Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Understanding - Talent Acquisition Recruitment + 1 step ahead of it = Talent Acquisition

Lets see How!!!!
How is talent acquisition different from normal recruiting efforts? It's a simple but telling question, and one that I hadn't duely considered before. Recruiting can be defined as profiling, sourcing, assessing and hiring candidates. Talent acquisition is defined as profiling, sourcing, assessing, hiring and optimizing this process so that candidates add value to the organization. This may seem like a subtle difference but I think it is not. What counts is the resulting talent and value of the candidate, not the internal process or machinations of the organization. While time to hire and cost to hire are recruiting metrics; quality of hire is the talent acquisition metric.

A similar emphasis on value exists for the definition of all talent practices. "Talent development" is perhaps the most strikingly different than the definition of development by itself. In many organizations, development is synonomous with training. If you want to develop an employee, send them to training. In talent-driven organizations, a fuller definion would be: the ability to develop and unleash "difference-making talent" through developmental experiences, expanding social networks, connecting people to purpose, expertise and resources, communities of practice, action learning, coaching and mentoring programs.

Get Started!!

>> Partner with a Trusted Advisor
Firms that have made the investment and have built a strategic hiring program are more prepared for success than those who are not. When trying to attract mid-to senior level hires, it is in a consulting firm‘s best interests to partner with a search firm.
The right search firm should bring a solid understanding of the firm‘s business and an independent perspective to the process. It is also very important that the search partner has deep industry knowledge and expertise and is dedicated to the passive candidate market. Used effectively, a search partner can positively extend your firm‘s brand, sending a strong message to the candidate market and creating positive PR as they communicate the firm‘s desire to attract great professionals and grow.

>> Audit Your Needs Perpetually
The first rule is to continuously audit your practice to identify your short and long term hiring needs. This can be done by commissioning an internal program or by partnering with a third party with deep market knowledge in the industry. Your audit should identify gaps in talent by functional, industry, or geographical capability. It should also bring insight into what clients want from outside professionals, what the competition is doing and trends in acquiring talent.
When completed properly, an audit will give your firm a solid understanding of the talent portfolio required to meet both client needs and firm growth objectives.

>> Define a Talent Acquisition Strategy
Once a talent auditing program is in place, firms need to define their talent acquisition strategy.
In today‘s talent market, it can take twice as long to acquire the same talent as it did just two years ago.

Firms should align their talent acquisition strategy with their business strategy for the next three to five years. Determine what you want to keep in-house and what part of the implementation you want to give to a talent acquisition partner. At this point, it is productive to involve any external partners in the strategic planning process so they can internalize your business objectives and have greater success early in the execution phase.

>> Execute a Dedicated Implementation Program
Given that the market is very competitive, attracting people has become more of a strategic initiative for consulting firms. To effectively shift talent from competitors and industry, most consulting firms should consider putting a perpetual lateral hiring program in place that rivals their campus hiring program. Firms that have done so have been able to stay ahead of the curve and have been able to hire the talent they need.

>> Stay Dedicated to the Passive Market
The goal in sourcing is to identify everyone capable of doing the job, and 90% of the time those individuals are passive. With the advent of the internet and greater volumes of information easily accessible, clients are seeing mostly active candidates.
To best tap the passive market, We may prefer using a three part sourcing program that leverages independent new research, referrals from industry executives who buy consulting services, and our own network.
When a sourcing strategy is combined with experience, persistence, and good relationships, the chances for success dramatically increase. Often this may also lead to attracting a group or doing a complete lift-out opportunity for our clients.

Some Basics !! Knowhow
What Do Most Consulting Firms Look For In New Candidates?
They are looking for perfect resumes. Over here the question is this: "We have this problem to solve or this opportunity to seize. Can you help?" And most employers' don't give special effort, how many degrees you have. If you can demonstrate that you can help an employer to acquire more clients or business, but all you have is some vocational training in lion-taming, you still can get the job.

Here are some hiring practices that I've found valuable...

Recruit people who will be slow learners of the corporate dogma ("This is how we do things around here"). If you keep looking for people of "your kind", that is, the same skills and attributes you have, sooner or later you create such level of incest in your firm that you end up wiping yourself out.

Recruit people who are better than you. Yes, you can put together a team in which you are the genius, but then you stand on the shoulders of dwarfs, and the limit of your vision is the tip of your nose. Attract people who are better then you, stretch you with their weird perspectives and oddball concepts, and you stand on the shoulders of giants. To do this you must tame your ego, but in return, you may just see much further.

