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Talent VS Staff

When in the recruitment phase, we often have particular boxes to tick. Does the candidate hold specific qualifications? How many years’ experience do they have? 

Do you ask questions about hardships faced and overcome? How have they turned dreams into realities? Or maybe, how they stay engaged through a challenging and long project or assignment?

Respectfully, there are certain experiences and qualifications that are required for various positions. But, who would be more of an asset to your team and company? Someone who ticks the more ridged boxes, or someone that can answer questions about struggles, dreams, value, accomplishments and who will strive for success?

So how do we define the difference between Talent and Staff? In today’s blog, we are going to break down the differences of the two.

1. “What Do You Do for a Living” 

We all get asked this question, in social settings or in networking meetings. The way you answer this question can say a lot about you.


When Talent is asked what they do for a living, you will instantly see a sparkle in their eye and they will tell you exactly what they do – not just their job title. By the time they have finished explaining their role, you’ll want to jump on the talent train. This type of person will speak with passion and happily answer any questions that you have.


"I am the Marketing Coordinator for WhiteCollarBlue – we are a nationally recognised HR Solutions Provider. I spend my days creating content, blogging, developing marketing strategies, growing our brand awareness through campaigns and collateral to assist our clients, to offer them information and to support them with their needs and challenges in business. Yesterday I wrote some fantastic content on generalisation differences in the workplace – would you like to have a look?"


When staff are asked what they do for a living, they will either give 1 of two answers. They will either tell you where they work, or they will resight their job title. There will be no sparkle, no interest in continuing to educate you on their role or their growths.


"I work in Marketing / I work for WhiteCollarBlue / I am a Marketing Coordinator"

2. Working 9 – 5 

Work/life balance is so important to people in 2016, no one expects their employees to work 24 hours a day. It’s all about working smarter, not harder – I actually spoke about this last week, click here to read more. But the hours you work smarter can show a great deal about if you are talent or staff.


Talent will come in early, they will allow themselves time to settle in and switch on their computer before their official start time. Talent has a game plan, they come in to work knowing exactly what they are doing before they even sit down. If it hits home time and a project isn’t completed, they will push through for as long as they can to ensure their deadlines are met. Talent does not enjoy the thought of having to delay the completion of a project because after a certain time they aren’t being paid for it. Managers will be able to trust Talent with how they are spending their time, there will be some level of autonomy in their roles – depending on what kind of role that they have. Talent are innovative, creative and think outside of the box.


Staff will arrive at 9:05 am and leave at 4:59 pm. This person will come in late, sit down with some breakfast at their desk and wing it on a daily basis. They will believe that they are entitled to particular benefits because they ‘work-hard’ – which means they have the right. Staff will not push passed their finish time – why? They don’t get paid for it of course! Staff may require a level of supervision to ensure that they are meeting their targets and following their schedules.

3. Challenge Accepted – or not….

We all have our roles, responsibilities and there will be a certain level of expectation put on us to hit certain standards. Let’s take a look at the difference between Talent and Staff with challenges.


Talent will push themselves above and beyond. They will set themselves tasks and goals that have a level of discomfort in them. They will not settle for mediocrity and you will be able to trust that every piece of work they produce will be at a high level of quality – why? Because not only do they have a great deal of respect for the work they are producing, they also appreciate that quality work will produce better outcomes for the business. Talent will want to take on more than what is expected of them – because they can handle it. Talent will thrive off of crawling into their front door from exhaustion because they busted their buns all week. They will fall asleep knowing. “I accomplished greatness today”


Staff are happy to do what is required of them and that is all. Staff do not necessarily set goals that they will have to push to achieve, they are happy working within their comfort zone and still believe that they have achieved greatness. Staff do not want to be challenged, staff want to come into work and do what they are paid for so they can enjoy their time outside of work.

4. Growth

Career progression is not something that every person wants in their careers, this is completely fine. There are people who are happy with working in a particular role, with particular responsibilities with no want for positive change and growth.


Talent will have a plan, whether it be in a particular role, business or in their own career. They will know where they are going and what exactly they need to do to get there. Talent will strive for personal and professional growth with the want to succeed and accomplish greatness in everything that they do. Talent will ask to take on more responsibilities as their role grows and will appreciate any training given to assist them in these roles. Talent will appreciate the opportunity to grow and will continuously work with their goals in mind.


Staff won’t necessarily have a strong game plan like talent. They are happy with where they are and are not particularly interested in growth. They have learned enough to do what is needed of them, anything else would just take away from their lives outside of work. If they accept the offer of training or education, their employers may expect more of them... how will they be rewarded for these new responsibilities?

5. What’s Your Why ? 

In 2016, employers are looking for people who have a reason to succeed, who are passionate and who have grown. Employees who have faced hardships, struggles or have had to fight for something, will have something to prove to themselves and will not give up.


Talent will be able to answer questions about hardship and how they have overcome struggles whether they be personal or professional and also have the ability to link these with growth and their ‘why’. Talent will strive for greatness in everything that they do and will ensure that they are working somewhere that their values align with the values of the business. Talent will have a fire in their belly and have something to prove. They will not give up, no matter how hard the road may be – they will get there.


Staff don’t necessarily know what their why is, nor do they really have an interest in understanding the key values of the business or if these are in-line with their own personal values. Staff simply want to do their job; they don’t believe they have anything to prove – it’s just a job. 

With workforce cultures changing and growing, the need for great employees and talent is growing. With the rise of the millennial employee, we are seeing a key shift in how teams are made up, how cultures are created and how management styles are adapting, growing and changing. Values and purposes are becoming imperative when applying for roles and hiring managers are looking for a different breed of employee.

So there we have it .. 

If you are struggling to find Talent for your workplace, WhiteCollarBlue can help you. When working with WhiteCollarBlue, our clients expect a certain level of quality in candidates we represent - and we deliver. Working closely with Managers and Key Decision Makers – Our Talent Acquisition Specialists will ask questions to uncover a clear picture and understanding of what your business needs in talent. Our Specialists will create a profile of your perfect candidate and they will match this profile with candidates who are looking for their dream roles and careers.

If you are a business that has a team of employees who may have lost their fire, or may have a disconnect with the business values and culture, we can assist you with this. With a team of Qualified HR Practitioners at the ready, WhiteCollarBlue is in a position to work closely with you to evaluate your talent management. Whether it be your onboarding, interview and induction process – or your management style, training, and incentive programs. Our HR Practitioners can give qualified, unbiased and beneficial advice to you. Our HR Practitioners will work closely with you to ensure that your goals are accomplished. We understand that without the right team and talent, accomplishing your business goals could potentially become very difficult.

With the recent launch of our HR Services, we are excited to offer our readers a complimentary Business Healthcheck. In this Business Healthcheck, you will gain the full attention of a qualified HR Practitioner to come in, assess a particular area or multiple areas of your business and then work with you to turn these struggles into strengths. These changes could change your bottom line.

There are no negatives to booking your complimentary Business Healthcheck. To take advantage of this offer and to find out more about our services, give WhiteCollarBlue a call today and mention this blog post.

Our Specialists would be more than happy to assist you in your business and recruitment needs.