I say yes to all guest podcast appearances. Put me in coach.
“What would you tell a company that’s just starting to hire and we gotta get these hires right?”
The first 2 things I thought of:
1. Undervaluing range.
I’d say “companies are obsessed with specialization” but it’s deeper than that. Our entire society is. Anyone with kids (or at least nieces and nephews) are familiar with the absolute absurdity of youth travel sports.
At an early age, we’re taught that you have to dedicate all your time to 1 thing if you want to be good at it. Except it isn’t true at all.
In the corporate world, there’s a heavy preference for people who have done one thing at one type of firm and/or industry. Because only that person can solve the most difficult challenges my organization faces. And we want the absolute best…
Here’s the catch: if you’re doing anything remotely interesting you’re facing net-new challenges every day.
And who is best adept to solve never-before-seen challenges?
The people with the most broad range of life (and work) experiences to pull from.
I highly recommend reading “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World Hardcover” by David Epstein. (By read I mean get the audiobook. I prefer having robots read to me.) He illustrates how this plays out in sports, music, art, and business.
2. Companies are notoriously bad at ‘selling’ themselves to candidates.
This is a generalization based on my own experience. Most founders, execs, and leaders worry about:
A. Building their product
B. Selling it
But equally important and often overlooked it:
C. Building a team to make this all happen. How hard and core to the business it is.
Why this part falls down the priority list is on a bit of a spectrum.
👉The understandable end: early hires at company are usually done via their network. People who know them.
These hires are ‘easy’ as far as hiring goes. Credibility and familiarity are there. They often come from similar backgrounds. Speak the same lingo. The ‘value’ is more easily apparent.
They don’t have to “sell” very hard. Initially. But as they grow and they start going outside their network, they do.
The gap is not realizing when this shift happens. The good ones figure it out. But the not-so-good ones end up on the other side of the spectrum…
👉The annoying end: leaders who believe their product and their org are sooooo much better than everyone else. Why should we convince anyone to join? They should be dying to work here.
In response to Jeff’s question: if you’re a sales leader, sell your company to candidates with the same care you’d sell it to a potential client.
Do some discovery, listen to them, understand their motivations, and relate the benefits you bring to the table. Answer what’s in it for them.
Full episode of my appearance’s on Sales Assembly’s Revenue Jam podcast here.