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Why headhunting is expensive and does not always work

Introduction
Eighty percent (80%) of business success is tied to people. Recruiting the right people, motivating the right people, training the right people, retaining the right people while releasing the wrong ones is the key to your success. Many business under-perform because they do not know to do this or they can’t do it well. Anything that can prevent us from achieving our objectives, is a risk that must be managed. Therefore if we want to hire the right people we must manage the risk of getting it wrong.

Problem Statement
Identifying the right talent is always a concern. Some employers figure- ‘why try to reinvent the wheel’. If some other company is getting it right, then why don’t we just identify the person responsible for success and get him or her to join our team

Previous Options
Current practice in most business organizations is that when they think this way, they turn to their HR manager or their HR consultant and ask them to head hunt a certain person occupying a target position in a target company. Many employers think that getting the person responsible for success at company ‘X’ will translate into success at company ‘Y’.

This is not always the case. Let’s look at a sample scenario to explain why. Company ‘Y’ identifies company ‘X’ as having the kind of market share and sales performance that they would like for themselves. They identify the Head of Sales and Marketing in company ‘X’ and decide that if they can just get to recruit him/her. He/she would in no distant time work his/her magic on their numbers. What they failed to realize is that the CEO of company ‘X’ is an excellent networker who is always passing qualified leads to his sales team. Eighty percent of qualified leads come from the CEO, in addition the head of sales and marketing has a couple of fantastic ‘closers’ on his team this duo have a conversion rate of close to 90%. Company ‘Y’ does not have this same ideal situation.

The new Head of Sales and Marketing resumes at company ‘Y’ his strength is in managing a sales process. He duplicates the exact same sales process he used at company ‘X’ but with dramatically different results.

Clement Ashley Consulting’s Solution
Clement Ashley Consulting recommends a recruitment approach that takes account of the problems identified above. We recognize that in reality the success you see may be as a result of a myriad of factors, some inimitable; the structure, the processes, the people, the life cycle of the organisation, the synergy of a team etc etc.

This means that we cannot assume that because the Head of Sales and Marketing recorded success at company ‘X’ he will automatically record success at company ‘Y’. We still need to investigate his performance and validate his results. A head hunting approach does not give us the opportunity to do this. The target always feels like the ‘beautiful bride’ ask him to take a test or survey and responds ‘do I have to do that, you know I am a performer that is why you approached me’. The target gives you the run around, always playing hard to get. The meeting is less of an interview and more of a salary negotiation from his point of view. What you hear is “ I am very happy where I am, and if you want to get me to leave you need to make me an offer I cannot resist” As a result you end up paying a salary three or more times what you would have paid if you allowed him to compete for the position.

Please read Bernard Marr’s Linkedin article “Who’s Been Paid $109 Million For NOT Performing At Their Job?” to learn how Yahoo Inc paid a whopping sum of $109 million for 15 months of non performance when they headhunted De Castro of Google. Please follow this link to read. http://tinyurl.com/ohyr6bm

Our approach begins with understanding in great detail who exactly the man or woman for the job is. We recommend that you elicit a very detailed job description for each position and then make a very detailed and thorough man specification for each job description Armed with this you are now in a position to write a compelling copy for an advert that is geared to attract only the people who are actually qualified and discourage speculative job seekers. Having attracted the right targets, you should now put them through a thorough testing process to validate their IQ, work skills, job knowledge, emotional stability and personality fit for the job. If you have any headhunting target in mind encourage them to apply in response to the advert. If your advert copy is well written, chances are they would already have applied if they saw the advert. Let him compete with other applicants. This gives you an opportunity to independently validate his claimed successes. It also gives you an opportunity to hold him accountable for results in order to earn whatever salary is finally agreed. As you know competition always brings prices down. The same goes for salaries.
Benefit 1
Using this approach you greatly reduce the run around you get from headhunt targets.
Benefit 2
Using this approach you will not get hood winked by successes for which the candidate is not solely responsible and therefore cannot replicate
Benefit 3
Using this approach you are able to negotiate a competitive salary and hold the candidate accountable for results and not pay three times what the candidate is worth for success claimed elsewhere.

Benefit 4
Using this approach you do not limit yourself to what you think is available but create an open playing field that enables you discover other potential talent at a reasonable price.
Implementation
Implementation involves designing recruitment policies and procedures that standardize these best practice methodologies .It involves recognizing what personalities suit what jobs and identifying the right tests to administer. It involves understanding performance measures for each job position. It involves advertising for all positions; headhunting just becomes one approach of sourcing applicants to apply.

Summary
Hiring the right staff is the best thing you can do for your organisation. Jack Welch says ‘Get the right people in the right jobs – it is more important than developing a strategy’ The eighty-twenty rule recognizes that eighty percent of business success is tied to people but only twenty percent of organizations get it right. You can be part of that top twenty percent.

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