As I'm thinking about this post, I'm wracking my brain trying to remember a time a hiring manager said those words to me. "ONLY BRING ME THE BEST! NOTHING ELSE WILL DO!" I gotta tell you guys, I'm drawing a blank here. This is not to say leaders get it right all the time - but generally they know to caveat their requests with some specifics. In all my years of tech recruiting, we are usually looking for someone who -
- writes clean code
- has been part of or possibly led a team
- solved large scale problems
- has a relatively provable track record of success
Can I with any confidence say I'm going to find "the best" developer and convince them to take this role? Or "the best" manager to lead that team? What the hell does it even mean? Is it all just meaningless buzzwords we use to feel superior? If I let myself fall too far down the rabbit hole I have to wonder just who is holding the measuring stick for all this best-i-ness!! HOW CAN I KNOW???
Ladies and Gentlemen, you might have yourself a hire! Now congratulate yourself on being a master of the recruiting universe and stop wondering if someone "better" is out there. Because they are. You will drive yourself absolutely bat shit crazy if you focus on only "the best" however you choose to define it. I guarantee someone else involved in the process will have a whole 'nother way to measure "best".
How about we look at this a little differently, hmm? Start asking yourselves these questions -
- is my prospect QUALIFIED (they can do the thing)
- are they INTERESTED (willing to talk about doing the thing here)
- can I AFFORD them (I can pay what it will cost for them to do the thing)
This is obviously the BARE MINIMUM of what we should be thinking about / discussing - but how differently does our recruiting approach look when we stop caring about subjective, silly qualifiers like "best" and focus on things we can actually measure? A simple change in mindset is so freeing. All of a sudden I can start focusing on what MATTERS and forget about pipeline that won't fit my criteria, no matter how great. This is often a discussion when it comes to remote work - you can't really say you want "the best" when you're not willing to let people work from home. Or bring their cats to work. Or wear yoga pants. Someone, somewhere, is doing an AMAZING job at the thing, and you won't hire them because you have this or that rule. You can have those rules. Within reason and the law, you can have just about any old rule you want. So throw out "the best" and focus on what works for the team AND the candidate. In other words, "the best for this specific role, at this specific time, under these specific circumstances".
You can have a high bar. You can expect BIG THINGS from people (even more so if you give them something juicy in return - be it money, culture, growth, whatever). Just keep it real. Your clients and candidates will love you for it.
Not the best - but definitely sometimes really great :)