A recent study by Harvard Business Review of more than 300 executives in 10 countries showed that approximately 35% of executives fail because of a tendency towards seeking perfection.
Perfection is by definition; to have all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
And yes, in an ideal world, every single candidate employed by your company will be a 100% textbook fit for the role they are there to do.
But we don’t live in an ideal world. Not a day goes by when the dire straits of the skills crisis isn’t making headlines, or the severe lack of diversity amongst leaders in industry being challenged.
On average 34% of roles in the infrastructure sector were classified by the employer as “difficult to fill” because it couldn’t find “applicants with the appropriate skills, qualifications or experience”*.
Most of the time, our clients come to us and describe exactly what it is they want from their candidates and we are able to find that needle in a haystack. That one person whose skills, experience and values perfectly aligns with the company, and (and it’s a big and) they are open to the job move.
Sometimes, however, it’s going to require a bit of flexibility.
You need to take a step back and put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Frequently, when we start a search, clients will know of one or two people in the market who they hold up as the ideal, these are people they are familiar with and think would be perfect for the role. Often it is because those individuals fulfil exactly the same role for a similar company, but these individuals will understandably not always wish to switch company for the same role.
And you need more than two people in the world who can do the job. We find on average, of the people we approach, only 27% are interested in potentially moving for that specific opportunity. So, unless you unarguably have the best job in the market, are paying the highest salary and have the greatest brand and culture, then you need to widen the net beyond the obvious candidates.
Ask yourself, would you move for it?
1. Job Spec
The first thing is to look through the job specification, particularly the person specification to see what it’s asking for. How realistic is it? Is it what they really need? Or just some compilation of the individual wishlists of several of the stakeholders that hasn’t been sense checked.
More importantly, is the job spec attractive to the people you are hoping to attract?
We recently worked with a specialist consultancy looking to recruit a Director to establish and lead the business in London and the South East. They knew of a handful of people who were leading similar businesses in this area and could bring that valuable knowledge over to their company.
But why would the candidates want to do that? Why would they spend the last 5, 6, 7 years establishing a successful business only to take a considerable step backwards and start again from scratch?
More realistically, you could look at where these people where 7 years ago in their careers and search in these backgrounds. By looking at the next level down, the job suddenly becomes significantly more attractive as a step up for candidates.
Alternatively, if there is such a long list of required experience that hardly anyone 100% meets, then can the job be divided in two? For example, if the role requires a candidate to be a work winner and a project leader could you look at hiring one person that’s experienced in business development and one that focuses on carrying it out? Both at a more junior level than you were previously searching.
Yes, the combined salaries might be marginally higher than you budgeted for, but the costs of leaving the role vacant for months on end while you search for that one elusive unicorn might be significantly higher.
Compare with the market – look at the salary, benefits package, location, appeal of the role, employment brand of the company and current competition/availability for someone with the required skills and experience. Can it be done for that salary and in that location? If so how can it be done and if not what needs to be flexed in order to recruit the role?
While money is rarely the most important factor for senior candidates when considering a job move, it has to be right. If you are offering well below the market rate for the experience and capability you’re seeking, filling the job is never going to happen. We help by providing market based evidence of the going rate that you need to offer to attract their target candidate.
If pay isn’t the issue, then greater flexibility on location may help. A company may be asking for current competitor experience but be based nowhere near the majority of firms in their sector. What are the allied sectors that are more local to you? Another option is to look at the extent to which you could accommodate someone working from home or another regional office for part of the week, which may make the role more manageable for some candidates.
By marrying the company’s expectations with the job it is offering, we always back ourselves to crack even the hardest to fill role in transport and infrastructure. With the number of major projects on the horizon, it’s not going to get any easier to attract the top talent in the transport and infrastructure markets. Click HERE to see how we can help.