To Make The Right Hire, Speed is Key – Timing is (absolutely) Everything

July 18, 2013

A Supply Chain Management Recruiter’s Perspective on Today’s Employment Trends

Time (definitely) Kills Deals.”

It’s an old adage of business negotiation that time definitely kills deals and it continues to ring true in the world of Recruiting in Supply Chain Management. And yes, about time WOW…none of us have any of it right? Right… BUT we have to make time for the important things like finding and catching top talent.

We find ourselves repeating the same litany day-in and day-out here at Argentus to our customers to make them keep the hiring process tight and get ‘their ducks in a row’ about the interview line-up before they enter into a search for a professional in Procurement, Logistics, Planning and the like.

2013 has been a very frenetic year, full of false starts and of disappointments for companies everywhere as they search for good Supply Chain talent. It’s just crazy – too many jobs – not enough good people active in the market, Canadian salaries in SCM  just aren’t good enough. They don’t often tempt enough to grab the attention of those true gems of the passive candidate market. And it’s only going to get worse. Demand is going up. The stats speak for themselves– Supply Chain is a huge growth area. And, more companies are making a switch in their hiring blends to encompass more contingent than permanent to help them stay globally competitive in SCM especially on the Strategic Sourcing side.

More than ever before in the last 12 years since I became specialised in SCM as a Recruiting vertical we have seen and heard of so many otherwise-successful offers fallen through for organisations. New customers come to us as specialists in SCM to help them because, for example, they had made an offer which was initially accepted then declined after their own three month search. Why? To counter-offers, promotions and better alternate positions mainly – it’s such an incredibly buoyant employment market in this particular sector. And the slow creep of time, where companies just can’t keep the process on track to hire efficiently (two to three interviews in no more than two weeks) is what takes the bloom off the rose real fast and often loses the candidate through the cracks to other offers.

What makes Recruitment so fascinating is the way in which the technical and the personal aspects of the search process intertwine and play out. The technical aspects of a role –  such as very specific job skills, industry knowledge, type and numbers of managerial scope as well as quantifiable ROI’s within certain types of company’s structures, will always be at the very root of each search.

BUT, it is those critical touch factors, the unwritten understandings, knowing when to push and to pull in a hiring process is what makes the real difference in the results – it’s those really good human interactions between candidate, company and Recruiter that can usually get a deal done.

Here’s an example: candidates are very attuned to the manner in which they get handled. These days, the quality of the experience has become so critically important to the whole process for the individual who is evaluating the company as much as the company is evaluating them. Great recruiters take the time upfront to listen and really understand those individual human needs – candidates’ aspirations and goals, expectations for growth as well as work life balance. This goes a very long way to  harmonize for a potentially better end result. Those who get ‘IT’ or ‘THAT’ about what makes candidates tick, who have a specific innate aptitude for picking up on the nuances of individuals’ needs and how they want to be handled (that is respected)  become extremely good at recruiting talent. And these are the people one wants in one’s corner.

Guaranteed, really good Supply Chain professionals are without a doubt very, very hirable candidates right now. They are heavily pursued by multiple companies – a bit like being a speed dater if I might draw an analogy. How companies play the game at the outset with those HOT COMMODITY candidates will determine whether they win or they will lose these gems because what they do for companies is so very important – they strategically hunt out quality improvement opportunities and cost efficiencies within their organisations.  And that contributes big time to the bottom line.

So when there’s poor handoff for vacation, inadequate communications between HR and the Hiring Manager, unscheduled business trips and such this causes major disruptions and mires the quick progression of interviews to get the talent in a staffing vertical where challenges really definitely exist. Technologies like, Skype, Video Conferencing, and telephone interviews for example are terrific tools to keep things moving towards that all important close on the candidate of choice.

Here are a couple simple tips which might help both candidates or companies hiring to tighten up their own processes

  • DON’T hide behind email/voicemail. We all do it and we shouldn’t. Pretty much everyone in business is guilty of this faux-pas. The new technological tools that have improved communication and made us more “connected” with each-other also seem to have added further barriers to that very communication. Something’s just not right there. Phone and email tag just slows down what used to be accomplished so quickly by talking.
  • DON’T hold off waiting for other offers or better candidates that might not materialize. Sometimes a candidate or a company will find the right match quickly. It does sometimes happen. Waiting to see what happens with other possibilities is NOT always the best course of action. Many times we see companies go back to their first choice with an offer only to find they waited two, three weeks too long and lost the perfect fit. Candidates are in high demand in SCM. companies can’t assume that a candidate will be willing to wait for all the bureaucratic gears to grind into motion, and that they won’t be fielding other offers in the meantime. The takeaway? It’s easy to end up disappointed if you don’t seriously consider immediate options.

Any opinions on this topic? Any other examples of how time kills deals, either in recruiting or in the wider business world?  Please let us know in the comments!

Over and Out for now


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