Are High Achievers Really the Way to Go?

Are High Achievers Really the Way to Go?

A generalization of the recruitment process when attracting the top talent might lead us to assume that we are simply targeting those students or graduates who attended the best educational institutes. The nature of hiring to build a successful team is becoming the highlight of a broader discussion, particularly when placing the spotlight on high achievers,their academic results or their personalities.

The battle of top performers vs top institutes

Recruiters have just as many important decisions to make when hiring new staff members as the employers do for the marketing of their employer brand. Both elements must be steering towards the same direction in terms of importance and relevance to a company’s goal. It is no secret that organizations still want to hire students who achieved the highest grades at the best universities. Why wouldn’t you? Nevertheless, it is important not to disregard similar candidates with similar grades who have attended less prestigious academic institutes.

It all boils down to reassurance. Companies want to have faith in the fact that each individual who becomes a new member of staff, will produce successful results at a high caliber. Therefore, it would be a reliable decision to trust the academic facts and qualities of the high achievers. The discussion of this particular topic broadens when taking into consideration the strategies of the top global companies and the portfolios of their workforce.

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Case studies

If you thought one of the top real estate law firms in New York would look to recruit their next talented graduate directly from esteemed schools such as Harvard, Yale or Columbia, then think again. The graduates that Adam Leitman Bailey (ALB) Law Firm’s seek, still come from the top sets in the classrooms, but at the second to fourth tier law schools. Why? Because it is their opinion that these students show more hunger and ambition to succeed in the industry. It may be a theory that those who make it to the more recognized establishments have a more assured mindset to assume that they will walk into a top law firm after gradation, but in reality, an average student at one of these universities will find a guaranteed job a little harder to come by. The intern program at ALB is a great way of discovering those potential employees with the grit and desire that the firm prides itself on.

The conclusion of this determination is rewarding for both intern and employer by bringing home the best possible results; a full-time job and a continued positive reputation. With another throw of the dice, we come to global giant’s Google, who seem to have no interest in an applicant’s grades as well as the schools they got them from. Google appears to have a consistency in the highest rankings when it comes to being the best place to work, and there is a feeling around the headquarters that the company has learned from its mistakes in the early days of hiring. Back then, there was a great deal of emphasis placed on recruiting graduates from the Ivy League schools. But what Google cares about now are those individuals with the characteristics of leadership and problem solving skills as well as diversification in their ideas. Google’s attitude reflects the notion that approaching the job role by the book will not keep the company one step ahead of the competition.

One of the best entrepreneurs of this generation also had his say on the hiring process. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc. has paved the way for future companies to attract the best of the best, and manage them correctly. Hierarchy was not an issue for Jobs as he personally went out of his way to hire the team that would surround him and catapult his company towards a global takeover. The expectations of the workforce played a big role for Jobs, who considered the hiring process to be the most important job as it lead to improvement, engagement and retainment of top talent. There was a lot of emphasis, placed by Jobs, to continuously recruit the high achievers as the team expanded. He pointed out that an individual looking to hire a partner should then take just as much time and effort to find the fourth or fifth employee. These ideals bring us back to the strategy of valuing the employee and making every effort to make their experience worthwhile and long-term.

What are higher achievers looking for?

The latest report from Universum, Attracting High Achievers: Are they really that different?, takes an in-depth look into career ambitions and future expectations of students and recent graduates from the top 200 universities around the world. When taking into account the differences between the high achieving individuals compared to the others, we notice that high achievers place particular importance on their supportive leaders as well as the need to communicate with experienced figures of authority within the company. This speaks volumes about their desire for career development and progress from experienced leaders. Also, we notice that the high achievers seek a variation to their work assignments and want a prestigious environment to be challenged in. Since these individuals have been or continue to study in the best academic surroundings, they do not expect this to change when making the transition into their careers.

The research shows that it is industries such as management and strategy consulting, banking and financial services and auditing and accounting that the high achievers are looking to influence with their qualities. The link that connects these industries is the generous financial packages alongside the challenges that come with an intense work environment. This being said, the boxes have been provided for the high achievers to tick off. If your company does not fall within these territories, the challenge is to be more creative in communicating attractive packages with a particular focus on mentorship and professional leadership development.

FTIS Attracting High Achievers Report

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