A Candidate's Market

Romancing the Stars

Even in times of economic uncertainty, there remains a strong need for candidates who have the unique experiences, skill set and cultural fit for a given situation. As Geoffrey Colvin of Fortune magazine stated awhile back, "The scarcest, most valuable resource in business is no longer financial capital. It's talent." And while there is talent available for an employer to consider, star hires are still elusive."

Given today's atmosphere of economic instability, people are more discriminatory in considering new opportunities. Candidates are carefully conducting due diligence and assessing the risks and rewards of any potential move. "While they may be willing to dip their toe in the water to explore new opportunities and go through multiple interviews," states Stacy Lauren Musi, "getting them to sign on the dotted line has become increasingly difficult."

Executive search firms and their clients need to partner to make the interviewing process as enticing, satisfying and simple as possible for candidates. The goal should be to position the hiring company in the best light, which includes doing everything possible to expedite the interviews.

Our Six C's To Successful Hiring

Care — Candidates often say that they took a particular job because, "the company really wanted me; they wouldn't let me say no; they were excited about me." In an interview, it is not so much what you say but how you make the person feel. Great companies want candidates to leave an interview saying, "Yes!" Even if you may not hire the candidate, they are "ambassadors" who will talk about your company. You want that conversation to always be positive.

Commitment — When you have a strong candidate, marshal the process along quickly. Be ready to commit. Sought-after executives get multiple calls for new opportunities. They must be enticed to see and "feel" a great opportunity. Build enthusiasm about joining your company. If a candidate fills 8 out of 10 of your criteria – move fast.

Consideration - We are finding that executives are willing to make a hard choice if it avoids disrupting family life. Health care, education and religious options are in the forefront of many candidates' concerns. We endeavor to highlight these concerns early in the process.

Collaboration — Do what you can to ease the transition, particularly with relocations. Some clients allow new hires to commute for a year to ease the change or issue a stipend for the spouse to travel back and forth for a period of time. School-age children also influence the decision.

Creativity — Generate excitement about the new opportunity to all members of the family. Send community information, sports team paraphernalia, or even regional food specialties to the candidate for the family. Flowers count!

Community — Relocation trips and real estate broker introductions are not always enough. Introduce the prospective hire to company associates and provide an opportunity for the spouse to meet other spouses as well. Promote a feeling of community and camaraderie.

It is important not to underestimate the power of the human factor…everyone wants to be courted. Regardless of compensation, position scope, or where the company sits on the Fortune 500 list, candidates today consider quality of life issues equally important. These "Six C's" can make the difference between catching those elusive star hires or losing them to the competition.

As search consultants, we partner with clients to create a win-win situation. Star candidates don't need to jump. Making a candidate feel special is truly important. It can be the crucial factor in "Getting to Yes."