Creating Your All-Star Team

The recent start of the NFL season got me thinking about what an inexact science recruiting is. So much time, money and brainpower is put into scouting out the players, yet there are so many variables and unknowns that top picks can turn out to be complete busts (try mentioning the name Ryan Leaf to a Charger fan) and late-round selections or undrafted free agents can emerge as stars (Tony Romo, anyone?).

It’s not much different in the security industry; of course, with much more modest compensation packages. As an owner or manager, you may hire someone who comes to you with an impressive track record but, due to a multitude of possible reasons, falls short of expectations. By the same token, you may take a flyer on a questionable or unproven individual who thrives in your operation.

You just never truly know, and sometimes the best choice is more about the person than their job experience. For example, getting back to pro football, sometimes teams will simply look to sign the best available athlete as opposed to only pursuing guys who have previously played a specific position — perhaps shortchanging themselves in doing so. The fact is this can be the most sensible approach as it allows for molding the candidate in a way to precisely meet your needs.

After years of being involved in the hiring (and firing) process, I have discovered the No. 1 most important attribute is a positive attitude — followed by intelligence, honesty and reliability. By “positive,” I mean having an enthusiastic, can-do mentality. By “intelligence,” I don’t necessarily mean book smart, but rather being able to think on one’s feet and exercising sound judgment. I think the latter two qualities speak for themselves.

Give me someone who possesses those traits along with a genuine interest in or aptitude for the tasks at hand, and I will take him/her any day of the week over a person — regardless of their actual work experience or how “qualified” they appear to be — who is lacking in one or more of those areas. I say this within reason in that I would not ignore required credentialing, licensing, etc.

However, sometimes even against our best instincts, perhaps swayed by sentiment from others who endorse going with the more “proven” option or maybe your own reluctance knowing you might have to spend more time training the rawer talent (or many other possible reasons), we make what is perceived or rationalized as the “safer” or easier decision.

Unfortunately, all too often we later discover what appeared to be more painless and turnkey in the short term ends up costing us time and money — having to part ways with an employee who likely commanded a higher wage than the alternative, and then going through the entire hiring enterprise all over again.

On the other hand, sometimes you don’t even need to go through that whole rigmarole in the first place. That’s because the best choice to fill a personnel need may already be toiling within your ranks. This may escape you or a supervisor because he/she might presently be working in another department or serving a different job function. Then again, the potential candidate’s ability or talent may in fact be apparent to a supervisor who suppresses it because he/she has been taking the credit or feels threatened.

Obviously, that is not a healthy situation for the business or associate. However, particularly in the present down economy-induced employer marketplace, it is not an uncommon scenario as insecure supervisors fear for their livelihoods. The last thing they may want to do is endorse some hotshot who could take on their role or leapfrog over them, and do so at less cost to the company.

These are the subtle undercurrents it behooves owners, executives and general managers to be dialed in to. Not only does it make the most of a business’ existing talent by uncovering diamonds in the rough but it also keeps employees engaged and motivated. It can also help keep them from defecting to a competitor that recognizes their true value, or from launching their own competing business.

Successful companies are built with quality people in environments where they can grow. Keep that in mind as you develop the stars on your roster.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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