Talent is defined as a person you may be considering hiring at some undefined time period because that person can bring value to your company.
The value that talent can bring can be anticipated in a few ways. The anticipation can be a judgement based on past direct experience, recommendations from multiple people that have direct experience, or a judgement from their broad reputation. There is never 100% certainty though because the new working environment is different from the older one, but more data points on that talent's behavior in previous working environments increase accurate judgement.
It surely is an easier decision if there were direct tasks in the company, but what if there are no direct tasks for talent to work on? Should you hire? I think there are two arguments that I regularly hear:
The best talent figure things out: Talent can go into a company and find ways to add value. That value is unanticipated because the ways in which talent can contribute is unanticipated, but the underlying assumption is that talent is smart enough to figure out where to add maximum value.
There does need to be downside protection, however, to make sure that talent is smart enough to figure things out. Sometimes it's also not a question about smart/intelligence, but a question about whether a company can fully utilize a talent's full capacity of skills. That downside protection can be structured as a time or grace period.
The best talent are never in the open market: Talent is scarce, so grab talent while you can because they may never be available again or you get to the point where you don't need that particular talent.
I find this argument to be perplexing. It's true that talent oftentimes is not in the open market, but to attract talent simply to a) prevent others from grabbing them or b) fear that you will never find someone like that talent again is a bit short-sighted.
I think the way to orient this way of thinking is whether talent believes in the same long-term vision as the company. If they do, then I think it's a prudent alignment of interests, if not, then it's a reactionary tactic.
Now how about hiring? What's the right way to think about this? I'll address this in tomorrow's post.