Do You Really Need to Hire a Rock Star or Do You Just Think You Do


I have worked with Hiring Managers at all levels and it is human nature to want to find the ‘best’ candidate when you are hiring – but Hiring Managers next time you are hiring for your team, quantify what the ‘best candidate’ means for your role. Ask yourself do you really want to hire a bona fide Rock Star or do you potentially really only need an X-Factor (or substitute The Voice, American Idol, or other) contestant for your role.

Many Hiring Managers when they are hiring for their team will loosely throw around the term ‘Rock Star’ and follow it up with comments like ‘I want the best in the business, I need a game-changer, I need someone who can take us in a new direction, etc……

There are 2 main things that I question when I hear someone say these statements. The first is, when I hear a Hiring Manager say statements like this, I think wait a second all I am hearing is what the Hiring Manager wants or needs. A good Recruiter will challenge the Hiring Manager and work out what is the value proposition for the candidate? It is great to hear what a Hiring Manager wants but any work relationship is a two way street. While a Manager may address what his/her needs are when they work with their Recruiter, what would this potential role give to this all star candidate that they want to hire. If your Recruiter does not ask you this or qualify this with you, I recommend looking at the service you are getting from your Recruiter.

The second thing that causes alarm bells for me is really a follow on from the first statement and that is : is the Hiring Manager trying to put a rock star candidate into a regular role or a regular company. If you are hiring and you look at your role on offer and your company – does your role or company really necessitate a rock star candidate?

rockstarA few examples of this could be you want a person to change the ‘game’ (what ever that means to you), but you look at their productivity based on how many hours they sit at a desk not by results achieved. Or for example you want the best sales person there is in your industry, but your commission structure is not competitive or your company’s management style is outdated, tired and unproductive.

In these examples why would a ‘rock star’ want to take on one of these roles? What is the value proposition or attraction for them to consider this role. If they are the best in the market, odds are that they are already in a good role and do not need to go anywhere. So what is it that you offer that would make that person you want to stand up and take notice.

Rock stars need to be able to make success happen – Eddie Van Halen didn’t create his great licks and solos following a script. If you want to hire someone who will take direction as you need and be a corporate clone of what you want, you probably want to hire an X-factor candidate that will do as they are told and follow the script to create their 15 minutes of fame. If you really want to hire the best candidates in your market make sure that you have the business need that necessitates you finding and hiring that person otherwise you will end up putting a high achieving individual into a regular role which may create a situation where you have hired the wrong person for the role you needed to hire for.

The flow on effect of hiring the wrong person has multiple implications. Not only will the relationship with your new star hire likely sour, but you will have invested a lot of time and energy to get this person on board only to have to go through this exercise again. Not every role in every company requires a rock star – before you start sourcing candidates for your next requirement, take the time to really understand what you need out of the role. It is more important to find the person who is the right fit for the role you have then necesarily just looking at the brightest student, the best sales person by $$$ booking, etc…..

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