Generally, the word shrewd has a negative connotation to it. A ‘shrewd’ person is assumed to be a cunning trickster who will resort to any means to get his work done. Of course, no company wants to risk hiring an employee with questionable (or no) ethics.
But in today’s youth-centric work environment, it is necessary to re-visit the meaning of the term ‘shrewd’. A shrewd person can be (and in this case is) described as an individual who is exceptionally smart and has an impeccable business acumen. For personification purposes you can assume him to be more like Harvey Specter than like Gordon Gekko.
1. Generate Value
The first and most basic step that you can take to attract shrewd and smart employees is to generate value around your company. By this it is meant, that you need to make your company a magnet that attracts people. Divyesh Panchal, Co-founder of Just Unjunk!, reiterates this idea when he says, “However small, build your company’s reputation and value system that fosters growth and innovation right from the inception. C reate unique profiles and designations which make employees feel (that) they are being offered a unique role that requires exclusive skill sets. (All in all), the best approach to meeting the challenge of attracting shrewd employees is by creating value around your company.”
2. An Entrepreneur Attracts an Entrepreneur!
Another way to look at the concept of hiring the right employee is to look into certain basic life truths. At the risk of sounding philosophical, it is a fact that like-minded people attract each other. Therefore, if you project a certain kind of belief system and work ethic, people with similar values will want to work with you. Kiran Jaisinghani, Co-founder of Myoho, says, “An entrepreneur should ideally hire entrepreneurs. That would be a match made in heaven, but this paradox is not possible. Which is why, we look for people who come closest to combining the skills of a valued employee and a business owner. If one has the discipline and routine of a good employee as well as the eye for opportunity and 'can happen-will do' spirit of an entrepreneur, that profile is the right hire.”
3. Work Profile + Right Resources
If you want to attract the best employee for the job, you have to provide him with the best possible profile and work environment. If your company has all the resources to get the job done but you don’t give the employee the freedom and power to carry out his duties then your work relationship is not going to work. Conversely, if you give your employee all the power and freedom he needs but not the resources to support it then the work is bound to not get done. Therefore, to attract that perfect employee, create the best blend of the work eco-system and the job profile.
4. Monetary Incentives
This one is a rather obvious tip. It is understood that most start-ups and entrepreneurs don’t have deep-pockets and for this reason they cannot afford to pay for the right, high-calibre employees. But, once in a while, it would be wise and advisable to pay the big bucks if the employee is worth it.
5. Be Shrewd!
To hire shrewd people, you have got to be shrewd too! Every entrepreneur needs to develop that knack in him which is necessary to not only successfully run his business, but also to attract, hire and retain the right employees. This means he has to be able to ‘read’ employee intentions and judge the truthfulness of the promises they make. Daniel Fernandes, Co-Founder and Head, Comedy @ Beyond Entertainment says, “It's hard to spot the shrewd ones right away. Not all of them are obvious and the measure of the trait also varies. The first step is to have the interview in an informal setting far away from your office, get them comfortable enough to open up and if you are good at reading people you will observe the signs.”
Now that you are armed with these tips, hiring the right kind of shrewd employee should be a smooth task.