Who you employ is often the difference between success and failure. Time and time again, entrepreneurs tell us that their companies wouldn’t have succeeded if it wasn’t for the hard working staff.
The real issue is how you can attract top talent? How do you find the right people for your business? Is it, like Jason Calacanis said, about “picking apples from the orchard”, or should you hire experienced veterans?
Luckily, the Harvard Business Review is on hand. Anthony Tjan, founder of VC firm Cue Ball, gives his tips for attracting top talent:
1. Get to know talent before you need it. Can you name the best one or two people for each of the critical positions in your industry? Spend time networking, and figure out who the shining stars are and what excites them about their work. Fostering these relationships early will pay off later.
2. Create and manage expectations. Most entrepreneurs are good at selling themselves, but be careful not to oversell yourself either. Ask yourself, “Why would any real talent want to work for me?” Money usually isn’t a good enough reason to keep people in the long term – so make sure your staff get excited about working with and learning from you. From Day One of hiring someone, set clear expectations of what they can learn from you and what you expect from them.
3. Cultivate them over time. The best talent is almost always occupied (otherwise they wouldn’t be the best). You can’t expect ideal candidates to be waiting for your call. Our advice? Cultivate the best talent you can, and keep these individuals apprised of your work, purpose and ongoing mission. Best talents have lots of options – so don’t be surprised when they say “no” to you. Never give up, keep coming back and when these talents are finally ready, they will come to you.
4. On-board them thoughtfully. We’re frequently amazed by how carelessly and unsuccessfully many leaders transition new talent into a new milieu. In a complex organization, or unfamiliar context, “Sink or swim” is a perilous strategy. New talent wants to succeed. Invest from the start in making sure this happens, and you will soon find yourself surrounded by loyal followers.
Tjan concludes: “The most successful businesses often thrive because of their talent. Getting the best people should be at the top of every manager’s list. So to become a talent magnet, try developing these habits.”
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