Talent Acquisition 101

Companies are made up of people.  Great people make great companies.  That’s the key to building a billion dollar business, and it’s no secret to the most successful companies in the world.

Imagine what Google, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIN, and Twitter would look like if they had a bunch of B & C Players on their teams…..   Staffing mediocrity, well, makes you mediocre…..

I had to learn this the hard way.  I used to make exceptions on talent, hiring B & C players that I thought had “potential.”   B & C players drag A players down.  They show up late, leave early, and ask for extended vacation time.  Vacation time?  How in the fuck do you build a great business when you’re bootstrapping in startup mode and people on your team are asking for “vacation time” 1 month into their careers at your company?    Vacation doesn’t exist when you’re part of an internet startup –  A players know this!   B & C Players complain about how things aren’t fair, and everytime something went wrong they’d point the finger at someone else.

WTF!   How can you build a great company with lousy people in it?  Simply put, you can’t.

I’m on a mission to attract A+ Players into my companies.  Here’s my optimized A Player attraction model:

1.  Have To Have An A+ Business Model

In order to attract the best talent in the world you have to have an A+ business model that will foster innovation, growth, and sustained advantage.

Great people are attracted to great companies.  Unless you have a proven track record of success startup ( i.e.  Jeff Bezos) then you need to prove our your business model to the extent that you can put on a rational case for why an A Player should leave a Quantcast Top 50 Web Business for your startup.

2.  Full-Time Recruiter

You have a business to run.  And in order to run it successfully you should focus on your core strengths inside the company.  Therefore do not try to search & recruit the talent yourself.   Hire an A Player to do it for you.

There’s 3 types of recruiters.  Depending on the position you should utilize 1 of the 3 below:

Retained Search – use these recruiters for highly specialized positions, usually C-Level candidates.  i.e.  CFO that you want to pull from a Facebook etc. that has led 2 previous $200M+ exits.

Retained Searches are usually very expensive ($30k+) and get paid upfront.

Full-Time / Part-Time Internal Recruiter – my preference for most recruiting.  I’ve pull almost all of our C-Level talent through internal recruiters.   Just make sure your internal team has a budget for recruiting tools (ads, software, networks, etc.).  This month we’ve spent over $20,000 on tools for our recruiters across the board.

Agency Recruiter – these are helpful but I try to rely mostly on our internal teams.   The good ones can send leads to your full-time recruiters, but OUCH, shouldn’t your internal team be doing that on their own?

3.  Pay Big $$$$ + Benefits + Ownership Options + Perks + Awesome Office Environment

You can’t dangle a carrot stick without providing substance if you want to attract A Player talent.  You’ve gotta pay big bucks!

If they’re looking for $120k, give them $140k but ask for 120% out of them instead of 110%.

Full Health, Dental, Stock Options, Free Daily Snacks, Coffee, Red Bull, etc.  We offer it all to our Top A+ Players.  Take a look the awesome benefits for employees at LinkedIN, Google, Facebook, and Twitter all take it to the next level!

A+ Players take great pride in their workspace…they don’t want to work in a ratty cubicle.  Great office environments foster innovation, increase team member pride, and improve work output/product.   Take a look inside the offices of these tech startups:





4.  Create A Culture That Is Attractive To The A+ Talent

You don’t want a Radical COO Christian that is against cursing and reads the 10 commandments daily running your commodities floor.  But if you’re running The Holy Land Experience theme park that would make a perfect environment for your Radical COO Christian.

Build a culture that will attract the right A Players to your company.   Culture is paramount in attracting A Player talent.

5.  Great Minds Run In Circles

Showcase a team of other A+ players.   If you don’t have a team yet, you’ll have to rely on your own talents to win over the A+ player.  The more A+ Talent that you attract the more A+ Talent that’ll line up to join your team.

It’s just like sports.  Everyone wants to make it into the Alabama Crimson Tide Football Program these days with success their having with Nick Saban and his 5 Star Players.  But what about 10 years ago?  Their recruiting classes looked like shit under head coaches Mike Shula and Dennis Franchione – both B Players who attracted B & C Players to their team.

A Players will attract A Players.