Talent Scouts-as-a-Service?

I spend a lot of time thinking about the Hiring space, specifically as it relates to the problems & challenges faced by smaller employers.

One of my favorite “Thinking Time” questions is

“What are the gaps between my customers’ needs and the products & services that are available?”

(for more on Thinking Time, see the must-read book The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham)

Here are some of the key problems I observe in companies that are beyond that “scrappy bootstrapped” phase but without multiple consecutive years of impressive, steady growth.

  1. Sourcing good candidates is a huge issue, if not THE primary roadblock
  2. CoFounders, Executives, Hiring Managers are still primarily in DOING mode vs LEADING mode
  3. Recruiters, whether FT On-Staff or Contracted by a service, spend a lot of their time operating & coordinating. Sometimes your “Recruiter” is an HR Generalist-type, who doesn’t have that recruiting background
  4. These companies by-and-large balk at Agency Recruiter Fees
  5. Almost every single one of these companies spends their time reacting to sudden hiring needs and open roles… which introduces additional chaos and churn… which extends time-to-hire among other things

Here are Early stages of an idea to fill these gaps. I’m not implementing this idea, mind you, simply brainstorming.

In sports (and other industries), organizations have talent scouts whose primary responsibility is to identify, evaluate and start building relationships with players the team may be interested in, whether now OR in the short-to-medium term future. The relationships they build keep the players as “warm leads” so the team can stay prepared and doesn’t get caught with its pants down needing to fill a particular position all of a sudden.

(It’s also worth noting that many large corporations dedicate full-time employees to the purpose of scouting.)

What I’m picturing is this provided as a subscription service targeted at smaller, time- and resource-constrained organizations.

The “Talent Scout” spends a little time with company leadership on a recurring basis to identify positions and skillsets they may need in the near future. They then connect the talent they meet with the company, but on a casual, low-pressure basis (this is the other problem for in-demand talent: Recruiters & Headhunters *can* be pushy & relentless, a huge turnoff). The Talent gets to know the Company, and if turnover or growth leads to an open spot, it could be filled rather quickly by someone on this bench.

For argument’s sake, let’s say Monthly Cost to the Employer is around $5–10k (could tier it based on number & type of positions or something), lower than almost any 15–25% Recruiter Fees on a single hire. Risk to the Employer is paying for months when they have zero need for hiring (which, given high average turnover rates, seems fairly low risk)

Benefits include the ability to better anticipate future staffing needs, reducing reactive behavior, shortening time-to-hire, less time & energy spent sourcing (and most likely for less $$ than an Agency).

Admittedly, there are bound to be a hundred holes in this idea, as I haven’t vetted it beyond the concept stage. I also haven’t researched a ton of comps, so maybe it’s the least original idea ever.

But for those of you in small-to-medium businesses, especially those on a Hiring Team, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Drop me a comment and let me know: Does any of this sound like it would be valuable, time-saving, effort-saving in your organization?

Watch the Live Stream of “Engineering Excellence: Best Practices of High-Performing Teams”

This week October 1st-5th is the 2018 Austin Startup Week, featuring loads of great events, content, and connections within the Austin Startup community.

On Tuesday afternoon, Shaun had the opportunity to present on a topic he’s highly passionate about: how to become a high-performing team. The host, Capital Factory, streamed the entire Developer track for the day, so you can checkout Shaun’s talk through this link, or just click Play above!