Bringing in top talent is a skill in itself

Peter Freriks

When you ask successful managers what the secret behind their success was, invariably the answer is that they were able to gather “the right people on the bus” (Collins, 2001). The idea of Career Openers is not so much that these managers were strong selectors, but rather that they spent a great deal of time in their interview to bring in top talent and not just complete a questionnaire. The focus on recruiting top talent in an interview, rather than selecting them, is new. We wrote a book about it: Successfully Bringing in Top Talent (Dietz, Beelen 2018). More and more managers understand that they need to pay attention to this topic, but they are not sure how to do it. Little or nothing is known about this. We’ll lift a corner of the veil in this (and subsequent) blogs. Good, because bringing in the absolute best is becoming one of the most important management competencies. How will you develop that top talent mindset?

Right now

Talent is scarce. The current Dutch labor market remains very tense. At the same time, talent is gaining an increasingly prominent role in the strategy of organizations. They want and need to move quickly and agile with the changes in their markets. For this, top talent is a necessity. Simply put: managers are becoming increasingly dependent on talent to achieve their goals. This makes the battle for talent fiercer than it has been in years. The battle for top talent is only going to get bigger in the coming years.

We can’t interview (but soon we won’t have to!)

It is important to note that the role of the traditional interview will change. The emphasis now is mainly on selection: it is a matter of establishing whether the candidate in question fits the required experience for the vacancy and has the relevant competencies. The question is whether this is wise: scientists agree that there are all kinds of important limitations to face-to-face job interviews for selecting candidates. To put it simply: we’re not very good at it and we make a lot of mistakes. In itself sufficient reason to see if there is another way. And it can be done differently: we are on the eve of revolutionary technological developments in the field of selection. We won’t go into this subject here, but these developments will enable us to select candidates more reliably and with fewer human errors in the future.

So what you need to learn now: bring in talent

The role of the face-to-face job interview as a selection tool will increasingly give way to more innovative forms, for example based on big data, HR analytics and advanced algorithms (see for example: As technology increasingly takes over the selection process, bringing in top talent will become crucial for organizations: this is what managers must focus on in their interviews. Developing the necessary top talent mindset is therefore relevant for every manager. The focus on bringing in top talent in an interview, rather than on selecting them, is new.

Top talent thinks differently, so you need to do different things

To get the most attractive candidates on the job market to join your team, you don’t need to do more of the same, but as a manager you really need to do things differently, especially in the face-to-face interview you have with them. As mentioned, this requires a top talent mindset: your paradigm must change. How do you do this and what knowledge and skills do you need for this? This is what we are going to focus on in subsequent blogs.


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