Some ‘Hiring Managers’ need to up their game!

It may seem counter-intuitive but the current marketplace for some IT specialists is tight and therefore competitive. In fact having been in this industry for nearly 25 years I think it is as competitive as I have ever experienced it. I am of course referring to a number of specialist roles like; Solution/Enterprise Architects, Business Intelligence & Big Data people and .NET developers. Perhaps this is due to the collision of a number of factors? The scarcity of skills, offshore salaries, uncertainty in the public sector and an increase in job numbers are all real factors.

So how do hiring managers need to act in these market conditions? Three things may help:

1. Stop assuming that candidates automatically want to work for you. These candidates are interviewing you as much as you are them. They expect you to be prepared, compelling and decisive. As much as you need to satisfy yourself in their abilities, aptitude and culture fit you need to answer the “what’s in it for them” question. They will have choices. Sell the role, the company and the reward and recognition proposition but also sell yourself. Your passion and commitment will play a key role in a successful outcome.
2. Know your competition. Put time into understanding the market opportunities and who will be out there competing with you for these candidates. Use your recruitment partner, whether an agency or an in-house resource, to advise you of the big picture and the most relevant issues for each candidate. Let them support you and negotiate as they are the experts at this phase of the engagement.
3. Be prepared. Be ready to decide one way or another. It frustrating to hear how often employers miss out on the candidates they really want and need simply due to a lack of planning. Get approvals to hire, interview schedules and panels organised so that you reflect an organisation on top of their game. Candidates will not wait for you. They expect a decision and your reputation as an employer is reflected in the recruitment process. People Talk!

If you are experiencing any pain in getting the skilled professionals you need on board then feel free to contact us. We are always willing and open to giving you feedback that may improve your process, reputation and hopefully recruitment outcomes. We know it is a tough competitive market out there!

“Pareto’s Principle”

The 4-Hour Workweek

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Having just read Tim Ferriss “The 4 Hour Work Week” whilst undertaking the quarterly review of our business I was reminded once again that Pareto’s Principle is our top strategic imperative.

Our top performers (the $1m plus consultants) get 80% of their revenues from the top 20% of their clients…FACT!

An equation backed by a simple desire to focus hard on getting deep relationships across a small number of clients. This creates trust, opportunity and therefore competitive advantage. Whilst it may take a little longer to show returns, given time,  your returns will be far greater.

Yet just about every new consultant I meet seems determined to build a long client list. Maybe this stems from the desire to get a few early wins but I reiterate that this strategy is flawed. Slow down, invest in  fewer clients and aim to build cultural and institutional knowledge, which in turn creates trust. It’s this trust that will leverage you into big returns and protect you from competitive pressures. You will also find yourself enjoying your work a lot more!

Next meeting you have with your manager tell them you want fewer clients!

International Preferred Supplier Agreements are a lazy solution

Organisations that choose to implement international preferred supplier agreements need to ensure they are not designing a lazy solution. Whether driven out of procurement or HR, a PSA needs to deliver on the core need of attracting the best to their organisation in the most timely and cost effective manner taking into account all their locations and specialist sector needs.

There is a trend amongst the multi-national IT Vendors to use  centralised and technology  led processes to select regional and sometimes global providers. These are often pursued by the multi-national recruitment generalists whom tick off the location box and tolerate a price driven agreement. Fair enough and good luck to both parties.

But, my point about it potentially being a lazy solution is that the process often ignores the reality that the best recruitment solution for any multi-national also needs the following elements:

  • Flexibility
  • Local relevance
  • Specialist Sector coverage
  • Local knowledge and relationships

I have observed these IT multi-nationals signing up PSA’s even when their multi-national partners have little or no coverage in local markets covered by the PSA. Now that is a lazy solution and worst of all they are letting down their own local teams by hindering their access to the best people and ignoring well established mutually beneficial relationships.

Convenient yes, leveraged yes but are they smart?

