Carlos Leyva

Silicon Stories

Chapter 7: Talent Wars, E-Teams and E-Cultures

Talent Connoisseurs

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Our people are our greatest asset. We should all agree to abolish this statement from the business lexicon, because for 99.9% of the companies that I have consulted with (unfortunately) this statement is empty rhetoric and corporate bullshit of the worst kind. Most companies do not treat their employees as if they were the corporate crown jewels, and everybody knows it. Cut the crap unless you can deliver the goods.

Everything else being equal (and of course they never are), the companies with the best teams will win more often than not. It follows then that you require damn good coaches and talent scouts to sustain an advantage. You better pay these folks well because they will be (and are) in high demand. Recognizing quality talent is tricky business, and if you rely on bullshit Ivy League pedigree nonsense as your principal criteria, one of your competitors is likely to wind up with all the golden needles in the haystack.

The Recruiting Buzz

When I am brought in to help an organization build a team, the first question I ask is “What is your recruiting buzz?” Of course, I always get the expected response, blank stares followed by “What are you talking about?” In a labor market where quality talent is scarce, they are in the driver’s seat, and are usually very selective when choosing new assignments—not unlike the best actors and directors in Hollywood.

Why would the best talent want to work for your company, and on this specific project? Your recruiting buzz answers this question. It is the story told to candidates in order to get them excited about your mission. Oftentimes companies are engaged in very cool and exciting projects and do not know how to milk this for all it is worth during the recruitment process. Don’t get me wrong; this is definitely not about selling a story that will vaporize as soon as the newly signed up candidate walks through the door. It is about presenting what your project has to offer in the best possible light. Without a great recruiting buzz you are unlikely to win your fair share of the best candidates. Build it. Practice it. And use the shit out of it.

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