I hope you’ve been enjoying the series that Dave Mashburn has been contributing over the last week. I know he promised us all a “Part 3” to the discussion he started, but he just shared some bad news with me. He had to take his computer in for repair over the weekend. So, he asked me to jump in, mid-stream, and add to the topic.
Maybe this was providential. I ran across an article last week that seems to support the basis for this topic. The article was written by Jason Lauritsen in a online publication called Recruiting Trends.
In the article, Lauritsen makes the point that everyone is looking for “the top talent” to fill their most critical positions. For a real estate company, the agent is the one who ultimately generates revenue for the company. Finding individuals who have the potential to become high-producing agents in a hiring manager’s organization is the goal.
But, Lauritsen asks an important question: “Is there such a thing as top talent?”
Here are his thoughts on this topic:
“It has become commonplace to talk of 'talent' as if it is absolute. We strategize about recruiting 'top talent' as if it is a group of people that is easily defined and targeted. But talent isn’t that simple. And, it’s definitely not absolute.
When we step away from conceptual or academic discussions of talent, we need a more practical and realistic framework for understanding talent in business. When you break down the way we actually practice talent, we realize that talent is relative and contextual.”
Think about this last statement—“…talent is relative and contextual.” Do you believe this is true?
I would argue that unless you spend most of your interview time listening, you believe (maybe subconsciously) this to be a false statement.
This false belief often results in the hiring manager trying to “sell” the candidate on the benefits of the organization. By making the assumption the person is talented (ie. someone you’d want to join your organization), it is nearly impossible to avoid going into the sales mode and talking too much during the interview.
Lauritsen gives us some insight on how to avoid this:
“Talent is contextual. Talent in one environment may not constitute talent in another. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because someone showed great ability in one situation, they will be as able in every situation.
For example, an individual who has years of successful experience marketing within an established firm with a strong brand may not have any success marketing a startup firm. The context and situation have huge implications on what constitutes talent.”
There is only one way to get this information from a candidate—you have to listen and understand their story.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that someone is “talented” during the interview (even if they are one of your competitor’s top agents). Instead, approach the conversation from the perspective of thoughtfully trying to understand the context of the individual’s experience, skills, and character. And, attempt to make a legitimate connection between what you learn and what a person truly needs to be successful in your organization.
By doing this, you’ll force yourself to ask meaningful questions and listen.
Dave will be back next week, with the conclusion to his series. If you’ve never read/heard much about attunement and attachment theory, you’re in for a treat. It’s fascinating stuff…
Editor's Note: This article was written by Ben Hess. Ben is the Founding Partner and Managing Director of Tidemark, Inc. and a regular contributor to WorkPuzzle. Comments or questions are welcome. If you're an email subscriber, reply to this WorkPuzzle email. If you read the blog directly from the web, you can click the "comments" link below.