February 28, 2018

Talent attraction: quality vs cost?

Written by: Bernardo EntschevGlobal VP AIMS International, EVP Americas and Global Head of Life Sciences

More often than not, my clients emphasize their need to hire “blue chip talent” with the “lowest budget” possible. So, you want to bring “superman” to roll out your company’s bold goals but the salary package and the recruitment budget approved can barely attract a regular manager?

Ok, so we don’t have unlimited budgets. Also, we have to take care of internal salary  homeostasis and we cannot always offer top dollars for every position but, there is no free lunch…. If you hire a cheap recruiter, if you have a non-effective communication and employer branding process and on top of that your salary package is not attractive; how can you expect to bring on board the best of the best? Unfortunately it may result in the hiring of numerous lower-performing executives.

Over time we can observe that a consistent cost-cutting recruitment strategy reduces your business effectiveness and might have negative business impacts, especially over the longer term.

So “put your money where your mouth is” and spend dollars at least on the critical and major topics and for sure you will able to bring in some “supermen”.

Here are the critical topics you should concentrate your investments on when recruiting leaders:

  1. The business impact of a great hire is much greater than those of an average hire. An innovator or a top performance hire can add value over many years to an organization. Plus, a bad hire might cost the company serious money. Try to offer a competitive salary & benefits package to attract top talent!
  2. Focus on high impact positions. If you can’t afford a higher budget for all leadership positions, aim the ones that have the higher impact for the business. Don’t be cheap on those ones.
  3. The quality of your recruiters is key. If you hire cheaper and less experienced recruiters you will end up having a slow process and often not the best qualified and aligned candidates. Also be a true partner to your recruiter/ headhunter, you should work together as a team.
  4. Employer Branding. Are you displaying detailed info about your company to the best candidates? This is not always a matter of money but adequate information sharing by all stakeholders that touch the position: the hiring manager, the recruiter/ headhunter, the HR manager, etc. Candidates need to “feel” the company culture, the energy, be aware of the goals and so on.
  5. Admin support/ Candidate expenses. If you are cheap in offering refund of the travel costs or support on relocation costs and similar expenditures you might give the candidate the wrong message about the company. If they are that cheap now they will also be in the future….
  6. Candidate Assessment. After a perfect recruiting process you should also be certain about the right candidate. Assessment tools, competence based interviews; reference checks should not be skipped.
  7. Candidates’ overall experience through the recruiting process. This is related to items 3 to 6 listed above. The best candidates unfortunately also judge your company based on what they experienced through the recruiting process.
  8. On boarding process. A new leader, even the very mature ones, will adapt and learn faster if they have a strong on boarding process where they can absorb the culture and understand the way the company works. They will perform faster on top level.

We know every company has to control its costs but apply strict cost-cutting strategies focusing on transactional aspects of recruiting might be a huge distraction from the real hiring purpose. If you really believe that outstanding leaders are what make your company’s success then it is insane to cut cost on the hiring process. The lesson to be learned is to not just open your wallet for everything but spend your money where it really matters. I am sure that, in doing so, you will increase your business effectiveness.

Bernardo Entschev

Global VP AIMS International, EVP Americas and Global Head of Life Sciences

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