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Countdown to Compference: Feed Your Talent

There’s one thing I didn’t get to incorporate into my presentation at #Compference16. Try as I might, I couldn’t get it to fit it into the rest of my discussion about the importance of talent markets. I know that talent markets are the magic; they are the true starting points for good data. I’m super passionate about them, almost to the point of obsession. I’ve been helping people hit on the right talent markets since my days in recruiting where I tried to get candidates and employers on the same page about what the competitive landscape truly looks like. Anyway, I’ll be covering most of that at #Compference16. What I want to share with you today is this: your talent is hungry and they’re ready to eat.

I have this vivid image of your talent. They’re walking down a street that is overflowing with restaurants, stomachs grumbling, and they’re menu-shopping. They’re trying to decide what cuisine they want to eat. They’re looking at specific items on the menu to see what sounds right. They’re getting information about where the ingredients come from: farm-to-table? Locally-sourced? Frozen from a box store?

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Your talent is price-comparing to determine where they’ll find the most value. Hint: the most value isn’t necessarily the cheapest meal, but the best meal at a reasonable price. I know when I go menu-shopping, I’m pretty wary of the meal that looks the same as across the street, but is half the price.

By now you’re thinking “that’s nice Rita, but what’s this have to do with my talent market.” I think of defining a talent market as coming up with just the right mix of ingredients to put together the most delicious meal at the right value.

  • From which industries should I make my selection? Onions? Garlic? Or maybe even shallots? Do we compete for our talent in software development, customer service, or finance?
  • What organizational sizes should I consider? 6-lb personal watermelon, 15-lb watermelon, or the 25-lb one that feeds an extended family? They each have different flavors, advantages, and price points. Do we compete for our talent in organizations that are our size, larger, or smaller?
  • With which locations should I compare my ingredients? Limes from Mexico, Florida, or my backyard tree? When I suddenly can’t buy limes from Mexico, what happens to the price of limes from Florida? In 2014, I think we all learned that a gin and tonic just isn’t the same with lemons, but what do you do about the rising costs of limes? Do we compete for talent in our own back yard, nationally, or from some hotbed of talent like Silicon Valley? And if we can’t afford to pay for Silicon Valley “limes,” are we going to use “lemons”?

When you go to write your menu for your front window, make sure you start with the best ingredients. With the best ingredients you’ll make the best meals. Your talent will post pictures of your food on Facebook and Instagram, and suddenly you’ll be an overnight success! Your talent is hungry, and after writing this article, so am I. I’m off to lunch. I hope to see you at #Compference16!

Rita Patterson
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