Common misconceptions hiring top performing, superstar candidates.

Superstar candidates are too expensive.

To a degree, you get what you pay for. Pay peanuts, get monkeys. But, decades of recruitment experience have made it clear – whilst money is important, it is not the leading motivator for superstar candidates.

A strong employer brand, and employee value proposition (EVP) combined with using the right recruitment strategies help prevent you paying over the odds for candidates.

And if you do have to pay a premium (the same as with a premium car, smartphone, etc) you’re paying for quality. The quality pays off by not having a mis-hire derail your team, or not having to outsource.

Investing in a developing a high-performing team is the safest and most profitable investment you can make in leadership career.

Superstar candidates won’t work here.

Yes, they will. Provided you can break the mould that companies similar to yourself fall into:

  • Not relying on low quality recruitment methods that doesn’t engage superstar candidates (copy and paste job adverts, poor candidate experience, disconnected recruiters).
  • Appreciating that you cannot land a superstar candidate, onboard and manage them similarly to average performers.
  • Having a strong understanding of what it means to work for your company, with a defined employer brand and employee value proposition (“…a fun workplace that values employees, oh and we have casual Friday.” really doesn’t cut it).

I have no time to recruit superstars.

It’s a Catch-22.
“I have no time because I don’t have the right staff.”
“I don’t have the time to hire the right staff”

A common issue hiring managers face every day, hence the hiring process is just handed off to HR with minimum effort put into it.

Instead of spending your time recruiting high-calibre superstars, you instead spend that time micromanaging (or…babysitting) average performers or being ‘hands on’ to ensure targets are hit because the team cannot perform to them.

20-30% of a leaders time should be focussed on talent issues, including recruiting for and developing your team.

It sounds impossible, but the mark of a strong leader is not micromanagement and hard work, it’s a strong team, and with that work becomes much more streamlined freeing up your time.

Here’s the bad news however. Until you get to that point, you’re just going to have to simultaneously manage your current team and take a more active hand in the recruitment of your team. It’s harder in the short-term yes, but developing a high performing team is a long term vision.

Recruiting superstars is not my problem

It’s the number one area that can literally make or break a leaders’ career.

Consider a football manager whose main job is to field a winning team. Their job depends on the real-world performance of the team they play, so it’s vital that they attract, sign and hold onto the very best talent available at each position.

How successful would they be if they didn’t own their recruiting process and hiring decisions? The same is true for you as well. If you put minimum effort into the hiring process and just hand it off to HR, what results do you expect? Even if you make the final decision, be honest – you’re only picking the best you happen to be presented, with no control.

Bottom-line, if the failure to build a high-performing team hits your own career, stop playing Russian Roulette – own this vital function.

My hiring processes work.

Almost every hiring manager in the IT, Data and Development space feels like they have a natural eye for talent. If that were the case, mis-hire risks wouldn’t be crippling.

Mis-hire rates vary from 20% to almost 50%, depending on what you class as a mis-hire (lower if talking about a bad hire, higher if regarding a disappointing candidate, who whilst still has a place in your business, wouldn’t be hired again if you had the chance).

Most hiring managers believe to better the odds, they need to be more careful, more thorough – when in reality all they achieve is ‘be more slow’.

In the end after adding extra hoops delaying the process, they trust their gut instinct anyway.

But our gut instincts, at least when it comes to hiring, tend to be wrong most of the time.


Simply, in recruitment, our gut instinct is just affinity bias and confirmation bias.

Affinity bias is the tendency to like people similar to ourselves.
Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek information to confirm pre-existing assumptions.

Essentially, we make an initial assumption about a candidate (usually reacting positively if they act and talk like us), then spend the rest of our time unconsciously trying to confirm that initial assumption

We all do this at the expense of using an objective set of measures to assess candidates.

Simply put, don’t rely on your gut to make smart hiring decisions