Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What has your quest for top talent created; "meritocracy" or "elitism"?

Featured in LinkedIn, Dec 2016

Everybody is talking about hiring top talent! Companies like Belong.co are claiming to have written intelligent codes to reach out to top talent available on social and professional media. They also claim to know how to engage them best for all your top talent hiring needs. We heard the same about talentpad. They finally shut down! 
I think we often misunderstood top talent, as it is always a shifting value against the work/job content-context, people-colleagues and leaders, culture & engagement-information, creative freedom and independence, power of the purpose of the company, leaders and how that influences and aligns with the sense of purpose of top talent! 
Talent search and finding its worth is proven only in the long run!
Look back at all your top tier B/T school campus hires of past 5 years. How many of them have proven to be the best hires? How many big-fat salaried so called top talent hires have really made any noticeable difference to company and to the people around them? Have they really matched your expectations that you had from them?
Have you recognized and rewarded what they achieved? How many of your top talents have brought/attracted and referred top talent to your organisation (and not just for the huge referral fees that they got for doing the same).
Has your quest for top talent created "meritocracy" or "elitism"?
Meritocracy is democratic spread and acceptance of talent, "elitism" is creating class and divide that benefits a few and discriminates the rest!
I think the biggest challenge that we face today in hiring top talent in not availability but our inability to identify and attract them. Unfortunately, the Simplest definition of top talent in IT market today is (top 6 IITS+top 3 NITs and top 2 IIITs) period!
If this is called top talent pool, you got them without much hassles!
Beg, borrow, buy, steal that data from T&P offices of these colleges! Send these target guys, Diwali wishes in a fancy crafted email, telling about your company and people and culture (yes, that curated office interiors, ubiquitous ping-pong table, cool cafeteria, i-pod jacks, X box, BYOD, Pets@work, Parents@work, Kids@work, last Diwali party pictures/videos, 5 star food spread for lunch (that you had once when investors and client visited your new office, and fridge stocked with energy bars, Red Bull, etc, Happy employee's photos and videos telling what a great fun place it is! Some cute girl showing you office, funky-desks, pony tails, goatee, weird lines on over-sized t-shirts that some of those "cool" geeks are wearing since last 3 weeks without a wash!
Great! You built a great office, great marketing collateral, now you will have great talent queued up at your door! But in reality, they are not there! Hummm..
Then you hire a few agents of recruiting world! Good looking people, talking cool English and can pronounce terms like, data structures, algos, 'language-agnostic', "platforms", et al and they are ready for their journey, helping you hire the best talent. Honey trap does not work in recruitment! Have sensible people there who can talk customized after looking at each resume for specifics and details and not like a call-center sales exec! Typical recruiters fail big time, when it comes to understanding profile and specifics of the resume! No one likes to talk to a talking machine!
Before you let them out, train your recruiting scouts well! They are mostly half-baked and over confident! Getting away with, is not smartness! Mostly they get away empty-handed!
Recruiters take pride in calling themselves Talent Acquisition folks; most of the times, they do not even do check-list interviews well. Largely, they take pride in rejecting a good candidate by using defining words like, “too ambitious”, too aggressive”, too much of attitude”, “not flexible” and classic one; "not a culture fit"! Do they know that all these rejection words leads to the Hiring Managers getting the filtered/refined 'average', “tooth-less”, sometime, “spine-less” guys who will faint in real situations against expectations.
How can you select a “hero” when you have a shepherd selecting a horse for the derby? You are thinking of building a “A” player team with “B” and “C” player gatekeepers. Use them for graciously opening and taking the door. They can be trained to keep the doors, if they can do that well, every-time, keeping their false ego aside.
“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” 
~Larry Bossidy


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