Why should we hire you when we can outsource or crowdsource it?

Yes, I know, it is a loaded question, but every opportunity I get to run this experiment on my digital marketing students I do it; and to add a little motivation for them to participate, I add: “… and whomever gives me the right answer, I will make sure they get the job.”

Usually many eager hands go up for a chance to answer the question, so I pick a few students and listen to their answers, but so far to this day, all have missed the point.  But everyone deserve a second chance and invite them to think about it a little more and write me an email with the answer.

Imagine you are at a job interview — I tell the class — and the interview has gone great, they like you, you like them and then, as you are just about the head out, someone knocks at the door and a head pops in through the corner of the door frame.  The head belongs to the  the boss of-the-boss of the people interviewing you.  She apologizes for the interruption and ask you if she can ask you one last question before you leave.  You nod your head in approval and she walks into the room and asks the question — “So why should we hire you and not just outsource/freelance it?”

Although the scenario above is unlikely to happen to you in an interview, I can assure you it is happening, and it is happening every day in all companies.  The main reason for this is because employee costs have a direct and significant impact the to the bottom line. But the interesting part is; if the current trend towards an open talent economy holds, things will flip upside-down and the same question might sound something like “So why should we freelance/crowdsource it and not just hire you?”

According to my friends at Deloitte, in their Human Capital Trends 2013 leading indicators publication, by 2020 half the people you rely on will not actually work for you.  So allow me to be the first one to welcome to the open talent economy — “a collaborative, transparent, technology-driven, rapid-cycle way of doing business. What the open source model did for software, the open talent economy is doing for work.”

So getting back to what is the right answer, as you might already suspect, it depends.  Not all the jobs can be outsourced for a myriad of reasons.  To name a few, security, intellectual property, technology trade barriers, physical location dependency, etc.  But many can be freelanced/outsourced/crowdsourced and by doing so, companies and individuals will gain significant advantages in cost, flexibility and speed.

If I was at that interview, I will answer to the executive something like “If your company is ready to outsource/crowdsource/freelance then you should and I am the freelancer to do it for you.  If in the other hand, the company is not ready, I can help you innovate faster and more efficiently than anyone else.”  Then I will pause to let her process the info and then toss my favorite theatrical quote for the occasion, “Help me… help you.” — Jerry Maguire [1996].

by Juan Meza

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