On March 25th I read an article on the newest perk, teaching employees how to start their own company, being used to lure talent; I choked and saved the URL for today’s post.
A few days later I read Bill Taylor’s reaction to the same article at HBR. To say that Taylor, who is a co-founder of Fast Company, is a big booster of entrepreneurial efforts is like saying Google is a modest success, but his reaction was the same as mine.
Rather than rehashing what he said (click and read it) I want to point out why jumping through hoops to hire from a certain tiny percentage of available talent is insanely stupid and tomorrow I’ll offer alternatives.
- Insane because, as Einstein so aptly put it, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
- Stupid because there is a wide range of talent available that would work its butt off for the right reasons.
Why it’s insanely stupid
- The candidate who joins a company primarily for money, stock or whatever is hot du jour will quickly leave for more money, stock or hotter du jour. In other words, when joining a company is “all about me” there is nothing invested in the company, its values/culture, products or even its success, so when (not if) the going gets rough there’s no vested reason to stay.
- Many companies and managers hire as much for bragging rights as for need. In other words, do you really need to hire god or will an angel or even a mortal do the job just as well?
- One manager’s star is another manager’s failure. In other words, past achievement is an indicator, not a guarantee, of future performance.
- Candidates have definite cultural ideas and needs. In other words, people perform based on how synergistic their cultural and managerial needs are with the same elements in their employer.
(Note: although the focus here is on software development, I’ve seen the same insanely stupid hiring in most fields and industries at one time or another.)