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.
7.) Arianna Huffington: How to Succeed? Get More Sleep
In this short talk, Arianna 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.) Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend
Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But 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. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and suggests that chasing meaning is better for our health than avoiding the discomfort of stress.
9.) Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers
How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies “originals”: thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals – including embracing failure. “The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most,” Grant says. “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.”
10.) Mary Schaefer: Putting the human back into human resources
Mary Shaefer talks about the difference between treating employees humanely and humanly. It’s about empowering your people to feel that they are making a meaningful contribution. 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.