A leading company in its market asked us to recruit a highly sought-after expert for a position. The specifications were demanding, and despite having a pool of several hundred profiles, few candidates met all the criteria. During the search, we presented several good candidates who were ultimately not chosen by the client because at least one criterion was not met. Whether it was the salary, experience, a particular skill, or the number of telecommuting days, to name a few. Our proposals to adapt the specifications to broaden the options were rejected. We lost 3 interesting candidates who chose to accept another offer. It took 6 months to make a hire.
At the same time, we were recruiting a finance manager for an SME. After a few weeks of searching and with the first shortlisted candidates, the CEO offered to widen the search to different profiles, even though we still had candidates to present to him.
These two opposite ways of considering flexibility in a search brought me back to when I worked in procurement: establishing specifications before a call for tenders was a critical step, comparable to drafting a job description before hiring. When working on defining the need with the client, the buyer challenges the initial request, focuses on describing the function of the product rather than its technical plan, prioritizes criteria, identifies tolerances, imagines creative options, questions the real interests of the requester behind their positions, etc. If the buyer and the client show, in addition to their expertise, openness, creativity, and adaptability, their specifications will be a real lever for the procurement process.
The same goes for recruitment! Let’s talk about skills, not just diplomas, let’s make sure we understand the company’s context, values, and management style, let’s agree on what is essential and what is a plus in the desired profile, identify the challenges and difficulties the new recruit will face, and agree on possible variations to create options.
Transparency, thoroughness, demand, but also flexibility!
At AIMS International, our DNA is operational and experiential. Understanding and challenging our clients’ requests to ensure an effective recruitment process is part of our DNA.
What profile was our inflexible client looking for? A buyer.