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John Dodd

John Dodd

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The Best Candidates Choose You

25% of CEOs recently surveyed by PWC reported that they were unable to pursue a market opportunity, or had to delay a strategic initiative, because of mismatches in talent or its unavailability (PWC 15th Annual Global CEO Survey 2012):

“Not having the right talent in the right place is a leading threat to growth for many CEOs. Up to now an assumption has held that the market analysis element of a strategic plan is paramount, and how a business ‘resources up’ to meet the plan is something that is worked out later. Now leading businesses are looking beyond the next round to plan talent needs”.

Here, international Search Consultant John Dodd identifies the four factors to consider in attracting the best external talent to your business:

Clarity of Vision: Organisations which communicate a clear vision, and have well defined commercial strategies will find that they can secure the best available talent. The vision does not need to be complex, indeed preferably it should be simple, but it does need to be one which is understood, bought-into and talked about by all those involved in the recruitment process (including the Search Consultant).

Go to Market Strategy: Although the deployment of online recruitment resources such as Linkedin helps to access potential candidates quickly, these tools are primarily a medium to identify ‘active’ candidates or those interested in networking, and therefore only represent one element of a search strategy. Traditional search methodologies remain vital in order to identify ‘passive’ candidates who are of high calibre, but are not openly in the market looking for a new position.

Speed: High quality candidates are in demand and will have other options. They tend to be very busy and do not want to be messed about. The clearest indicator to them about a potential new employer’s interest is the speed and certainty with which they move to secure their services. Delays in finding final interview slots, alterations to the brief, or uncertainties about the role always turn off good candidates - they know their market worth.

Assessment: Most organisations want candidates who understand their marketplace and have a proven track record in their (or an allied) sector. Other qualities are also essential however: mental ability is the most important variable in predicting executive performance followed by personality. Therefore, the big three dimensions to look for are brains, conscientiousness and emotional stability, supplemented of course, by relevant technical skills and knowledge. A thorough, half-day assessment process run by a qualified assessment specialist adds enormous value to the process, reduces risk, and is increasingly expected by the better candidates, as they see it as a further sign of the recruiting organisation’s commitment to professional talent management.

In summary, although there is a perception in many quarters that executive search is currently a buyer’s market, high calibre candidates are in demand and always have choices. These top candidates feel most aligned with organisations that work hard to engage with them, and are more likely to join businesses that signal their quality and professionalism through smooth, efficient and committed recruitment processes.

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