Published: March 6, 2020
RJ Heckman Shares insights with Leeds students
Students at the RJ Heckman event
RJ Heckman Shares person insights during presentation

RJ Heckman, PhD, vice chairman of Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, visited campus to meet with members of the Leeds Scholars Program and discuss his extensive research and experience in the human resources field.

In an interactive presentation with the students, Heckman broke down the innovative human resources strategies highlighted in his most recent book, the Talent Manifesto and shared his insights on talent management and the value of human capital. In addition, he fielded questions from the scholars throughout the presentation, advising them on how to recognize the value they can provide the company for any position they might pursue.

Heckman also talked about how human resources has been insufficiently data-driven in past years and explained how he uses a combination of data and strategy to identify the best candidate for any position. And this is working—his fresh approach to creating and implementing human resources and talent management programs have had many large companies, such as Johnson and Johnson, approaching him for help with identifying the best candidates for their executive positions.

Heckman has identified hundreds of data points that might indicate a candidate’s potential for success. His approach considers an important point: that people matter to the execution of strategy of a company, and organizations should align where they want their businesses to go with the talent they need.

For students, Heckman advised that they also make sure they do their homework on the companies they will be applying to in the future as well as companies’ cultures and the role(s) they’re applying to. Job candidates, he emphasized, need to be able to position themselves by connecting their values, experience, work ethic and goals with the potential employers to really set themselves apart as valuable talent.

Heckman ended his talk with a “rapid fire” Q&A session, giving the students his honest, open opinion on any matter they wanted to discuss. After concluding the session, a small group of students had the opportunity for direct face time with Heckman. The unique opportunity to meet with a mogul of talent management and acquisition in person is just one example of how Leeds provides students with career preparation and professional development resources and programming.

Second-year Leeds Scholar Spencer Furgerson (Mgmt’22) shared his takeaways after the talk, “Seeing how the hiring process for executives and company leaders is becoming increasingly dependent on data was surprising. A focus on identifying potential candidates before the interview even begins gave me much more perspective on how important first impressions can be.