Author: Ellis Blevins – Founder of Fluid Consulting
There are those who know me well, and those who I just met – and both probably know I am a Bama fan(atic!). NCAA football makes me smile, and yell, and dance, and cry, especially when I think of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Did you know that there are only 4 days until kickoff?! That being said, I am not planning on writing a sports article, but I am going to offer some insight on building a powerhouse team, and it starts with your next hire.
The struggle is real, there are only so many all-stars, but maybe that isn’t what you need in the first place. As I speak with clients and peers, I hear the same thing. “How do we get the right candidates through our door? We need to hire!”
What if I told you that I have a little secret– it’s a secret that many people know, they just don’t use it as much as they should. What if I could choose your next hire? I believe with one hire, it can help with the next, and the next, you know, the entire future of your team.
I have plenty of excitement around the current demands of the hiring market. The technology industry is growing, companies are growing, and the economy overall is growing. So to fit the changing trends in the marketplace, may I suggest that you make your next hire a different one? Let’s turn to an example of a recruiting mastermind, Nick Saban. The Alabama head coach does not start the beginning of each season looking around campus for his starting quarterback, his new guard or offensive tackle. Those were brought on board a year, or two before. Alabama walks onto the field with a group who are ready to play (and, God willing, win). But that team didn’t arrive playing this way—they were coached. I admit that I get excited every time I hear about a new recruit signing on with Alabama, and I also get excited when I hear about a new coaching hire. (I am thinking about Lane Kiffin and more recently Mel Tucker.)
Now we are getting to my secret, that one that most folks already know. I want your next hire to be a trainer, a mentor, a coach– someone whose main goal is to bring less experienced team members to the next level. This is a strategic hire with a longer-term goal versus a hire that is immediately plug-and-play on your projects. This individual will create the opportunity for additional team members when growing a team can be difficult.
The market has proven that the more experienced candidates have multiple options and can demand a higher price point, some even come with a little attitude. With a designated mentor on board, you can invest in up-and-comers, new grads, or less experienced individuals who can learn and grow and add to your team over the long term. Hey, you are giving them the chance to launch their careers – and with that comes loyalty.
You may actually have this person in-house already. In fact, this someone could know your technology and processes and more importantly your culture. This is someone that can be extremely effective in multiple ways – but do they have the time to dedicate to training? Or maybe a better question, are you willing to take them off the projects they are on and give them the time and resources for this new task? If the answer is no, then you will need to look outside for the right person, which can certainly be done. Whether a tenured employee or new, they should help in the recruiting process of hiring more junior individuals. They should help define the characteristics that will make a strong long-term hire for the team. There should be a plan in place with very specific expectations. With the right coach in place, you will open up a whole new sector of potential employees.
The community has come to understand that technology is growing, and many people are moving back into STEM fields. It is a viable and profitable career path, and we now have more potential junior candidates than ever before. Candidates are entering the market from various educational paths – associates, bachelors, bootcamps and self-taught individuals.
These individuals are enthusiastic, ready to hone their skills and maybe a bit humble. If you give them a place to learn and a teacher to take them there, you now have a way to cultivate a home-grown team member (or two or more) ready made to fit into your company’s culture, strategies and processes. Your company could very well be an unstoppable tide of technology!