People who have the requisite talent level to be a “top” or “senior-level” hire seem to be rare in general, given that there’s a huge market for recruiting organizations whose only job is to refer promising senior-level hires to companies who will pay a five-or-six-figure bounty if they actually manage to hire someone at that level.
How many people connected to effective altruism are at this level, AND are not involved with some other key EA project, AND do not already have a job that generates enough money that they’d be very unlikely to take a low-salary job at a small EA organization? (Even if you care a lot about impact, it’s probably tempting to make $150,000 and donate $50,000 for “someone else” to make that impact, rather than to take the $50,000 job yourself.)
It seems like we’re talking around one aspect of the problem: What, exactly, defines a “top hire”? What are the differences between that person and the average enthusiastic recent college graduate? How many of those differences can be remedied with an internship and some skills training, and how many are inherent features of the way someone “turned out” after their first twentysomething years of being alive? What fraction of the EA population—among people who are willing to go in for unpaid training and don’t already have great jobs/positions—might actually be able to become “top hires” with a reasonable amount of training?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that, Joey. Having run a few small organizations myself, I’ve worked with people who were reliable vs. unreliable, or who had good vs. bad instincts, and I know what my own criteria look like, but I don’t have a good sense for how many people actually fit those criteria, since I’ve done very little direct “hiring” (these were student orgs, so anyone who wanted to join was welcome).