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Should Organizations Always Go for the Star Candidate?

Some ambitious CEOs often want to recruit only the very best and high potential candidates as a talent acquisition policy – best in terms of outstanding academic and illustrious job performance track records.  However, will recruiting many Star Candidates (SC) serve to achieve the strategic goals of the organization?  

 

Let’s explore when this policy might not work:

  1. Retention rate is low: SCs are often very achievement-oriented and ambitious.  If their high expectations including job satisfaction and rewards are not met, they tend to quit early.  Recruiting many SCs but not being able to keep them can create an unstable work environment.  The challenge is to keep young SCs learning and satisfied all the time so as to keep them.
  2. Morale of these SCs is low: In a talent crowded environment, high profile jobs and promotions are usually insufficient to meet the needs of SCs.  They can become disenchanted and yet not resign because of good pay and benefits.  The challenge is to create space for the SCs to grow.
  3. Execution load is not discharged: SCs are strong in conceptualization and could spend an inordinate amount of time questioning the “what for?” and “why”.  They tend to view operational and programmed activities as unfulfilling mundane work.  Spending lots of time debating and doing tasks they are passionate about can lead to operational work not well discharged. This is akin to having many generals but few soldiers to fight the battles!  The challenge is to ensure customer needs are faithfully delivered.
  4. Alignment and teamwork is not present: SCs tend to be strong individuals.  Hence, having many SCs is one thing, and getting them to work cohesively together is another.  The challenge is to build alignment and collective allegiance to fulfil corporate mission and strategic goals.

 

The foregoing highlights 4 basic conditions that must be effectively dealt with to make the recruitment of SCs a workable HR policy.  Capelle’s advice in talent acquisition is hence for organizations to search for a Balanced Candidate as well as a balanced slate of candidates, and not to acquire many SCs like collecting gems! A balanced candidate is defined as one who satisfies the ABC requirements, and a balanced slate of candidates is a team that is collectively strong in thinking, doing, and relating.  For simplicity, the ABC of Talent Acquisition for recruiting a balanced individual candidate is:

 

  • Attributes (A): Personal values, job and financial expectations, family backgrounds, special talents, past achievements, and risk of resignation.
  • Brain (B): Intellect, leadership, communication, creativity, and result-orientation.  
  • Competency (C): Technical competencies and job experience.