If We Only Had the Right People

‘Better pay will attract better employees.’

‘If we hire good talent we won’t have so many issues.’

‘Hiring from good schools means we will have better talent.’

‘Better talent means projects will get done faster.’

I have heard all of these in varying flavors, some of them more than others. They’re all mythical pursuits in most cases. More money will certainly attract more people but it does not guarantee they will be better. Is the assumption that people inherently know how much money a given company should pay them and only pursue jobs in the appropriate range?

The second one is a good one. Everything in our business is perfect we just hire the wrong people. The fact that the wrong people were hired says more about who does the hiring and less about the applicants.

I once saw an article about a software company that was strictly recruiting from ivy league schools so that they could do projects on time and under budget. They were out of business not long after. The school itself does not guarantee anything or the market wasn’t ready for really smart people doing really great work really fast.

The truth is the best employees know the best companies to work for and why. They can see through hype and smell frauds a long way off. A catchy billboard doesn’t motivate the best employees to work for you. Neither does playing to egos, it just tracks egos. Rarely is an ego substantiated with skills it is just arrogance. Companies that succeed do so because they know how to get the best results with the people they have. It is not merely about getting the best employees and standing back and watching the magic happen.