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:
- What was the cost of not filling the position?
- What the implication was of recruiting B and C players in desperation?
- 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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