Sifting for Stars...

Think it’s a buyer’s market? Think again.

Most think it’s a difficult time out there for jobseekers, but for those who are “star talent,” the demand remains high.

“It’s a Back Door, Front Door Syndrome,” states Janice Reals Ellig. “While companies are downsizing in one area, they are seeking talent to fill their new strategic initiatives and growth in another.”

For certain key, strategic positions, a “negative employment environment” exists. Only a small number of candidates have the leadership capability, strategic know-how, technical skill and/or general management ability to grow companies. The best people can always write their own ticket. The more refined a search is within the general population, the more dramatically the pool of candidates decreases.

Star talent is not easy to find. Despite this, Chadick Ellig has continued to be successful, even in this down economy. Clients look to us for our strong research capabilities, our network of high quality executives and our ability to assess the best among them. Today, more than ever, we have found that convincing an executive to leave a current position and/or to relocate is an increasing challenge compared to the '90’s boom economy. Candidates are more cynical, careful in their choices and are aware of the risk they face in light of the downsizing, merging and purging activities of the past two years. They conduct due diligence and assess the risk/reward of a move and the unknown.

Due diligence happens on both sides of this courtship. Some employers initially see the supply and demand factor to be in their favor and want a candidate who has 10 out of the 10 criteria they are seeking. However, the most impressive candidates research the company and position and focus on the values, ethics and honesty of the corporate culture. They, too, have a checklist of key criteria a potential employer must meet. Compensation is important, but not the only consideration. Star candidates want to know that they will be provided with the opportunity to have significant impact, will be valued for their contribution and that their road to achievement is not lined with political, cultural or bureaucratic road blocks. Their values have to match up with those of the organization. It is a three-pronged matter: candidates want to do what they “love doing”, where their “talent” will be utilized, and in a culture that shares their values.

To attract the stars, companies need to be seen as an Employer of Choice,” states Susan Chadick, who compares the recruitment process to one of cultivating a relationship, because this is what happens when a candidate signs up with an employer. “This is a courtship that must begin from the first encounter. Every aspect of the interaction between candidate and company makes an impression. Star candidates are extremely perceptive in how they gather clues and smart clients put forth their best efforts knowing they are being assessed at every turn.”

Candidates are a company’s biggest word-of-mouth advertiser,” states Janice Reals Ellig,” and for companies who do not treat candidates with respect, the repercussions can be devastating. Even in cases where the candidate isn’t right for the position, they need to leave the interview feeling positive about the experience and impressed with the company’s vision and management team. Candidates are a prospective employer’s PR agent, potential shareholder and client. What they think at the close of the meeting will have an impact on the interviewing company well beyond the time spent together.”

Smart people hire organizations, not the other way around. Showing active interest and consideration throughout the interview process by creating strategic interview itineraries, ensuring smooth, uninterrupted meetings, consolidating feedback and providing it in a timely manner, allows everyone to come away with the sense that time was well spent. We have heard stories from candidates after an interview which we believe are unintentional, but nonetheless damaging to a client's reputation.

In the competition for star candidates, the commitment and quality of the company is the key to attracting that highly successful, in-demand candidate.