Rhona Barnett-Pierce


Episode 5 Global Hiring Manager Partnerships with Mary Kay Baldino

Fostering a Culture of Vulnerability in Talent Acquisition

In this email, I will explain how to create a culture of vulnerability and learning within your talent acquisition team.

In the latest episode of Throw Out The Playbook, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mary Kay Baldino, an experienced talent acquisition leader. Mary Kay shared her insights on building strong relationships with hiring managers in a global organization, and one of the key takeaways was the importance of creating a culture of vulnerability and learning within your TA team.

Episode 5: Global Hiring Manager Partnerships with Mary Kay Baldino. Watch now. Includes photo of Mary Kay Baldino

But what does vulnerability have to do with talent acquisition? Everything!

As Mary Kay points out,

Vulnerability is a strength because it’s when people are capable of vulnerability that they’re capable of learning.

When you create an environment where your team feels safe to ask questions, admit uncertainties, and learn from mistakes, you unlock their full potential for growth and success.

Unfortunately, many TA leaders struggle to create this type of culture.

Fear of judgment is the primary reason why

Other reasons include:

  • Lack of vulnerability from leadership
  • Emphasis on perfection over learning
  • Insufficient psychological safety
  • Failure to reframe mistakes as opportunities

Here are three actionable steps you can take to create a culture of vulnerability and learning in your TA team:

Step 1: Lead by example

Demonstrate vulnerability by asking for feedback, admitting when you don’t have all the answers, and sharing your learning experiences. This will encourage your team to do the same.

Step 2: Celebrate questions

Make it clear that there are no stupid questions. Encourage your team to speak up when they’re unsure about something, and celebrate their courage to ask. This will foster a continuous learning mindset.

Step 3: Reframe mistakes as learning opportunities:

When someone on your team makes a mistake, avoid punishing or shaming them. Instead, approach it as a chance to learn and grow. Ask questions like, “What can we learn from this?” and “How can we prevent this from happening again?”

By implementing these strategies, you’ll create a psychologically safe environment where your team can thrive, innovate, and deliver exceptional results.

Listen to the Episode

To dive deeper into this topic and learn more about building effective hiring manager partnerships in a global organization, listen to the full episode here.

And if you want more actionable advice like this, be sure to subscribe to the podcast.

Talk to you next week!


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P.S. We just landed a new monthly sponsor for future podcast episodes. They get a 30-60 second pre-roll ad on 4 episodes, 3-5 shout outs per episode on Linkedin, Twitter, and Youtube. Plus CTA’s and links in show notes. I’m looking for 3 more sponsors. If you’re interested, hit reply, let’s chat!

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