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Hiring Rainmakers

January 31, 2016 | Kumar Mangala

Hiring Rainmakers

...a glorious rainmaker moment in nature!

No business can survive 2016 without a Rainmaker on their team.

If you are a CEO of an Organization – big or small, Project Leader of an Enterprise Project or an Entrepreneur building the next greatest mouse trap, without a rainmaker on your team, you will be out of a job by this time next year, if not sooner.

Every business needs a Rainmaker, one or more of them. So, who or what is a rainmaker?

A rainmaker is an individual with the extraordinary ability to consistently improve your business to accomplish it’s vision.

I recommend you read the definition of a Rainmaker from a dictionary of your choice, or two. Here are two links dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster.

Historically, the term Rainmaker was associated with lawyers and sales professionals. In the present day situation, every profession, every business function– sales or non-sales, profit or not-for-profit business - it’s the Rainmakers amongst us that are so often the reason that the business exists and thrives!
If you have not used the word Rainmaker often, you should use the word more often in your language and give it the importance it deserves. Your very survival depends on it. Make it your mantra in 2016.

Once the mantra enters your sub-conscious and conscious mind – you will get to work.

First, it is the time for an honest reflection. If you are the leader of your business or department and determine that you aren’t it’s Rainmaker. That’s a good beginning – acknowledging and confronting the truth.
Second, if you also know that your business or department does not have the Rainmaker on your team. There can be no more urgent item of business than making plans to hire the Rainmaker(s).

The only surefire way for businesses both small and large, both old and young, to stay in business and rise to the top is through innovation. In fact the only way to stay in business by the time 2017 rolls around (Reminder: we just have 11 months to go…may be 10 after holidays and vacation) is to innovate, and to do so fast. Businesses that hire and retain the best talent – Rainmaker talent – have a chance at winning this battle of survival. Every other business will muddle along until the eventuality.

Innovation – what is it? Innovation is simply that which occurs when a motivated individual(s) with the right talent and commitment to bring life to the ideas s/he dearly believes in.

Absence of any of the ingredients: (Motivation, Talent or Commitment to the IDEA) will only result in average products and solutions that nobody wants.

Rainmaker with : Motivation + Talent + Commitment to the Idea = Innovation = More clients, More Business and More profit = Survival in the Future. Perhaps even Thrive.

When I ask anyone who has hired before: How often were they able to hire a Rainmaker with all three key ingredients (i.e. Motivation + Talent + Commitment to the Idea)? The answer is: NOT OFTEN ENOUGH. So why is it that businesses aren’t able to hire Rainmakers despite being aware of the importance. The simple answer is: Because they don’t know how to.

I am going to recommend some How-To’s and What-Not-To’s.

Let me start with the What-Not-To:

The #1 reason why Business will not hire a Rainmaker is because they make this fundamental mistake: When they have an open position the first thing they seem to do is write down a Job Description and promote it to job boards and other avenues. While this approach may work some of the time, for some of the jobs. It is a terrible idea if you are trying to hire a Rainmaker. Job Descriptions are a terrible idea. Instead, focus on Describing the ideal Rainmaker and the career opportunity they can expect. You need to picture the Rainmaker on your team, long before you hire the person. Describe what this person brings to the table and more critically what they can expect to accomplish at your company and how their career can benefit from joining you.

Peter Duflo, CEO of Strategic Ventures wrote an excellent piece on How To Hire All-Stars . I recommend you read it. According to him “This is because these job descriptions focus on the company’s hiring needs rather than the candidate’s needs. Smart companies take the time and effort to develop a Career Opportunity Profile which is a marketing document carefully designed to educate candidates on why it’s in their best interest to investigate a career with your company.”

Once you have developed the Rainmaker Profile. You need to develop an execution strategy. Finding a superstar isn't easy. Take NBC's "America's Got Talent," the perennially popular search-for-a-superstar format that scours the country for the next big thing. For every pitch-perfect opera singer or dancing dog, there's a mediocre magician or creepy contortionist. Talent acquisition in business is pretty much the same. You need deeper insights into your competition if you want employees who can make it through boot camp and secure a headline slot in your organization.

1. Competitor Analysis
If your in-house recruitment team is struggling to acquire talent, you're not alone. A 2014 McKinsey study revealed that talent acquisition was a significant challenge for organizations trying to meet digital goals. Start by defining your corporate core values and create an archetype of your target candidate with a talent persona. Next, formulate a competitor analysis strategy. This initial stage is super crucial: Kyle Lagunas, a talent acquisition analyst from Brandon Hall Group, says you need to plan and prepare before you can identify and evaluate prospective employees.

2. Invest in Talent Acquisition (TA) solutions
Building virtual pipelines into your competitors talent pools is critical. Derive better insights into your rivals by investing in TA software. Organizations spend billions of dollars on customer relationship management systems (CRM) to connect brands with customers but rely on outdated technology for TA. Being in business in 2016 has it’s own benefits and chief among them is that you don’t have to be a Fortune 100 company to afford the best TA solution. Depending on your unique situation you may invest in more than one solution to maximize your reach. Notable mentions are of course LinkedIn, Stackoverflow, Indeed, Github, RecruiterBox, Dice, Zoho, Greenhouse, SmartRecruiter, Bullhorn, …Madgigs (full disclosure : I am it’s founder and chief cheerleader).

3. Big Data
Living in 2016 means, you cannot formulate a credible strategy without mentioning Big Data. From labor market stats to employee data, organizational charts to brand research, big data gives you the lowdown on the latest talent trends in your niche. Data-driven talent acquisition is so much more than just sourcing the best job candidates. Big data lets you align your growth goals with your strategic brand objectives through real-time industry insights and is a powerful way to outperform your peers. CEO of IBM Virginia Roomette said it much better than I could: "Data will be the basis of competitive advantage for any organization that you run."

It's time to throw out the rulebook and redefine your talent acquisition strategy. Use human intelligence and big data and software in equal parts to seek out the competition and allocate more resources to your TA teams so they can evaluate your competitor's talent pool.

Finally, every organization big and small, even if you were a brand new startup; and whether or not you have the time and in-house resources to Identify, Recruit and Onboard Rainmakers; I recommend retaining a Search firm to help guide you from the very early stage of formulating your hiring Rainmaker strategy all the way until you have met and exceeded your objectives.

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