“We want to recruit the best available candidate”
Yes! This is what we like to hear when we are in contact with a company that needs our services. That is what we will do, that is what we will deliver, no doubt about that, none at all. However, before rushing off and hit all grounds running let us analyse this statement, and let’s make sure both the company and VMA Group really and thoroughly understand it.
Who are ‘we’?
Is that the HR person that contacts VMA Group, is that the line manager who has the vacancy in his team, is it both, or is it also or maybe even exclusively a director in a different location? Do we –VMA Group – know, do our company contacts know, will these decision makers be stable factors until the end of the recruitment process? Do the different decision makers use the same criteria, both the hard skills & experiences and the softer but success determining cultural fit characteristics as well? Are the decision makers in agreement with each other on the real priorities versus the nice to haves? Is there a lot of rigidity or are they – some or all – open to advice based on what the market has to offer?
What does ‘want’ mean?
Is it a nice wish, is it an absolute requirement, or somewhere in between, do ‘we’ know? Will the company settle for a ‘good, candidate, or do they want the best Are they open to advise, will they listen to the market?
And what does ‘to recruit’ mean?
Contacting a few people out of networks of senior company (HR and other) networks and a LinkedIn posting? Having an agency search their databases? Or does it include market mappings, benchmarking, dedicated search and search through networking as well? And, does ‘to recruit’ mean really finding high potentials, established talents, seasoned professionals, all with relevant experiences, evaluated, compared and shortlisted by people who know ‘communications‘ , specialised consultants who recognize the difference between marketing and communication, between PA and PR, between internal branding and CEO positioning, who understand the relevant competencies, who can see beyond job titles and really dig into experiences and achievements?
And then another one – Ha! ‘The best available’:
Sometimes companies really think that ‘the best available ‘do visit their company website during their Monday lunch break, because they are this famous brand maybe. Or that they do spend time on job boards or LinkedIn. Do not get me wrong, there are those that do, and there will be good candidates amongst them. Although it is a fact that lots of people are open to new opportunities but that these opportunities have to be pointed out to them by people who can find them, by targeted, personal mails, by phone calls, by other communication professionals they know who alert them, by reliable and knowledgeable agencies that reach out and explain why they might make great candidates and why the vacancy is interesting for them, what it will bring them, money wise and most certainly also from a knowledge enhancing career perspective.
Last but most certainly not least – ‘Candidates’:
There are those in between job, on gardening leave, and people applying out of a position they want to leave for some reason. And again, there may be great candidates in these groups. However, the other group of candidates is far bigger, and it is not unlikely that ‘the best available’ currently sits in that group. We at VMA Group know – and studies do continuously confirm this – that almost everybody working in ‘communications’ is a candidate. Probably more extrovert than the average, if challenges and development opportunities fade away, if routine threatens to enter the working weeks and months, they are open to new ventures. However, they will not be actively looking themselves, and they will not react to some nobody calling them out of the blue. They will react, however, to VMA Group contacting them, they will listen, they will engage in conversation, our experience demonstrates, every day, over and over again, that communication professionals do react and engage when contacted by VMA Group. And these people will often also suggest other potentially great candidates if they are not attracted themselves.
And so, what is the inevitable conclusion? Companies who do NOT say ‘We want to recruit the best available candidate!’ – go ahead, contact your networks, do your job postings, ask a few agencies at the same time to send you some CV’s within the next 4 days, settle for ‘ok’.
All others, you know what to do.
Director of Continental Europe
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