Hiring Strategies and Experiences from the FBI

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Decoding AQ with Ross Thornley Feat. Peter Sursi, MBA, SPHR

Show Notes

Peter is an experienced HR executive. Defining the Future of Organizations. As a People Operations and change management Expert, Peter is a sought after international keynote speaker.He has spent 25 years at the FBI. 4 years as Head of Talent Acquisition - Managing the national recruitment and hiring strategy for the FBI's special agent, intelligence analyst and professional staff employees.

Created new comms/leadership strategies facilitating high performance and accountability in a remote and dispersed workforce.

Peter also was awarded the Human Capital Outstanding Leader of the Year 2021 Issued by Office of the Director of National Intelligence in recognition of leadership that transformed the FBI's hiring strategy, increased diversity, and brought more talented employees into the FBI.

Ross and Peter talk about FBI recruitment, challenges, diversity, driving change, linguistics, FBI vetting, transforming the Bureau, field work, HR, hiring, change, helping people, amazing work, purpose driven organisations, investing in people, adapting, evolving, structural barriers, making mistakes and improving organisations.

The pair also discuss rewards, work changes, retaining employees, human interaction, emotional intelligence, experimentation, learning, growing, discomfort, expectations, imagination, help, role models, coaching, evolving, anxiety, shifting stress, no judgment, embracing learning and emotions.


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  • 00:24 Peter's bio
  • 01:51 The process behind winning the 'Outstanding Leader Award'
  • 05:53 Peter's journey through the FBI
  • 12:03 Diversity drivers transitioning to a national approach
  • 19:57 Brand new hiring compared vs mobility within the organisation
  • 25:33 Embracing learning and change during high stakes
  • 30:17 How far can we take risks  
  • 35:21 Modernising and new AI technology merging with talent
  • 42:25 Things people can do to find new skills inside them
  • 47:40 Tips for leading teams through change
  • 50:44 The last time Peter did something for the first time
  • 52:07 Final Thoughts

Full Podcast Transcript