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If you're a regular visitor to People Managing People, you know that we feature a variety of content created by subject matter experts. We want to provide a glimpse into who these folks are and what they're all about. This interview is the first in a series designed to provide you an opportunity to get to know our experts.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid I wanted to be a cartoonist and draw animated movies for Walt Disney Studios. I also wanted to be The Lone Ranger, as that was a show my father and I enjoyed together. I suppose the ultimate outcome back then was for me to draw cartoons by day and fight crime in the old west on my off days. 

Unfortunately, it did not work out that way, but I still hold on to the dream. 

What’s an event you’ll never forget from your childhood?

The missing and murdered children crime spree that happened in Atlanta had a stranglehold on the city. Back then, I used to love playing in the woods as a child and that incident put a stop to that. 

In defiance of my mother's wishes, I continued to play in the woods even after I was told not to for my own safety.  One day my mother came looking for me when I was out too long and should have been home doing my homework. When she discovered that I was playing in the woods, I almost wished the psychopathic killer had kidnapped me. The punishment would likely have been less severe. 

When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in human resources? 

In college, I wanted to be a film director and made several unsuccessful short films, along with moderately successful music videos for a local cable access tv studio. I was making no money but planned on marrying my girlfriend at the time. 

She insisted that if we were to have a future, I would have to get a real job and abandon my Hollywood dreams. When seeking employment, I came across an advert that said I could get paid for surfing the internet. Curious, I interviewed and got the job of a Sourcer for MCI, a telecom company. 

Such was the gateway into my HR career. I realized a few weeks in that I really enjoyed the challenge of finding purple squirrels and getting them hired. Although I lost the girl, I found something more satisfying that has endured for 20 years, more or less.

What is the strangest question you’ve ever been asked in an interview? 

"When can my son expect to hear from you?" asked by a woman who coerced her way into an interview between me and her son. Helicopter parenting at its finest. I resisted the urge to say "never."

What was a moment in your life or career that you feel helped shape your professional journey? Or, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

A moment in my career that helped shape my professional journey was my involvement with SourceCon, the premier global conference for Sourcing in the world. I helped plan it, promote it, market it and emceed the first few years. I returned to keynote there a number of times before and after it was sold. The relationships established there exist to this day and I am forever grateful for the friendships and career advancements that have resulted due to my affiliation. 

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for HR/people operations professionals in the next 5 years?

Upskilling your people for jobs that have not been invented yet. 

What’s your most unpopular opinion?

Diversity training rooted in critical race theory should be banned. It is an impediment to team building, promotes a hostile workplace and serves chiefly to satisfy virtue signaling HR leaders who may or may not mean well. Unfortunately, it will not go away because there is too much money to be made from it

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By Jim Stroud

With over a decade of experience in recruitment and sourcing, Jim Stroud has consulted for companies such as Microsoft, Google, Siemens, and a host of startup companies. During his tenure with Randstad Sourceright, he alleviated the sourcing and recruiting headaches of Randstad clients worldwide as its Global Head of Sourcing and Recruiting Strategy. Jim is a prolific content creator and keynote speaker on the future of work.