Recruit people whom you are willing to compensate well. If you pay peanuts you get only monkeys. And since the universal law of attraction says that, "like attracts like", if you attract monkeys then you have a monkey business in which you are the chief monkey. That makes you a five-star imitator. And high calibre people with do their best to avoid you.

Yes, money is not the greatest motivator, but lack of money is the greatest demotivator. Just imagine, you have to live the rest of your life in fear of losing your best people, because a better firm has seduced them with better opportunities, including but not limited to better compensation. And when they go to the competition, they take your deepest secrets and many of your clients with them.

You may say that stealing clients is unethical, but since the professional service firm is the only form of business that is based on one-to-one relationships, many clients automatically move with the professionals with whom they have one-to-one relationships. And, besides swearing and shaking your fist to the high heavens, there is not a sausage you can do about it.

Now you may say your people signed non-disclosure and non-competition agreements. You can't be so naive, can you? There is one more thing here: How can you ask - almost - minimum wage - people to go out and sell your premium services? Minimum wage people develop minimum wage mindsets and minimum wage performance. Potential clients will be able to read this sign and it is very repelling.

Recruit people you don't need yet. Recruiting good people is just like "recruiting" a spouse. Just as you can't go out saying "I must fill the vacancy for a wife by Friday 5:00PM", you cannot find good people that way either. You recruit good people whenever you bump into them. Many firms make the mistake of growing linearly. The idea is to start with the end in mind and working backwards. If your vision is to develop a large multi-national firm, then abandon your small business management practices, that is, let's save money by building our own websites and cleaning our own toilets. If you want to grow, show it.

Also growth starts on the inside. First you have to develop the performance capability within your firm, and then that capability turns into performance and new revenue. It's like farming. First you have to plant and then harvest. You can't start the farming cycle by getting paid 1 million for your corn which you haven't even planted yet.

Use job interviews as idea generation, not only to screen candidates. The fresh perspective of the "ignorant antagonist" can take your level of thinking to a much higher level. Most people in most firms become the big bosses' yes people. Bring in people who dare to oppose you. That is how great concepts are created. You need people who dare to say: The emperor has no clothes.

Encourage your people to be mavericks. This is very hard. Most firm owners, especially owners of small joints are breathtakingly ego-driven, and want to take control without realising a basic fact as Nicole Kidman bluntly put it to Tom Cruise in the movie Days of Thunder: "Control is an illusion, you infantile egomaniac. Nobody controls anything." They have the "My way or the highway" mentality. You can buy people's time, their muscle movements, but you must earn their respect. You can control labourers by prodding them to shovel more horseshit from one pile to the other, but you can't control professionals to provide higher quality services. And one must be an Olympic-grade idiot even for trying. Just accept that your people are good at what they do, and give them freedom to practise their crafts. Focus on that you create an environment of honest, ethical high quality work, and your people will step up to your expectations.

Why Do You Think That Happens?
Consultants know that only very few firms are worth investing a long-term career in, so they grow their own assets within their firms. It is basically their firms' cultures that force them to build their own careers covertly, and when they are ready to jump, they go into competition against their former employers. Who can blame them? Nobody. Their former employers "made" them do it by working in a competitive as opposed to a collegial and collaborative environment.

When you talk about money, watch your candidates like a hawk. Watch both for verbal and non-verbal cues. If, after a boring discussion, their eyes light up, then you had better run very fast and very far, unless you run a consulting whore house and manage by "billable hours" and "making quota."

Focus on people who have never worked in an environment you have. Ignoring this concept can lead you to a collection great - for instance - doctors with amazing content knowledge but with no emotional skills, who cannot work with people beyond giving basic orders: "Bend over!... Next!"

Ignore your firm's past. You can't build your firm's future by constantly looking at the rear view mirror. As the saying goes, you can never discover new oceans until you have the courage to lose the sight of the safe and secure shore.

Here you can ask two questions:

The tactical question is: "What can we achieve through who we are, with what we and by what we do… today." That is, you have some rigid tactics and keep the strategy fluid. This is retarded. This is like a ship's captain saying, "Where can we go by steadily sailing south-east at 5.6 knots." Here the strategy is subservient to the tactics. As Stephen Covey says, "You're busy climbing a ladder but you don't know what it leans against." In this approach "How?" (Tactics) is given and the "What?" (Strategy) is haphazard.

