Yesterday I spent my evening watching the American League Wild Card game in Major League Baseball between the Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals. I realized in watching Kansas City pull this one out in the 12th inning 9-8, that what I was watching was a battle between two very alive recruiting ideals in baseball and in business.
On one side, we have Oakland who went out at baseball's trade deadline in July and jettisoned some very hard working, not so big name players, who had contributed to the A's being number one in baseball. They let them go in favour of bringing in experience and perceived "higher talent" from other teams in order to win a World Series. Just one problem: all of this acquired talent went on to have a terrible second half of the season that would ultimately end this dream season in a loss last night.
Save for James Shields and a few others, Kansas City was largely a home grown team. A team that has stuck together, learned together, won together and lost together. Most of all they spent the season working hard and never giving up. Most of the players on the Royals team were drafted and brought up through their own system, and while they had experienced a lengthy playoff drought; because of development and hard work, that drought is no more.
Such is the life of recruiting in business. Experienced vs. home grown, talent vs. hard work. This is a battle we fight every day.
Do we hire Gen Y or others with little or no experience and build our culture and daily reality into them, hoping they will put in a tremendous amount of hard work in order to win and achieve corporate goals?
On the other hand do we hire someone from XYZ Company who has done this for ten years. The talent is there, but they don't know our products and will likely spend much of their early days in the role comparing our company and processes to their previous organization. Will we lose some of that hard work on account of complacency?
I think the answer lies in three key questions that recruiters, hiring managers and organizations have to ask themselves before they post a requisition for a position.
1. Does the company need a somewhat fresh perspective that also comes with a high need for training or learning the "fundamentals" of the business?
A millennial or someone with very little experience is in theory unable to provide the type of fresh look to an existing role, having not physically done the role in the past. As I said, in theory. But what if they are an extremely hard worker who practices day in and day out and acquires skill and ability quickly? If this is the case, think of the fresh perspective here.
An experienced face though, may provide immediate impact because of the talent they already have and what they know of competitors.
The draw back is that we must find out, will they work hard to innovate or simply replicate? What I mean by this is, will they hit the ground running and find new ways for the business to thrive over the competition, or will they simply look to replicate the process they used at XYZ Company? Will they coast at an average pace because that is what they know so well?
It is a tough question. Like Oakland and Kansas City, the harder workers may run circles around the perceived higher talent.
2. What needs to change and how fast?
If you are simply looking to hire in a role that has been around forever such as a sales representative; that does not mean you do not expect change from the person placed in the role.
You have this role available either because you are expanding, or you are replacing someone that ultimately did not work out. So what is the answer here?
You can not answer who you want until you answer what you want. It is imperative that an organization know exactly what they want to achieve, and in what time frame from a posted role before looking at new home grown talent working hard but starting from the bottom vs. experienced talent who could be jaded by other companies and roles their talent, based on the numbers, shows they could have immediate impact.
You also have to look at the pros and cons that a fast impact of an experienced person may have. Impact can be positive and it can be negative. What positive impact are you looking for and what are the risks that any negative impact could have?
The real question may be, who provides the highest propensity for positive impact in the available role?
3. Are you creating a culture or building a culture?
This question could be as large as the entire organization, or as small as your area office in Tuktayaktuk.
Are you creating a new team or looking to build a brand new culture? If so, home grown hard workers may be your best option because they do not come with preconceived notions of the industry, your company and the competition.
If culture is to be built upon rather than created, it could go either way. Home grown talent can just simply mesh with the culture, work hard and take off from there, whereas experienced talent can do the same but also bring tweaks, and positive change from their vast experience.
In the end the right solution may be a healthy mix of both experienced (hard working) talent and home grown, hard working potential.
In our competition culture, it really comes down to who wants it more, who is willing to work hard enough to achieve goals and who fits the best within your culture.
Remember, hard work always beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.
About the author: Chris Baker is Director, Buiness Develoment at Freedom 55 Financial in London Canada where he helps to build teams to success. He is a certified professional speaker (Canadian Association of Public Sepakers) and is involved in coaching, leadership development and management.
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