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Both Sides of the New Talent Game

Nurturing Talent - Make sure your high potentials don't become fallen angels

It’s a buyer’s market these days. Every time I visit LinkedIn, someone is searching for a Talent Manager. People want – and need – good in-house recruiters. Independent recruiters and recruiting firms alike have a bumper crop of jobs and roles to fill.

What does this mean for those looking to fill roles, and conversely, what does this mean for you as the job seeker?

If you are looking to acquire talent…

– Know what you stand for as a company. This step is a huge time-saver if done properly.
When you understand who you are as a company (values) and where you want to go (vision), it’s easier to find the right people to help you get there.  Sure, that shiny executive might have a great work history, but is s/he going to be able to help your company get where you want to go with your expertise, style, and history?

A friend recently reminded me of the adage: When you are clear about your yes’s, it’s easier to say no.

Be clear about the type of talent you want to help you grow.

– It’s not all about money.
Creative executives want to work in places where they can make a mark.  Execution is a necessity of any job, but no one likes feeling like a ‘wrist.’ This is where that culture thingie comes into play.  Think of it as your company’s secret sauce.

– Be proactive. Really.
Great talent is not easy to find.  Connect with those people that you might want to bring on one day, today. The reality is that recruitment funnels take a back burner to the day-to-day grind, unless you …

a)     have a good in-house recruiter with amazing follow up who strategically reaches in, out, and across your networks and theirs to find great matches
b)     really, really need someone yesterday – as in, you and your people are not-sleeping-enough-need people
c)      you incentivize your talent to help you find good fits within their network (try a referral fee – it can save a lot of money in the long run)

– Use your talent assets.
Enlist your people to help. Because everyone has free time to recruit, right?

No recruiter (in-house or independent) can cover every facet of your recruitment efforts, even with great researchers on their side.  Use your network to help uncover possibilities that might have gone overlooked…as well as get a little extra love from people that are already digging your company.

– Choose Wisely. 
People who don’t want to be at a job will ultimately bring more damage than companies first anticipate.  It’s hard to calculate a missed opportunity on a quantitative level, but we’ve all experienced this qualitatively.  As someone who sees all the possibilities that come into focus when someone is an engaged, committed, passionate leader, you’ll have to trust me. It’s more effective for the long game to make sure that you have the right people in place.  And don’t hesitate to remove people that aren’t.  Rarely do people let go too quickly.  If you have toxicity, deal with it.  Otherwise, it can infect the whole organization.

If you ARE the talent…

– Understand your secret sauce.
It’s easier to be in functional relationships with others when you know what you want and what you have to contribute.  Use your strengths and values to get there.

– Understand context. 
Make friends with GOOD headhunters – they can help you understand where you fit within the bigger market.

Where are you special?  Where do you need to stand out and differentiate more?  Where are your expectations valid or misguided?  What are you worth financially?

Good headhunters and recruiters understand the market and can see patterns of what people are looking for.  If you let someone send out your book or resume, make sure they have a point of view (and you know what it is).  Otherwise, you risk the chance of your work could be misinterpreted or misrepresented.

– Remember you aren’t a polygamist.
Just because many companies are looking for talent doesn’t mean that every opportunity is going to be right for you.

Charting your job path is a lot like dating. When you are younger you think that many people could fill the role of life partner.  And then as you get older, you discover that it takes a special personality, value system, and vision to be able to align with someone in life.

Same goes for your career.  Once you are seasoned, you know what you like and what you don’t like.  You’ve had more experience.  You are clearer and (ideally) more strategic.  Unfortunately, this can mean finding the “right” fit can take a while.

Just like you wouldn’t fall in love and marry 20 people in a year, you aren’t going to find 20 jobs in a year that would be a perfect fit. This rings even truer when you are senior talent.

– Be special.
Stand out.  Be present and thoughtful.  Do your homework on the company and the person you are meeting with.  Have some insights and a point of view you’d like to contribute.  Let people experience the best parts of you.

And remember the long game.
Write a great thank you note TO EVERYONE you meet.
Jobs will be generated in 5 years that don’t even exist today.
Be memorable to those that meet you, even if the opportunity isn’t right.

Social equity is not something you can buy – you have to earn it.

We are here to help you catalyze your talent potential.

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