“Top Talent”

There are sayings I do get tired of:

  • You know…
  • My deal is…
  • Here’s the problem…
  • Honey, you’re beautiful
  • Scrappy-Doo

Nonetheless, there’s another saying that is climbing on this board that has been bothering me for a long time…”Getting the top (or best) talent.”  If that statement were true today, here’s what would have happen:

·         The New York Cosmos will still be dominating the NASL and soccer would be one of the top-tier sports.

·         Ishtar – One of the greatest films of all-time.

·         My beloved Washington Redskins are the team of the decade by winning 5 Super Bowls in 8 seasons (except 2001 when Tony Banks was our quarterback, 2006 where the Colts deserve the championship, and 2007).

·         The 2007-08 New England Patriots:  Best NFL Team Ever.

·         The 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers will have to be in the top 3 teams of all-time with Shaq, Kobe, The Mailman, and The Glove.

·         People flock to Houston with Enron, oil companies that have so much capital, and innovation to prevent flooding during hurricanes.

·         The New York Yankees.  Period.

·         Finally, the United States is home of innovation and collaboration.

Of course, none of that happened (except for the New York Cosmos, but they spoiled it by bringing in big-name talent on their team and bankrupt the league). 

The point is this should be a warning for recruiters of any business right now to assess their talent and to think of the future.  The problem with most recruiters is they trust the resume they were giving, love the tone of the voice during the interview, and love of all the positive reviews from references.  The new hire has this entire buzz, but a few months in, you realize the person is not bringing in much.  For this, I would like to call these types of people, the Mike Mamulas (or for the current crowd, the Matt Joneses).  They’re impressive when you talked and collaborate with them, but never executed when the actual work starts.

During these downtimes, this is where recruiters should make and really earn their money.  A true recruiter should not rely on “Mel Kiper’s Big Draft Board” or “fantasy football magazines” to assist on selecting a new employee.  They only serve as a reference.  It must be a consensus between you and the division that is hiring, to pick not only that they are talented, but can be the right fit with the company and the co-workers.   You have the information and a feel for the applicant, but the most important is do you want the position to have growth or an immediate position to replace the incumbent?  What I’m saying is don’t try to take the safe bet of every position you hire.  Try to be bold on a couple positions, but make sure you calculate the risks and make sure the hire is good not only for the short-term, but for the long haul.

Now, there will be superstars in the talent pool, but rarely, you see a natural superstar (i.e. Elway, LeBron in a sports theme) come by to your company and take it by his/her shoulders.  Mostly superstars will generally come from the bottom-up with training and an extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of the company.  However, in the age of “free agency,” it’s hard to retain talent for a long time.

So the moral of the story is don’t build a team around a bunch of superstars and egos, build a company that employees care and the depth of the company is deep that when a key employee leaves, someone internally can fill those shoes instantly.

Remember:  Don’t Rebuild, Reload.

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