By Brian Cristiano, founder of BOLD Worldwide.
One of your most important roles as a new leader will be recruiting the right employees . These folks will not only partake in daily tasks to help your team run smoothly, they will also act as the face of your organization, which is why it’s important to take time to find and employ the “right” employees. They should be eager to help deploy the company’s vision, grow the company base, and believe in what your team is doing. The right employees can make any business go far.
Ask the hard questions first
There are plenty of important questions to ask yourself before you build your dream team.
- What is your company working toward?
- What is your plan?
- What are the short-term and long-term goals?
- How will the new hires help you reach those goals?
Don’t even bother drafting a job description until you’ve answered those questions. You can’t expect someone else to master your company’s mission until you’ve done so yourself.
What’s better: Generalist or specialists?
As you look to expand your team, should you hire generalists or specialists? It depends on your goals. Generalists are people who have particular skills, but are flexible enough to continue learning. These jacks-of-all-trades are able to switch gears quickly and easily, for example moving from pitching potential customers and meeting with clients to updating presentation materials. Hiring generalists allows your team or organization to remain flexible in a changing environment, covering more bases with fewer employees.
As the team or organization grows, you then have the ability to transition from broad to deep by hiring specialists, which are experts in a specific field or skillset. Specialists can take an organization, specifically a growing one, to the next level by building out strategically critical areas and further developing competitive advantages. Another option is to hire freelance or contract specialists as needed, for short-term projects or launches, to support a team of generalists.
Simply put, generalists know less about more and specialists know more about less. Of course there are benefits and trade-offs to both. A generalist can effectively handle many tasks, but is likely not considered an expert of any specific one. Specialists, on the other hand, know the ins and outs of their specialty, but might not be comfortable or willing to expand their horizons and develop other skills.
A combination of both is usually ideal
Your specific needs are going to vary based on your organization, but as the founder of two multi-million dollar companies, I’ve found the balance of expertise and flexibility that works for me. My ideal employee is a combination of the two: 75% specialist and 25% generalist, or what some would call a “generalizing specialist.” This employee is hired for a particular function, but is also capable of handling a broader range of duties and is eager to learn more.
Unfortunately, generalizing specialists and specialized generalists are few and far between. The key is finding candidates with the potential to grow into those roles and training them based on your business’ needs. For example, hiring generalists and nurturing them to become specialists.
Brian Cristiano built his career by doing what many business leaders shy away from: speaking his mind. An expert on all things digital/social, Brian founded BOLD Worldwide to give brands what they really need, without the industry BS. On his podcast, The Sports Marketing Huddle, he addresses industry headlines, unapologetically breaks down marketing trends, and offers listeners actionable business takeaways.