When your company is executing on a plan to achieve aggressive growth goals, you’re sure to hit some obstacles along the way. In the unprecedented tight labor market that we’re experiencing right now, talent acquisition may be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome.
If you hope to achieve the ambitious objectives you’ve set for 2022, you need to think differently about how to attract the talent it takes to grow and thrive. One mindset that’s essential to leave behind is the idea that quantity is important when you’re evaluating job candidates.
When a Focus on Candidate Quantity is Harmful, Not Helpful
For years, many search firms made a living pushing the idea that more is better when it comes to presenting candidates to employers. Some search firm contracts were even structured that way, promising to deliver a minimum number of candidates for each open position. The larger the search firm’s database of potential candidates, the more valuable they purport to be.
It’s what we at M3 refer to as the “spaghetti at the wall” approach: If you throw enough candidates at a company, something is likely to stick.
The problem is, it may not be the right candidate.
You might assume that if you have a stack of resumes from a company that’s been hired to help you fill a role, there must be a viable candidate in there. But that’s not necessarily the case. When you hire the best person out of the bunch—not the strongest fit for the job—you can run into a host of problems.
- You might feel forced to choose a candidate who only fits the core requirements in your job description—and that’s not sufficient to ensure a good fit and a successful long-term outcome for either party.
- You might sacrifice factors that are critical in matching the right person to the position, such as emotional intelligence or alignment with your culture. Let’s say you need to hire an engineer who will have to collaborate cross functionality to achieve his job objectives. If you only focus on finding someone with a great command of the technical aspects of the job and don’t assess their emotional intelligence, the odds of a successful experience will be low.
- You might end up settling for a match that looks good on the surface but won’t work out long term. For example, a leader who has a track record of success heading up departments that are already working as well-oiled machines won’t necessarily succeed in an environment that is in a rebuild mode.
A difficult labor market is certainly a challenge for employers, but it shouldn’t get in the way of finding and hiring quality candidates. In fact, with turnover at alarmingly high levels, it’s even more important than ever to ensure you’re evaluating the best quality candidates. The better the candidate quality, the more likely the new hire will stay, perform at a high level, enjoy a positive work experience, and contribute to your growth objectives.
How the Right Search Partner Can Bring You Quality Candidates
High-growth companies can’t afford to make the wrong hires—whether it’s hiring a poor match for the job requirements or your culture, or candidates who didn’t realize exactly what they were getting into. That’s where the right search firm can help.
A search firm whose focus is candidate quality, not quantity, invests in a long-term relationship with your company. They become intimately familiar with your business, including your goals, challenges, and culture. And they become a partner who is equally committed to seeing you achieve your aggressive growth objectives. When those elements are in place, throwing quantity at the wall is replaced by a consultative approach that seeks to find the right fit for both the company and the candidate and achieve the best long-term outcome.
What are the hallmarks of a search firm that’s committed to and skilled at presenting the best quality candidates for a position?
- They seek to understand and align with your company mission, vision, and values.
- They take a long-term, relationship approach to working with you, not a short-term, transactional view.
- They get to know the person behind the resume, including their personal story and how this individual will (or won’t) fit within your culture. When new hires don’t work out, about 70 percent of the time it’s because of a lack of cultural fit.
- They do the heavy lifting for you, including the thorough, thoughtful homework it requires to find and present only the best fits.
- They ask your hiring manager the right probing questions to understand your need beyond the core job description. For example: What pain points is your business facing which this new employee will have to work within or tackle? Is your private equity or venture capital ownership creating especially high expectations for growth? If you tell me a year later that this candidate turned out to be a great hire, what criteria will you base that on?
- They ask potential candidates equally probing questions as part of the vetting process. For example: What are your short-term and long-term professional goals? Do you have experience leading a team in a hybrid live/virtual work environment?
- They encourage their clients to use behavioral-based interviewing techniques to assess a candidate’s emotional intelligence, which is increasingly critical for many positions, especially those that will manage remote workers.
Choosing a search firm should be an immersive experience, one in which you walk away feeling like the company understands and connects with your brand and your story. If you’re trusting an external firm to find the individual contributors and leaders who will enable you to achieve the growth you envision, it needs to be a company that can convey your story just as vibrantly and accurately as your own CEO.
M3 takes a different approach to talent acquisition and executive search than most—one that results in better outcomes for employers and candidates alike. We become your partner, immersing ourselves in your business holistically so we can help you attract and retain the talent it takes to succeed as a high-growth business.
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