The strategic question is: Who do we have to become and what do we have to do to achieve our objectives? Note that the "What?" (Strategy) is given and the "How?" (Tactics) is flexible.

Discovering Your People's Natural Strengths?
To make the most of your people, you have to make sure they play to their natural strengths. Your strengths are the direct result of the natural talents you were born with. These talents have been honed and sharpened through life experiences, education and the skills you've developed over the years. If you determine your people's strengths, you can really build a strategically focused firm that has a competitive advantage. In order for you to clearly identify your people's strengths it will be helpful to look at what constitutes strengths.

Strengths = Talents + Education + Experiences + Skills

Step 1- Talents
It all starts with your inborn talents. Your talents are the special abilities that you were either born with or developed within the first 3 years of your life. Talent is a consistently recurring pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that can be applied productively. These abilities can take many forms:

Thinking abilities (strategic thinker, a marketing mind, visual or spatial thinking, genius thinking, creative thinking, linear thinking, curiosity, etc…)
Feeling abilities (intuitive, empathetic, passion, confidence, determination, spontaneous, etc…)
Behaviours (working well under pressure, being responsible, ability to focus, being a good listener, good negotiator, good bluffer, eye-hand coordination etc…)
Your talents are the foundations of your strengths. To achieve mastery, to be really excellent at anything first requires that you were born with a foundation for it. If you have the foundation, then you still need to receive the education, experience and skill training to convert the talent into a strength. If all these elements come together you have a strength.

Step 2 - Education
This derives from schooling, working with through mentors, reading, attending seminars, audio programs, and every other way you can bring in information that is already prepared for you in some form or another. This is the result of explicit learning.

Your education can either supportive or antagonistic to your natural talents. Ideally, your education should work in synergy with your talents. If you're a naturally born analyst, then study accounting.

Step 3 - Experiences
What you've learned throughout your life and pulled out as your observations and conclusions on how to do things. As a result of your experiences, your work becomes more and more intuitive. Hint: You can't go to school to become the next Picasso.

Step 4 - Skills
Skills are the steps by step instructions that experts have refined for you to more easily learn specific activities. While learning skills will help you improve your performance in any area, the areas where you have foundational talents will show exponential growth in your ability.

An example might be golf. I would imagine that no one has ever played at a pro level the first time they picked up a club. But some people take lessons for years and while they improve they still kind of lack. Others though show incredible progress from lesson to lesson. The difference between the two is inborn talents.

Before You Are Hiring Your Next Person
Step 1: Define the Position
Purpose: This is the "Why?" you want to hire this person. You must have a better reason than we have lots of projects and need new people. First reach the point of having much more demand for your firm than it can provide, so you can cherry pick your clients. And hire only when you have overwhelming demands for your services at premium fees.

Objectives: This is the "What?" you want to hire this person. What is this person expected to achieve in the new position?

What is this person responsible for? Do you expect this person to achieve results or mark time, be busy and perform pre-defined tasks?

What authority will this person receive to achieve the expected outcomes?

Describe the type of relationship this person is expected to work in both with clients and other associates of your firm.

Describe the environment this person is expected to operate in.

Step 2: Job Performance
The person: Remember, his book, in Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill writes about personality traits to achieve success, not specific skills to master, courses to take and certificates to collect. So, you'd better select this person based on character traits. Everything else can be taught and learnt. Many firms kill themselves by employing apathetic geniuses. What also works against you is that statistically, some 86% of employees hate their jobs and/or bosses.

Rewards: How do you reward this new person? Forget about hourly rates. That's retarded and it rewards incompetence.

Repercussions: How do you deal with people who refuse to act in the in the best interest of the higher good and goes on self-serving crusades?

Step 3: Measuring Results
Expected vs. Actual: Basically you measure and chart your projections against your actual results.

Differences: This gives you your delta, the difference between the projection and actual outcomes.

Corrections: And based on your delta, now you know what to do with it. That is, what sort of corrective action to take to get back on track.

There are two factors you can measure. Does your measurement relate to the process or the outcome? And is the measurement qualitative or quantitative?

So, you measure...

Quantitative Outcomes: These are the numerical changes your firms achieves by hiring this person.

Quantitative Process: This is the measure of progress. In project management these are your milestones.

Qualitative Process: This is about how your new candidates feel about the process of change that your firm initiated by hiring them.

Qualitative Outcomes: This section measures how your new candidates feel about the end result they are expected to create.

Best of luck.
and Emerge Victorious
Abhinav Mishra.

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