"Do You Know How Hard It Is to Recruit?"

Whenever I am asked what I do for a profession and I respond that I am a consultant who helps corporate organisations improve and implement recruitment functions, I generally get the following questions in return:

“Do you know how hard it is to recruit hospitality staff / doctors- general practitioners / accountants / engineers /experienced lawyers?” .

Recently on a plane, I sat next to a CEO and he made the same comment about financial planners. Out of curiosity I asked my plane buddy “Can you tell me how you go about your recruitment process?”. The answer was:
“When we have a vacancy we advertise on a job board.  Typically the advertisement response is average so we then ask 2-3 Recruitment Agencies to submit candidates.  This again does not provide us with quality candidates so we use a Search Consultant which gives us a better outcome.”
My next question to the CEO was to ask him how many times a year he recruits.  The answer was “about 7-8 times per year, we employ approximately 30 Financial Planners per annum”.  I laughed and asked him what he had learnt from this exercise?  He replied “Financial Planners are hard to recruit!”

I then asked him three questions:

  1. What was the cost of not filling the position?
  2. What the implication was of recruiting B and C players in desperation?
  3. Did his company’s brand rely on the quality of staff that served his customers?

I am sure you can picture the answer to these questions.  I asked if he would consider using a Search Consultant on a perpetual basis to continually search and submit Financial Planning candidates on a yearly retainer, and then pay a smaller recruitment fee on placement.  I also suggested to that him and his executive team meet and form relationships with these candidates, focusing on marketing the company’s value proposition.  Mr CEO then asked me to submit a proposal to help him and his organisation set this up.
The key lesson is that reactive recruitment cannot be always relied upon in the current skill short market.  Using a proactive approach for both scarce and critical skills will provide you with a richer pool of candidates, and a more reliable result. Oh, and that you never know where you’ll find your next deal. Can’t wait for my next flight.

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