November 8, 2007

Hiring versus Acquiring

I have several talented friends and colleagues currently searching for work. All of them are frustrated by the lack of jobs being posted in their respective professions or industries.

Therein lie the problem: The job posting is a constraint... for both the employer and the prospect. We would build organizational capacity more effectively if we think also about acquiring talent versus just hiring for positions.

Yes, we all have limited resources, but the best organizations don't let the lack of an advertised position prevent them from acquiring a highly desirable portfolio of talent. They may not do so full-time, or for very long, but they look to create an ad-hoc connection and the opportunity for the talented individual to contribute. And over time it might grow into something more expansive or more permanent. But if it doesn't they'd be happy to have temporarily rented the individual's ideas, inspiration, and intellect and put them to good work.

If I was an exec today, I'd reserve a reasonable amount of my money for talent acquisition and use it to compensate individuals who have talent to contribute to our efforts when we don't have jobs in which to place them. It may be a consulting relationship, it may be a short-term employment contract, it may be hourly project work, or it may be something more creative. But I wouldn't let lack of a posted description keep me from making the most of what might be a limited-time offer.

1 comment:

Pat Jones said...

Jeff, I agree with this posting 100% and have worked for people who practiced it. Get the good talent into the organization -- somehow -- then figure out later what "job" they're going to have.