One of the nation''s biggest music labels briefly signed
Taylor Swift to a contract but let her go because she didn''t seem
worth more than $15,000 a year. At least four book publishers
passed on the first Harry Potter novel rather than pay J. K.
Rowling a $5,000 advance. And the same pattern happens in nearly
Anyone who recruits talent faces the same basic challenge,
whether we work for a big company, a new start-up, a Hollywood
studio, a hospital, or the Green Berets. We all wonder how to tell
the really outstanding prospects from the ones who look great on
paper but then fail on the job. Or, equally important, how to spot
the ones who don''t look so good on paper but might still deliver
Over the past few decades, technology has made recruiting in all
fields vastly more sophisticated. Gut instincts have yielded to
benchmarks. If we want elaborate dossiers on candidates, we can
gather facts (and video) by the gigabyte. And yet the results are
just as spotty as they were in the age of the rotary phone.
George Anders sought out the world''s savviest talent judges to
see what they do differently from the rest of us. He reveals how
the U.S. Army finds soldiers with the character to be in Special
Forces without asking them to fire a single bullet. He takes us to
an elite basketball tournament in South Carolina, where the best
scouts watch the game in a radically different way from the casual
fan. He talks to researchers who are reinventing the process of
hiring Fortune 500 CEOs.
Drawing on the best advice of these and other talent masters,
Anders reveals powerful ideas you can apply to your own hiring. For
- Don''t ignore "the jagged résumé"-people whose
background appears to teeter on the edge between success and
failure. Such people can do spectacular work in the right settings,
where their strengths dramatically outweigh their flaws.
- Look extra hard for "talent that whispers"- the
obscure, out-of-the- way candidates who most scouting systems
- Be careful with "talent that shouts"-the spectacular
but brash candidates who might have trouble with loyalty,
motivation, and team spirit.
Each field that Anders explores has its own lingo,
customs, and history. But the specific stories fit together into a
bigger mosaic. In any field, there''s an art to clearing away the
clutter and focusing on what matters most. It''s not necessarily
hard, but it requires the courage to take a different approach in
pursuit of the rare find.