Looking at skills gets you headcount. Aligning project purpose with candidates gets you talent.
A new technology-centric project needs two things to succeed: the right budget and the right talent. If you’ve done your homework, you know—and you’ve procured—the budget. It was likely the easiest part. As for the talent, that’s the big helping of broccoli still sitting on your dinner plate. You know it’s the best thing for you, but how do you swallow it?
Maybe you should start with the broccoli. It’s better for you, and it can be a much more palatable prospect if you approach it from the right perspective.
You are what you eat
You’ve heard that before. And, you get what you pay for. You’ve heard that, too. You’ll keep hearing it because it’s true—especially when it comes to acquiring top technology talent. A recent Gallup study reveals that when a company decides to pursue the top 20 percent of candidates for a position, they can realize:
• A 10% increase in productivity
• A 20% increase in sales
• A 30% increase in profitability
Meanwhile, this top talent tends to be highly engaged, enthusiastic, and dedicated. The benefit to their employer is:
• A 10% decrease in turnover
• A 25% decrease in unscheduled absences
Business units that use a talent-based approach to selecting employees for a project:
• Are 21% more productive
• Experience 48% fewer safety incidents
• Achieve 22% more profitability
• Have 10% better customer ratings
What happens when you focus on the talent
It’s not a difficult approach—as long as you understand that it’s likely exactly the opposite from the way you may look at talent acquisition right now. Your first challenge is understanding that your needs from the new talent for this project go far beyond their skills. That may be what you find attractive about them. What matters, though, is what they find attractive about you.
You’re not setting out to redesign the company, but you do need to understand that top technology talent want you to align with who they are. And for good reason. It encourages them to do what they do best. They’ll come to you with prerequisite skills, but they will need to continue upgrading them. It’s the alignment of your company culture with their personal philosophy that keeps this process going.
Top technology talent candidates will tell you they want to be challenged and that they want to make a difference. Some people look amazing on paper. They’ve consistently achieved what was required of them. They’re just going through the motions.
The candidates who will make a difference are those who tell you they actually enjoy unexpected changes in project scope. It gives them the opportunity to be stimulated by creative and intellectual challenges. The true gems are those who also admit that they enjoy what they do because they want to make a difference.
What to watch out for: Are they unable to verbalize what they enjoy most about their work? This often indicates someone who has amassed skills, but lacks the drive to seek challenges and growth. It may sound harsh, but this is not an indication of talent.
Looking, but not really
It’s a lament shared by companies and recruiters alike: The best talent is already employed. Even so, they’re still always looking for the right challenge. A top person in their field will go from “I’m perfectly happy where I am,” to “Tell me more,” if your company’s purpose and culture resonates with them. These top talent candidates are often secret readers of “best places to work” lists. Are you on them? Does your company’s website talk about the subject at all?
What to watch out for: Candidates who are selective in entertaining prospective new job opportunities. If they are interested, they should express their interest in knowing if what you’ll tell them about your company matches what they have learned on their own.
It won’t happen without the right people
Your project plan may have a few variables and missing pieces. For the most part, though, everything is a known quantity. You’ve established the specific technology you’ll implement. You know most of the details, from cost of the equipment to the go-live projected date.
It’s incumbent on finding the right people to make it happen. If you start with the talent and put yourself in their minds, you may discover that your approach to the project is slightly altered. It’s not necessarily that the people you hire will tell you what to do—but more of a probability that you’ll plan the project based on what you know will fuel their enthusiasm and participation. Things will move farther and faster.
Consultis has spent the last 30 years developing strong relationships with both our clients and our talent, so that everyone finds the perfect fit. If you’re ready to focus on finding strong candidates who love a challenge, contact us today.