Not in my opinion.

Future Proof your Recruiters!

Some recruiters allow themselves to question their future relevance. They feel they are under siege from the growing control that some in-house recruiters seek or from the fast paced development of social media and communication technologies.

I believe two behaviours will spare them from this anxiety and make them forever relevant:

1. Build deep, trusting and informed client relationships…

2. Become a relentless sourcing animal…

Neither of those two things are easy and that’s why there are far fewer $1m plus billers than there are $300k billers. The former category of recruiters never question their relevance. They invest heavily in gaining deep knowledge of their clients and in their relationships. Equally they are relentless in their pursuit of quality candidates. To breakdown the skills required to master the above  behaviours is a book rather than a blog, but use your imagination.

If your consultants master these two behaviours they will never feel distracted by any uncertainty of their worth.

Direct Hire… 2 tips!

When organisations hire directly from the market (and at times they should) I have two little tips to share that are easily forgotten.

1. Sell your company, your vision, your job, your values, your people etc. You may love your company but don’t assume an applicant will yet. Don’t assume anything. They don’t know enough to love you yet and they are interviewing you as much as you them. You have to move from interviewer to sales person as this is what recruiters do for you.

2. Manage the experience well. This means provide a good job brief and de-brief the applicant post interview regardless of desire to hire or not. This stage is about your brand and your reputation.

Sadly a very good client of ours has just lost a couple of great people because these items were over-looked. These are things recruiters do for you when engaged but when you do it yourself they are equally important!

I hope this helps…

Stripping it bare! Niche specialisation is the key.

As recruiters sometimes our proposition gets confused. When we present to potential clients it’s very tempting to rant on about great applicant tracking systems, robust assessment processes, social media expertise, great brand campaigns, or whatever. But really, when we cut through all the clutter, the thing we do that we are needed for is to target,  source and manage the right candidate. Yep we now use a whole lot of tools that were not always available but actually any good corporate recruiter and agency can do deploy these tools.

The thing they need us for is the experience and specialist knowledge of our sector. When combined with the skills to search out , engage and manage the process to successful outcomes our relevance never fades and our value is high.

Certainly I acknowledge that in-house recruitment teams and RPO providers can add great value to organisations in terms of volume hires but when the hard to find key people are needed we remain the best source. This is because if we are any good, we know where they are, what they want and we can go out and get to them.

A simple proposition but a complex role, hence there are many more $250k billers and much fewer $1,000,000 billers in our industry.

Be a niche specialist and great relationship manager if you want to stay high up in the value chain. You will always be relevant!

It’s not the idea, it’s the doing… surely?

This is icon for social networking website. Th...

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“Getting there first is not what it’s all about. What matters always is execution. Always,” Chris Fox – head of product at Facebook.

Reading this post http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/14/first-best/  got me thinking about where this industry of ours might be heading. Of course we would like to have the best new idea, strategy, innovation or iPhone killer app.

In fact, without naming brands,  I’ve seen a whole lot of good ideas already like:

  • Niche Job Boards
  • Video CV banks
  • Web-based referral programmes
  • “Self Help” web talentpools
  • All the so-called ‘social recruiting’ tools

These innovations are all based on good ideas but what separates the good from the great. I think Fox has probably nailed it with his comment that it’s not about a great new idea and therefore being first to market, as much as it’s about a great committment to the execution of the idea. That’s the hard bit I think. Having the tenacity, the financial backing, the skills, the time, the massive vision, the team, the balls and the passion to get it done.

So I watch with interest and respect for those who continue to build technology to support their idea and our industry whilst I await the rise of those that really do nail the execution bit… yep they will be loaded and I’ll be talking about relationships, trust and understanding the people bit! I guess I’ll use the Malcolm Gladwell excuse as explained in ‘The Outliers”… wrong birth date for me :-).

Please let me know if you do see a great example of the brilliant execution of an innovation in our industry as I’ll follow with great interest.