Hiring Talent – a corporate chess game

Having had the privilege of working for several years in the corporate world, and now leading a recruitment company, I am perhaps, able to have a little better perspective of how recruitment of professionals by companies has evolved : as a first party seriously interested in scouting for and on-boarding the best talent for my company; and now as a third party service provider, striving to meet assigned mandates from corporate clients.

In the 90s HR Leaders in companies, though fiercely competitive in their pursuit of the best talent to meet their company’s staff augmentation needs, accepted an unwritten code not to cross certain industry accepted boundaries, and desist from short-changing them in the quest to hire talent. I remember being part of a group of HR Heads of companies who mutually agreed to blacklist candidates who were seen shopping around after receiving and accepting an offer from another company.

Compare that to modern day recruitment of talent. As head of a recruitment organization, we receive mandates from several clients who are predominantly on the look-out for candidates who are in between jobs and immediate joinees; or candidates who can join within 10 to 15 days, or at best a month, when most companies have notice norms of two to three months. In fact you hear of companies who openly tell you that they will not give you credit for candidates with longer notice periods, even if they hire them subsequently.

In this back-drop, I would like to place before us a few very realistic scenarios : When multiple companies are on the lookout for candidates in between jobs, or with shorter than industry standard notice periods, the candidate pool being targeted, are only those who have left jobs for one reason or the other; or have one or multiple offers and are already on notice. The larger pool of candidates who are working in companies and can be targeted, are virtually untouched. When multiple companies are going after the smaller available talent pool, companies turn into hunters, virtually cannibalizing on each other, trying to entice already offered candidates with more attractive offers and driving up the market and costs of hiring.

Meanwhile companies who originally made the offers to candidates, are waiting in vain for the offered candidates to serve their notice period and join them. What is often missed is that they are not the only victims of their competitors preying on the now multiple offered candidates. The second offering company gets shortchanged by the third offering company, and so on till the happy candidate joins the highest bidder.

End result ? The hiring efforts of all the companies in the bunch go waste, and the cycle of hiring starts afresh. Meanwhile the happy recipients of the corporate chess games are candidates who merrily go shopping for the best bargain.

The rationale offered by companies looking for candidates in between jobs or with short notice periods, is that if they make offers to candidates with long notice periods, these candidates will go shopping with their offers in search of better offers, and will not ultimately join them. A reasonable sounding argument. But what guarantee is that, in the interim, your offered candidate will not get poached by another talent hunting company who will not offer your offered candidate a better package and rob you of your prize ?

Moral of the story ? I leave that to Heads of the Corporate industry.

Development, News