Talent War … How the Best Small Businesses Win this War

The message is simple … some people are better than other people. Moreover, some people are a heck of a lot better than other people. Therefore it is essential for businesses, and especially small businesses, to win the talent war or at least be competitive.

talent war
Talent war.

The most important decisions entrepreneurs make not ‘what’ decisions but ‘who’ decisions.

–Jim Collins

Check out our thoughts on team leverage.

Are you familiar with the saying people are your business? Do you believe it to be true? We certainly do. And we believe that one of the most difficult, yet most important elements of any business is the hiring process, as Jim Collins is saying.

Keep learning: Small Company … 20 Struggles that Are Easily Understood


During the recruitment process, you really must take into consideration many candidate behaviors, attitudes, and strengths. Even the person who is talented sometimes doesn’t have the right personality and team chemistry to add to your team.



Related: Employee Traits That Will Disrupt Your Business



Bringing in exactly the right people is paramount to any business and teamwork is one of essential ingredients for most businesses.



Tuning in during the interview process to gauge how well a person would fit in the office every day, where they’d inevitably interact with their colleagues and be part of the agency ecosystem, matters more than you probably realize.



If you want to build the most successful small business, it starts with having the best people. Creating a talent advantage begins with smart hiring. That said, it never ceases to amaze me at the number of businesses who put little energy and time into mining for talent.  Smart leaders do more than just hire smart people … they have a creative hiring process and methodology.



Related: Creative Convergence and the Value of Collaboration with Others



Put simply; talent matters. The problem is that very few people possess the ability to identify talent. Identifying and recruiting talent requires much more than screening a resume and having a set of standard interviewing questions to guide you. There are issues of values, vision, culture, context, etc. that need to be creatively and intuitively addressed in the hiring process.



In today’s post, we’ll share our philosophy on the best way to ensure that you hire tier-one talent. We believe one of the best uses of time is to make sure that we make the best hiring decisions possible.


One of the most difficult, yet most important elements of any business is the hiring process. During the recruitment process steps, you really must take into consideration personality. Even the person who is talented, sometimes they don’t have the right team personality because they are too disruptive. So you hire the right people who will most easily fit and you retain quality to build a strong team. So hiring the right people means the most talented … not always for sure.



Related: Build an Effective Team by Being a Talent Hound



Bringing in exactly the right people is paramount to any business and teamwork is one of the essential ingredients for most businesses.



There are many great how-to books on hiring out there. Nice to learn from. But just reading and learning of the best hiring tips won’t make you better at hiring any more than looking at pictures of healthy people will cure your cold. You have got to put your learning into action. And practice, practice, practice.


We use the following hiring process attributes when advising our small business clients:


War for talent statistics
War for talent statistics.

Talent war … know what you are looking for

If you can’t accurately define what you are looking for, you have little chance of finding it. This definition is both regarding the job description and the profile of the individual most likely to be successful in that role. If you can’t define what you’re looking for, you should not be looking.



Know what you are selling 

You are looking for the best talent, correct? This means you are in competition, so it is essential that you can put your best foot forward and be able to market your strengths. Examples of what real talent will be looking for are continuous learning, ability to grow and develop their strengths, etc. Be able to give your examples of these in a flexible, non-selling manner.



Take your time

There is wisdom in the expression ‘hire slow and fire fast’. Don’t panic and end up making a regrettable hire out of perceived desperation. Give yourself plenty of runway. You’ll be much better off taking your time and making a good hire rather than using the ready, fire, aim methodology and end up terming the new hire before they eclipse their probationary period.



The war for talent book … always be in talent search mode

This applies even if you are not yet ready to hire. Never let your organization be put behind the talent 8-ball, as great talent is rarely available on a moment’s notice. Some of the best hires we’ve made over the years were people that we spent months, and in some cases, years developing relationships with.



Culture-based hiring

Culture matters … a lot more than you may believe. You can either spend time finding employees who share your organization’s values, or deal with the brain damage of managing conflicts that arise due to opposing values. Ignore culture in the hiring process, and all other recruitment initiatives will be diminished, if not lost altogether.



Hire leaders

When our client’s companies complain about a lack of leadership, or how difficult it is to identify leaders, our question is simply this: Why didn’t you hire a manager, to begin with?  It is simple … the development of a current leader is faster, easier, and more efficient than creating a new director.



Pay for talent

Talent has an uncanny way of attracting more talent. Know that you are paying more, but if it is the right hire, you will be given in many ways you are not even considering. To put it bluntly, you get what you pay for … real talent produces real results, and is worth the investment. You cannot afford not to invest in talent. People are your business.

Keep pushing forward: Most Frequent Startup Companies Cardinal Sins


Continually upgrade

You can hire the best talent in the world, but remember that ‘best’ is a subjective evaluation primarily measured within the context of a snapshot in time. Obsolescence can take root in anyone if growth and development do not focus points. Development needs to occur at every echelon of the workforce … the top, middle, and bottom performance tiers.



The bottom line


Hiring is a blend of art and science. The reality is that those organizations that identify, recruit, deploy, develop and retain the best talent will be the companies who thrive in the marketplace.



Never be done with your hiring and building your team, life is a continuous learning experience for you and the team. Team building and talent development takes work and a consistent process, but you will be pleasantly surprised the impact it will make on your business and service.


Look to build good team chemistry as a top priority. With practice and action. And that’ll help greatly in keeping your team focused, engaged, and passionate.




Need some help in finding ways to hire the best employees?  Such as creative ideas to promote the differentiation with potential competitors? Or perhaps finding ways to work with other businesses?


Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your job.

Call Mike at 607-725-8240.


All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that struggle gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas.


When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.


Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.


Do you have a lesson about making your continuous learning better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?


Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he writes about topics to help improve the performance of small business. Find him on G+FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.


Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change.  We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.


More reading on small business from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:


Business Partnership …13 Insightful Examples of Partnership Ideas

Is Your Small Business Coping With Technological Change?

Business Plan Structure … 5 Keys to Writing Usable Business Plans


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Talent War … How the Best Small Businesses Win this War