Forget about the best talent - are you the best company?

Stephen Phipps our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 04 June 2024

In a world of endless choices, finding the right talent for your business can be hard. But as the labour market loosens, businesses are being pickier and bogging themselves down in protracted hiring processes. 


You may think your organisation’s simply taking the time to find its diamond in the rough. But to me, it’s limiting its chances of attracting the best talent.


There are many reasons why businesses struggle here. It’s not just about lacking decisiveness - some lack personal connectivity, have the wrong team running the process or cling to unrealistic expectations. Others just aren’t competitive enough.


If you’re struggling to get top talent across the finish line, here’s a harsh truth: it’s not them, it’s you. And I’m about to tell you how to fix the issue. 

1. Drawn-out processes leave you in the dust

With the rise of skills-based hiring, I see many businesses adopting rigorous recruitment processes, where candidates jump through hoop after hoop. This isn’t reasonable. Yes, vet potential - but balance this with a swift and engaging process.


In 2024, the average time-to-hire increased to 44 days. But for mid-career candidates, it takes three months; executive directors, between four and eight. Drawn-out timelines are frustrating, risking promising talent walking away. In fact, companies lose 89% of candidates due to this.


The best processes are efficient and transparent. They forgo unnecessary steps, steadily progress and provide quick feedback. 

2. Are you connecting on a personal level?

Recruitment is about relationships, not transactions. Forget filling seats - focus on enhancing the candidate experience so people want to work for you. When it comes to getting top talent across the line, businesses that prioritise personal connectivity will outpace you. 


If you need proof that this matters, here it is: organisations investing in candidate experiences improve the quality of new hires by 70%. Establishing a personal connection and effective candidate relationship management is essential to providing this strong experience. 

3. Top talent needs speed and decisiveness 

Lengthy hiring processes cause 50% of professionals to decline job offers and 65% of employers to lose their preferred candidates to competitors. It’s not just that you’ll lag behind in filling crucial roles; you’ll also miss out on visionary leaders. 


What does this translate to? Lower competitiveness, no strategic focus, delayed projects, overworked teams, stifled creativity, declining engagement - the list goes on.


Swift decision-making is imperative. Companies getting this right use technology like automated scheduling and virtual interviews to speed up processes. Even though more employers are increasing investment in recruitment technology, with 53% focusing on automation – this won’t ‘fix’ many of the issues I see clients faced with.

4. Stop looking for unicorns 

Is it realistic that you’ll find someone who’s an actuary, and an accountant, and a strategy leader who speaks four languages?


Everyone has an image of their ideal candidate who ticks all their boxes. But they’re called unicorns for a reason: they’re elusive, unrealistic and impossible to find. 


To capitalise on the best talent, prioritise needs over wants. It’s an employer’s market right now - but you should still be realistic. If you’re holding out for your unicorn, you’ll end up overlooking transformational talent and sacrificing your competitive edge.

5. If you want the best, you have to be the best 

Recruitment is a two-way street. It's not just about whether you want the talent, but whether the talent wants you.


Top-end candidates are looking at multiple opportunities, so competition is fierce. Ask yourself: What sets my organisation apart? Think beyond compensation. Do you know what your ideal candidates’ push and pull factors are? Are you leveraging them? 


Tap into what matters to your talent pool, considering organisational culture, benefits and skill development. A curated employer brand is also important - which brings me to my next point.

6. Have you thought about your employer brand?

Top talent will always be in demand, regardless of market changes. Securing it requires you to position yourself as an employer of choice.


I see many businesses forgetting to spotlight their brand and values in the interview room, resulting in missed opportunities to attract candidates who resonate with your mission.


The solution is to communicate your business’ value proposition consistently across all platforms and have meaningful discussions with candidates. Companies that invest in employer branding reduce their hiring time by 50% and are three times more likely to make a quality hire.

7. The right, or wrong team

Does your hiring team have the expertise to secure top talent? Think about that honestly - when the wrong people run your hiring process, your entire organisation stagnates.


There are three things you can do. Invest in regular training and development for hiring managers. Ensure your hiring team represents diverse perspectives for better decision-making. Finally, establish clear guidelines and metrics to ensure consistency and efficiency.

You only get one chance

If you don’t get it right, you won’t have another bite of the apple. 


To be successful with executive search, you must shed the sluggish recruitment practices. The future belongs to those who act swiftly and decisively. Are you a trailblazer, or will you be left in the wake of those who dared to move faster?


If you’d like to discuss your approach to executive recruitment, I can support you. Contact me directly and we’ll arrange a call.

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