Finding the right talent is a difficult task, just ask any headhunter. One thing that everyone forgets is that we are all in the “talent scouting” and “recruiting” business now. From building out your personal brand board of advisers to surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals, you need to be talent scout if you want to achieve real success. By strategically selecting your inner circle, you will have a stronger brand, and be able to execute on your dream.
You can’t be best friends with everyone. There’s not enough time in your day, week, and year. What you can do though, is have tiers of relationships based on trust, closeness, and your intuition for what they bring to the table long-term. You might have heard the phrase “circle of trust,” from the hit movie Meet The Parents, and the same applies to how relationships are built between yourself and other people. Here is how to break down people who should and shouldn’t be part of your inner circle:
Who should be in your inner circle?
- People that you admire and wish to build a mutual relationship with.
- People that you see yourself working with, whether at a company, your own company, or side projects.
- People that you have enough shared interests with so you can easily keep in touch with them, without appearing fake.
- People that have complementary strengths.
- People who understand the principles of networking, and won’t use you and abuse you.
- People who are passionate, caring, and seek to help others.
Who shouldn’t be in your inner circle?
- People that have nothing in common with you.
- People who aren’t responsive, dependable, and have poor behavior.
- People that don’t have the common traits of successful individuals like yourself: they aren’t ambitious, persistent, and focused on what they want (in my case).
- People that don’t let you be part of their inner circle.
- People who aren’t connected or don’t wish to be.
- People who don’t stand out and mimic other people.
You are a talent scout, or at least you should be starting today. I spend a lot of time each day analyzing the people around me to see who would be a good fit for various projects that I work on. For instance, the other week, I received an email from David Trahan (a new blogger here), with the title “Where have you been all my life” and then the body of the email expressed a lot of interest in my work and a desire to work with me. The email was so powerful and convincing, that after I did some research on him, I felt compelled to grab him as a contributor to this blog. A lot of the columnists for Personal Branding Magazine were in my original network three years ago when I started in the personal branding arena, such as Rick Mahn, Maria Elena Duron, and Tiffany Monhollon.
How to attract new talent into your world
- Create projects. Create projects around one or more topics, and then find people using Technorati, Google, Twitter, and other search engines, to become stakeholders. This is easier when you have a recognizable brand and a large platform. The more targeted your project is, the easier it will be to fill it with specialists who have a stake in the success of the project, whether it’s a blog, a new business, or a eBook.
- Become a generator and publisher of ideas. The more you publish on a certain topic (just like I do for personal branding), the more it will lure others into your world. The consistency and commitment you have for your topic will attract those who are also passionate, which makes talent scouting easier.
- Keep an eye on people. I’ve kept an eye on some of my friends all the way back to elementary school. One of them, Russell Wyner, is helping me design my corporate website right now, but I’ve been watching his work for a decade. Another friend from high school, Joel Backaler, I’ve been mentoring because I want him in my inner circle. Both of these individuals have shared interests, and they are people that work hard, have entrepreneurial spirit, and unique talents. You never know who someone is going to become too. That’s why you have to look at people’s abilities and work ethic because those usually turn into success.
- Be aggressive. Don’t wait for people to find you because that may take too long. Instead, start being part of communities on social networks and blogs, so you can gauge who might be a good fit for your inner circle. You can tell this by blog posts, comments, and other forms of online presence. If you find someone, reach out and introduce yourself.
- Develop your own filter system. I have a filtering system that I use in order to tier my online relationships. First, I’ll follow or follow someone back on Twitter, then if I get the impression that there’s a good fit (or the person is just interesting), then I will email him or her. Finally, if they respond using a Gmail address, then I’ll add them to Gtalk, so that I can have one-to-one conversations with them to learn more about them, and what their goals are. You should have your own filtering system, from observing major pools of people, to communicating in public, then privately, and then through instant messaging or a phone call. In this way, you are almost giving rounds of indirect, but personal, interviews.
Are you a personal brand talent scout? What have been your recruiting strategies and have you had success?