13 Min Read

How to Hire Top Talent & Not Use Your Gut


Problem: At a time when the economy and workers suffer, some executives believe that they could continue to squeeze. As a result, managers cut hours, benefits, and even jobs, not realizing they are doing more harm than good to their profitability.

Opportunity: Hiring talent, and retaining them, is essential for large and small businesses. Furthermore, now's the time to ensure you keep your unfair advantage of talent and technology, to compete more aggressively.

Resolution: Learn what you have to do to create a 21st Century work environment. By doing so, you will ensure you master hiring top talent and also position yourself for success.



Recently, we published an article about employee retention. In it, you'll read how there's a lot of pent up energy on the part of employees for a good job. In short, while times may seem harsh for workers at the moment, as the economy recovers, watch out.


Smart leaders take the long view.

In other words, they understand that to ensure they have an unfair advantage, they need two things:

  1. They have to know how to hire top talent and retain them.

  2. They need to embrace digital transformation. Of course, you can absorb those ideas too.

Why Your Gut Is Not the Approach You Need for Hiring Talent

There was a time when millions of managers around the globe hired based on gut-level decisions. Their teams put out hiring ads, resumes got reviewed, interviews happened, and then offers were given. For the most part, the hiring happened based on experience and chemistry. While that was all well and good in the 20th Century, that's not how to hire top talent now.


You have to understand that your greatest asset—and your greatest vulnerability—are your people. So, it's vital to ensure you know how to hire top talent.

With the tools available for leaders and managers, you can't leave to chance to bring in someone new. If you have managed people, you know that the right person with the right experience, but who does not "fit" in your culture is devastating. Moreover, it's a waste of resources and money.

Robert Half International reported that 41% of managers who made terrible hires estimated thousands of dollars in wasted money. Also, as the same article noted, the U.S. Department of Labor suggests that a bad hire could equal as much as 30% of the potential first-year earnings for that person.

You can't afford to make a bad hire in this environment and at a time of continual disruption. If you do, you may just allow your competitors to beat you.

What You Need to Look for in Today's Workers

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at the business environment and know there's a massive change. Guess what? The state of continual, disruptive, and innovative change is baked into the DNA of businesses now. In other words, all companies, and people, must not only survive but thrive in a climate that is never static.

Gone are the days of future planning five years out in time. As the world learned in 2020, many have no clue what's happening in 6 months, let alone 5 years. Therefore, an essential basic for how to hire talent must include one fundamental idea. You have to have thrivers and chameleons who understand how to master the pivot. They are learners and achievers.

So, what does that mean in practice?


By hiring top talent, you want to ensure the right fit for your company and culture.

You also need to ensure that workers will positively and productively impact your team's dynamics.

As a leader and manager, it's your job to ensure that you set them up for success. And, yes, in today's world, that could mean remote working, investing in professional development, and ensuring you have the best technology your business could afford. It also means that you have to create a culture of learning. The fact is that top talent knows they're good. And, they know what they're worth. Further, they need the challenge of learning, achieving, and contributing.

Hiring Talent for the Digital Age

Again, your unfair advantage to compete in the digital age is predicated on two things:

  1. Your People

  2. Your Technology

Everything else flows from making sure you have high achievers. For your people, that means you want to ensure talent optimization.


You want to make sure that you have the right people working on the right initiatives with the right motivators.

And, for your technology, you want to make sure you have the best tech. Remember, technology grows exponentially and not incrementally. In short, what worked even 18 months ago must get updated. So, how do these understandings help you know how to hire top talent?

1. Technology is Vital for Hiring the Right People

As noted earlier, you can't follow your gut to hire talent. Today, plenty of tools exist to help ensure you're hiring talent that will fit your business. One of the most fundamental things to understand about technology for hiring and teams is that it could predict human behavior.

So, tools exist now, such as Predictive Index, that allows you to hire and manage great teams based on predicting what workers will do. Further, by integrating technology into your hiring process, you cut your hiring costs by 17% and staff hours by 26%.

2. One Question to Ask for Hiring Top Talent

As you know, the digital age requires that workers nurture their learning skills. Gone are the days where the bulk of learning ended once people entered the workforce.


Knowledge is now an integral part of the day for everyone.

Aside from bringing automation and tech into your hiring process, there is one central question to ask your candidates. That question is the following: "What did you do yesterday?"

It's an open-ended question. However, it will inform you if that person has the curiosity necessary to thrive in a learning culture. In short, you want to know if they read a book, took a personal or professional development course, or performed any learning activity.

3. Understand Your Business Needs Before You Seek Talent

Finally, when you're in the process of hiring top talent, look at your company. Top talent doesn't want to work in old, stale, and tired business environments. Top players want to work for leading teams, even if they happen to be small businesses. Is your team innovating, or is it relying on dated business principles?


What matters is not the age of your employees—but the age of your ideas.

If you want hotshot champions, you have to create an environment that attracts top talent. That means everything from how your business and office function to team building activities to technology platforms and professional development benefits and worker flexibility all count.



Ben Stroup is Chief Growth Architect and President at Velocity Strategy Solutions where he helps leaders design, develop, and deploy smarter business growth strategies. Ben is a futurist, disruptor, and data champion. He leads a team that takes a structured learning approach to business challenges, which allows them to assist leaders in bridging the gap between ideas, innovation, and revenue—taking ideas from mind to market.

Velocity Strategy Solutions is an on-demand, next-generation business strategy and management consulting firm which provides clients with a relentless focus on data, execution, and results that positively impact the bottom line. Velocity delivers integrated people and revenue strategies combined with a disciplined approach to growth architecture that elevates the capacity of leaders, teams, and organizations to succeed and win more.

Topics:   Leadership