Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Hire talent, not skills

Following up on all the HR/recruiting related posts last week, I want to point you to a great article on the subject by Nick Corcodilos. It's a two-parter (Part 1, Part 2) but well worth the read. He makes the point that there is no talent shortage; there is a shortage of the management depth required to nurture and grow it. Weak managers hire skills, but strong managers hire talented people and teach specific skills.

I agree with the general point, and it has helped me crystallize some of the issues I see with the recruiting industry today. Weak management may be an issue, but a broader issue is that the recruiting pipeline has been set up to screen for skills, not talent. Matching algorithms are keyword-based - an indication of skill. Even if a manager is strong and understands the need to hire for talent, the process is stacked against her finding the right person. The need for talent over skills is only growing stronger as work becomes global and mobile, and rapid technology shifts require adaptability above all else. This is such a central issue in most people's lives: finding the right position in which to grow and thrive vs. a non-challenging job in order to collect a paycheck. Why is there no urgency around finding better solutions?