On Talent Intelligence Work : an Interview with Kim Haemmerle

This is an interview with Kim Haemmerle, a Global Talent Acquisition Partner at PayPal, done by Naomi House of INALJ. This is part of INALJ’s 2020 series on non-library jobs for library workers

On Talent Intelligence Work :
an Interview with Kim Haemmerle

Kim Haemmerle photo for INALJ interviewQ1: Thanks so much for taking the time to help us better understand what Talent Intelligence work is and how LIS folk can get into this field. First could you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you got your MLIS (or your educational background) and what you do?

I’ve spent my career at the intersection of people and information. My undergraduate degree in English is from West Chester University, where I was the first student to formally intern at our school library. I then earned my MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, I work as a Global Talent Partner at PayPal, where I focus on identifying and attracting technical talent, specifically in product management. I also provide talent intelligence to business partners, which enables data-based hiring decisions.

Q2: Now can you tell us how You personally got into doing this type of work?

No one goes to college to get into recruiting, I promise. It was certainly not my intention! After graduating from West Chester, I found myself at a small firm where I slowly took on increasing responsibilities in our recruiting department. I started just answering the phones (back then, a huge deal for little introverted me!) Once I started “owning reqs” (requisitions, or open jobs), I found the hunt for the perfect candidate to be the most exciting part of my day. Keep in mind this was before the heyday of LinkedIn, and most of the talent I was searching for would not have a profile anyway (gate clerk at a truck stop, for example). At that point, I decided this recruiting thing was kind of fun. Plus, I’m helping someone find a job!

Over the years, I’ve expanded my expertise far beyond gate clerks. In 2013, I got a taste of what we now refer to as talent intelligence. I was asked by my hiring manager to identify the root cause of a staffing concern – we were having trouble attracting talent to a certain job. I decided to look on LinkedIn and do some keyword searching – I found that only 40 people in the world had the job title we posted. That’s right, 40 people. Naturally, we brainstormed a better title and more candidates started appearing in our system. Because I had my MLIS at this point, I realized there was an opportunity to leverage the combination of my recruiting knowledge and information retrieval and analysis skills. I became the first and only researcher at my company, pulling together labor market insights to inform better hiring decisions. These included projects like site strategies (where can we get the best talent for the best price), growth markets (where should we build a new office), and niche roles (OK, so what companies actually use Sterling OMS?)

In the past 12 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to research, source, and recruit talent for top companies around the world – from gate clerks to CXO-level and just about everything in between. Talent intelligence is an emerging trend and for those of us with LIS backgrounds, this world is ripe for disruption.

Q3: What makes this a great field for LIS workers and likewise, what do you think makes LIS workers strong candidates for hiring managers in this field?

LIS workers stand out in this field because of our degree – it means we are innately curious, quick learners, and want to help others. Our backgrounds often involve the stellar combination of customer service (assisting patrons and clients, responding to inquiries, and follow up) and academic training (information retrieval, critical thinking, and organizational skills) that are sought after in this field. Hiring managers often look for candidates who can “get their hands dirty” and actually do the work required, and at the same time, be comfortable leading a team call or explaining why a decision has been made. As LIS professionals, we do those things all the time, just in different environments. Remember: transferable skills.

Q4: What is the best way to get your foot in the door or your first talent intelligence job?

Again, this is a new field. You likely won’t find too many entry-level roles in the space. So think outside the box. One approach would be working at a recruiting agency or executive search firm as a research analyst. You’ll be mapping the market for top-level candidates and researching different industries along the way. You could also consider a knowledge management role at these firms, as that career path shares some of the same transferable skills. Finally, consider becoming a sourcer or recruiter! Whether that’s at an agency or in corporate, you will find that a lot of those “follow the breadcrumb” skills you learned in school come in handy as a talent acquisition professional.

Q5: Finally what are some of the most important skills / certifications / etc that LIS folk can do to prepare them? Any last tips?

Data visualization tools (Tableau) are important to learn so you can present your findings in a digestible format. Going deeper, certificates like the ones from the Academy of Competitive Intelligence are helpful if you plan to really dig into the business-side of talent intelligence. 

If you want to learn more about the career, I’m happy to share my insights and learnings!

Interviewee Bio

Kim Haemmerle is a talent acquisition professional with over 10 years of experience in a variety of industries. She has spent her career at the intersection of people and information, with research at the center of each role she’s held. Currently, Kim is a Global Talent Acquisition Partner at PayPal, where she uses research and sourcing tactics to identify and attract top talent as well as provide talent intelligence to make data-based hiring decisions. She previously worked in executive search and program management at Starbucks, as well as in prospect research at Villanova University.

Kim received her BA in English at West Chester University and her MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her Level 1 certificate from the Academy of Competitive Intelligence. As a hobby, Kim uses her research skills as a budding genealogist; she has completed several certifications through the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh as well as the ProGen study course.

Kim lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania with her husband, who recently gave her the title “matriarch of a fur family empire” – they have three cats and a dog that almost live harmoniously. Almost.

Pronouns: She/Her


Views expressed are those of the interviewee and not INALJ or their employer. Photo provided by the interviewee and permission granted to use it for this interview.

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Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.