The battle for top talent has never been fiercer. This is especially true in specific technology fields such as AI and big data. Recruiting top talent isn’t simply a matter of paying more salary or offering better benefits.
The article What poaching Google’s former AI chief does for Apple on Venture Beat by Taylor Cotterell outlines three ways to lure top talent to your venture. And Mr. Cotterell knows whereof he speaks: he is an executive recruiter at NaviTrust, a leading recruiting firm.
Share the vision
Let’s face it, top talent is a zero sum game. You are going to have to woo your targeted data scientist or top gun marketeer away from their current position. It’s the job of the founder/CEO to set and communicate the vision for the venture. This is never more important than when recruiting. The top executive involved in recruiting – and you can’t delegate stealing top talent from a competitor to your HR department – is to communicate the company’s vision, goals, and plans for the position. But the key is sharing how the candidate’s specific talents will help the company reach those goals. Just as in raising capital, you must capture the candidate’s imagination.
Share the problem
Top talent loves to solve problems. So as Cotterell writes: Potential new hires have to know what a company’s problems are so they can envision what it will be like to solve them. Transparency is paramount. The candidate needs to see themselves in the position, envisioning how they will help solve the company’s problems. In the case of Apple recruiting former Google AI Chief John Giannandrea, it’s clear that Apple has been an also ran in AI. Siri was the first and only intelligent assistant. But in the past five years it seems like Apple has sat on it’s hands as Google and Amazon have created a new market for smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo. What could get a competitive exec’s juices flowing more than the challenge of beating the best at their own game?
Share the resources
Once you have captured the candidate’s imagination and shared the company’s vision, challenges, and plans the candidate is going to ask him or herself, “Ok I get it, but I can’t do this alone? What resources will the company provide me?” Resources include a top flight team, market rate salary and benefits, an ample budget, and the ability to recruit new talent for their team.
Obviously Apple did a stellar job in recruiting Giannandrea and if you are going to recruit top talent you must understand the market rate compensation for the position, but go beyond that to what is going to capture the candidate’s imagination, so they can see themself in the position, tackling a very intriguing challenge.