How we think about talent

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Read an article today (on LinkedIn, so I can’t easily provide a link) by a guy who had trouble finding work after taking a few years off to raise his children.

Should start out by acknowledging the irony of me noticing an article about this topic by a guy… this is a problem that women have been dealing with forever.

Anyway, the article got me thinking about my own views / practices around hiring for our business.

Hiring for small business can be extremely challenging. You can’t compete with big business pay / benefits. You’re inherently less stable. And no one is getting any prestige points by telling people at cocktail parties that they work for Adaptive Realty (vs., say, Goldman Sachs).

So, the question is, how do you go about attracting and retaining talented people?

This is not a solved problem for us, but we’ve learned some lessons that I think are relevant to other small businesses:

  1. Hire for “smart / energetic / honest” over “experienced”;
  2. Be open to non-traditional resumes (like, for example, people who have not finished college, or taken some time out of the work world to raise a family);
  3. Give people more responsibility, earlier in their careers;
  4. Minimize annoying bureaucracy / politics in the office;
  5. Avoid micro-managing (I’m not even close to good enough at my own job to do everyone else’s, too!); and
  6. Allow for non-traditional / flexible work schedules

You also need to be on the look-out for talent, even when you’re not actively hiring. Speaking of which: If you, or someone you know, is super-interested in development and/or property management as a career, get in touch… am always happy to sit down with people to see if there is a way for us to work together.

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