There is a war going on. A war for talent.
If you have read The Talent Masters by Ram Charan and Bill Conaty, The 2020 Workplace by Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd or any of the latest books in the human resource space, then you are aware of the importance of recruiting and retaining talent.
81% of CEOs claim that they are losing that war. George Anders in his book, The Rare Find, looks at what makes a recruiter successful and uses examples from the special forces, the FBI, sports, venture capitalists, education and the medical sector. It also explains how Facebook recruits its talent (online coding puzzles!).
The book refers to “The long tail” and how you can use that long tail to spot talent outside of the standard top resumes. This book has elements of Business Exposed by Freek Vermeulen (super CEOs and super talent are hugely overrated) and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (trust your instincts).
The Rare Find has a few key messages:
1. If you don’t know what is coming you need to hire the unexpected — look outside the box
2. Resumes and CVs are only the tip of the iceberg, find out the whole story — read the CV upside down
3. It is not about skill, it is about character and hidden virtues — compromise on experience, but do NOT compromise on character
4. Use observation
5. Ignore cultural fit at your peril
6. Don’t look for “good enough” but try to find the “could be spectacular”.
This book makes absolute common sense and in some ways there is nothing new in it. The good companies will understand the messages in the book instinctively.
I think it is a sister book to Mavericks at Work by William Taylor and Polly LaBarre, where the key message is that you need to recruit people that share your passion and that skills are secondary. This book has the same message about the importance of character and how that supersedes experience.
How your mum and dad raised you is more important than your education. And it is best explained through what the FBI looks for in candidates:
• Initiative, perseverance and compatibility
• Discipline, trainability and judgement
• Loyalty, leadership and maturity
You can’t gauge that from a CV.