“The Rare Find” is a Must Read for Hiring Managers

If you want to lock in a long-term competitive advantage for your organization, be among the first to read and apply the lessons of George Anders new book “The Rare Find:  Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else.”

Drawing on vivid examples from the U.S. Army Special Forces, Teach for America, Facebook, Hollywood, and professional sports, he shows how you can see what everyone else is missing in their hiring.

This is no vanity book. He’s not pitching his hiring system, or trying to sell you consulting services. Even better, he is not advocating that you “just do your hiring like we did at GE in the 1980′s.”

No, this book is the real deal.  Space does not permit me to cover all my favorite quotes, but here are a few:

“American social norms call for job candidates to tell a story of uninterrupted success. Previous experiences are burnished until they all sound like triumphs. Traditional resumes are set up so that resilience becomes invisible. That’s a horribly unfortunate distortion. At some point fate slams all of us to the ground. What happens next determines who we become. Some people are so bitter or dispirited they never fully recover. Others do whatever it takes to bounce back. The more you can learn about how people handle adversity, the more astutely you can judge them.”

or:

“…we’re in the midst of an enormous economic and technological upheaval that is redefining what it means to be enduringly successful. Long track records my be irrelevant or impossible to find in fields that are taking shape so fast the everyone is a newcomer. Competence is not enough anymore. The difference between growth and stagnation comes down to finding people with bold, fresh approaches, who can create opportunities that no one else saw before. That’s true not just in Silicon Valley, Hollywood or Wall Street; it’s the new norm in almost every field.”

From how to define what kind of person you are looking for, to how you should interview candidates, this book covers the landscape of talent spotting. I found no evidence of vague, sloppy platitudes or lazy thinking. For example:

“Take something as universal … as ‘work ethic.’ That’s a cherished value at almost any top tier organization (but) everyone’s definition of ‘work ethic’ calls for slightly different virtues. Some jobs call for people who can summon up extraordinary stamina and ingenuity in a crisis. Others require orderly souls who are totally comfortable with the tireless preparation for a challenge that may be months or years away. The work ethics of a great doctor and a great football player are not the same. Solving the talent puzzle means looking for exactly the right ethos that’s vital for a particular job–rather than trying to match candidates to a along list of universal virtues that might or might not be especially relevant.”

5 Responses to “The Rare Find” is a Must Read for Hiring Managers

  1. As someone who appreciates those who do things a bit differently, this sounds like an appealing read. Thanks for sharing.

  2. [...] The Staffing Advisor blog gives a glowing review of “The Rare Find” by George Anders.  The point – Hiring is different now and if you want to succeed you must think creatively about how you build your team.  Anders is obviously part of the Secret School tribe.  Look at this quote and tell me…does this message sound familiar?  It’s happening… “…we’re in the midst of an enormous economic and technological upheaval that is redefining what it means to be enduringly successful. Long track records my be irrelevant or impossible to find in fields that are taking shape so fast the everyone is a newcomer. Competence is not enough anymore. The difference between growth and stagnation comes down to finding people with bold, fresh approaches, who can create opportunities that no one else saw before. That’s true not just in Silicon Valley, Hollywood or Wall Street; it’s the new norm in almost every field.” Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin Share on Posterous Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Tell a friend [...]

  3. [...] and methodically track the results over time. A good example is  George Anders book, “The Rare Find.” Research this good is indeed a rare find. Read it, learn from it, wrestle with [...]

  4. [...] I’m endlessly curious about how economic forces are reshaping our business environment. Fascinated by what makes change initiatives succeed or fail. Eager to learn what makes people engage and do good work. Over on The HR Examiner, I briefly summarized four books that have really changed my thinking about these topics. Although I’ve mentioned it before, no reading list is complete without including The Rare Find. [...]

  5. leereed says:

    Looks like a great read! In another posting you talked about how well researched this book is and that is always a winner for me. My wife teaches in the healthcare field where there is a new trend towards “evidence based medicine.” I can only wish that the process of recruiting and hiring was just as rigorous and “evidence based.” If you find any more books like this one, please let me know.

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