The Difference Between “Top” & the “Right” Talent

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top talent vs right talent

A tight talent pool presses human resource managers and recruiters to fill positions created by vacancies and skills gaps.  Is there a difference between “top” talent and the “right” talent for your company?

As former recruiters, we understand the need for speed and structure during the hiring cycle. Our recruiting and staffing software is designed to enable HR managers to define positions, evaluate and track candidates, and onboard the right hire.

While everyone wants to make the right hire—it is important to define what that means for each position you need to fill.

What is “top talent?”

Depending on your business outlook and goals, you probably need differing experience and talent levels in the workers you hire.  General distinctions include:

  • Star performers: For some higher level positions, there is truly a “global war for talent.”  In that rarefied air, IT and other subject matter experts are true stars, attracting investors to their research and development programs, and commanding top salaries in the organizations for which they work.

Entire departments are built around star performers, who are considered key to outcomes and market relevancy.  These high producers are “rainmakers,” and may spend significant time cultivating partners, developing strategy, and overseeing ambitious R&D programs.  Star talent is expensive, and not easy to retain.  It is not unusual for star talent to be hired away just as development efforts begin to pay off.

Results are not guaranteed.  Despite a high sticker price, star performers are a gamble. Even when star talent delivers, unexpected market factors and world events can send the best strategic plan down the drain.

Name-brand talent can kick-start a new direction, heighten your profile, fail to deliver—or somewhere in between.

  • Top talent: In any industry, top talent supports and builds your bottom line.  The best in their area, top performers are known for competence, experience, excellence, and ability with fine-grained details as well as the big picture.

These are stable go-to team members who are difficult to replace and important to nurture.  They may, or may not, have aspirations to become star performers, but are  likely intrigued with their field in a way that makes excellence a natural outgrowth of their interest in forward movement.

In some organizations, top talent is overshadowed by star performers and does not receive appropriate recognition.  Just as likely to be managers, administration, coordinators, or sales staff, the key value provided by these individuals is often not realized until they are poached by another company.

Recruiting top talent takes time and a good recruiting process.  Save money and maintain productivity by ensuring engagement policies are aimed squarely at top talent.

  • In development: Effort and training programs that develop existing staff represent time and money well spent.  Internal promotion eases recruiting and hiring costs and virtually eliminates onboarding and time to productivity.

Through engagement tracking and retention policies, HR is uniquely positioned to quickly intuit whether an open position is best filled from within or without.

Hiring the best talent that money can buy is not always necessary.  Star performers are expensive in many ways.  Top talent may be more than you need for your open position.  Before you recruit—know what you need.

Tips for hiring the right talent

By critically assessing the needs and potential growth for each new job opening or vacancy, you can onboard the “right” talent for your business or enterprise.  Consider these tips before your next job posting:

  • What are the critical needs of your open position? Do not reuse job descriptions.  Start over and envision what you really want in terms of productivity, level of performance, and potential development.
  • Discuss the position with team members: Consider feedback from team members and other managers to create a 360-degree view of the new or vacant position.
  • Move quickly once defined: If there are no internal candidates, or internal referrals, move quickly to fill your recruiting pipeline and choose a candidate.  Delaying a hire reduces morale, productivity, and potentially excellent candidates may go elsewhere.

Each open position is a new opportunity to add to your human capital.  Understand the real needs of your position, and goals of your organization to make the right hire.

1 Comment

  1. […] even many positions in the company. The star performers are who departments are built around, says Brightmove. But the verbal line gets blurry between top talent and […]

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