The Eagle Blog

Hiring Talent … Realities

Many “experts” will tell you that you need to hire “A” players … that it takes “A” players to attract “A” players and anything less is unacceptable. 

There is nothing wrong with setting out to find and hire “A” players … I just think that the real world is a little different.

Here are my thoughts … in no particular order

1.  There are not enough A players to go around … and its getting tougher to find them.  Demographics and changing attitudes will exacerbate this.
2.  It is better to have a B player than nobody.
3.  It is possible to elevate people’s game … if they have the right attitude.
4.  IF you adopt a “don’t settle” attitude then you WILL be disappointed … I would suggest that you set a minimum bar, below which you won’t go.
5.  Invest in your team, invest in your processes and invest in tools … if you bring on people willing to learn and willing to work you will be just fine.
6.  Sometimes (often?) the “superstar A Player”  brings so much ego with them that the results are just not worth the pain.
7.  A good team is far more preferable to me than a couple of high maintenance superstars.
8.  There is a school of thought that suggests the success rates of superstars moving from one company to another is questionable … because no two companies are exactly the same.  A different support structure, different product , different management and different company cultures might mean a superstar at company A might not do so well at company B.

So … YES grab the A players when you can, but invest in your team and they will deliver for you.  I would sooner be moving forward than “waiting for Ms. Right”!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

One thought on “Hiring Talent … Realities

  1. In my management experience, there are more than A and B players, there are C and D as well. I have a few comments on this topic:

    1. Yes, there are not enough “A” players to staff a complete team. And to be honest, you don’t want a complete team of them, as there will be a lot of things that will not get done (see #6 above)
    2. B and C players are the workhorses of the industry. They do most of the heavy lifting.
    3. Yes, almost anybody can improve their game with the mentoring or coaching, and most B and C types are eager to do so. Attitude is far more important than an exact match on the technical skillset. Skills can be learned quickly, attitude can’t.
    4. Set standards first for competency and attitude, then the skills.
    5. Demonstrate confidence and invest in your team and you will be pleasantly surprised – guaranteed!
    6. Sadly, this is my experience also.
    7. Absolutely!
    8. I have seen superstars crash and burn or be considered under-performers when moved to a new project.

    Summary… Superstar A players should be treated like salt with cooking – a little bit can improve the end result a lot, but too much ruins everything.

    I would also add that you need to take extra care with A superstars to ensure there is a good personal fit with the rest of the team and that you have a structure within the project that will enable them to continue to perform.

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