Innovative fix for hiring challenges

Innovative fix for hiring challenges

The growth of Middle East economies has created a recruiting challenge. It’s compounded by the fact that countries such as India, that have been a strong source of resources, have been growing exponentially making it less attractive to move.

Also, while compensation has gone up, cost of living has increased, reducing savings potential, and making it less attractive. The resulting situation is a resourcing nightmare. Many positions are vacant. To fill those positions, juniors with missing skills are being promoted. If a position is taken to market, the headhunters are not able to deliver — lack of effort or lack of availability. So what’s the solution? Not an easy one, but worth a shot.

Firstly segregate positions that should be handled by board or the CEO, and those of the HR or the CEO. Simple thumb rule — CEO, and direct reports to be recruited by CEO and Board, and balance with HR and CEO.

Now if a slot opens up, the first place to look is inside, but in a structured way. Job post the position internally, and allow candidates from any department to apply. Since this is sensitive as an existing employee may not want his boss to know, let him apply directly to the HR in confidence. The HR can then look at the candidate logically, and then follow it up with an interview.

Step by step

If the first round interview goes well, the HR can then involve both the target department and the department the employee could be exiting from to take it further. A senior executive or the CEO can get involved to make a strategic call that it is in the organisation’s interest to move the person. Remember, filling positions internally does not only come from job postings. The HR in any case should be looking at internal inventory of people.

If an internal replacement is not available, open the position to the market. Again, I have a thumb rule here. If the position is CEO or CEO direct report, give it to a headhunter on retainer. The headhunter will be more dedicated.
Be clear on what you are looking for, and don’t let the headhunter force you into accepting candidates so it makes their job easy.

Careful selection

Also select headhunter carefully. Do their reference checks, and ensure they have experience in the same function or industries. Plan for the process to last 90 days. If it is a position below the CEO direct report, you may be able to use a recruiter who works on a success fee basis.

My understanding is that because of the volumes, internal research teams of recruiters are not spending more than six days looking at internal databases and short listing candidates. If they don’t have one on their database, they give up, but they won’t tell you that. The solution is to build a strategic relationship with two recruiters, let them search in parallel, and give them some kind of fixed fee at the start of the year as a commitment that can be adjusted against fees during the year as positions fill. This will increase commitment. Somewhat of a fixed and variable fee model. Innovative, but should work.

I don’t guarantee you still won’t grey hairs recruiting, but hopefully it stops you from going bald!

By Sanjiv Anand, Special to Gulf News
The writer is managing director of Cedar Management Consulting International.
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