Talent Management


January 22, 2014

Talent Management

Recruiting talented people is without doubt one of the greatest challenges facing employers today. I strongly believe that the practice of effective Talent Management should be a key activity not just for the Human Resources Department but for every individual who has a stake in building a high performing workforce. And yet the whole business of assessing and selecting new employees can be fraught with difficulties. Getting recruitment right can have far reaching results; when the board of Apple re-hired Steve Jobs that decision transformed the fortunes of the business. But what about the organizations that got it wrong; the truly disastrous “hires” at organizations like Enron, which ruined lives and cost untold millions?

Of course we don’t need to focus on those very high profile examples to make the point that good hiring decisions can create great value for an organization and that hiring the wrong people can have potentially disastrous consequences.

There is extensive research to demonstrate the very high cost of recruiting the wrong people. A recent article in the Economist calls unsuccessful hiring “the single biggest problem in business today”. Just as disturbing is the calculation that the typical manager’s “successful hiring rate” is less than 50% and that the cost of replacing an employee who proves to be unsuccessful can be 30% or more of their annual salary.

Yet despite all of this this well documented research, many organizations, both large and small, seem to have a surprisingly unstructured approach to the whole process of assessing and selecting new staff. As an experienced executive search consultant, and as a company director, I’ve experienced the huge benefits of managing recruitment using well planned and structured methods and I’ve sat on the side-lines and watched in horror as otherwise reputable organizations manage not only to recruit the wrong people but at the same time pass over some of the best available candidates; in all likelihood losing them forever to their competitors.

So how does your organization perform? Can you be sure that the recruitment process that you follow offers the best possible chance of success in identifying and recruiting talented people? How do you establish the skills, experience and behaviours required for success in a particular job? How do you shortlist candidates? What techniques do you use to assess candidates’ suitability for a job? Are your interviews structured and objective?

Your recruitment process is the very first view that potential employees have of your organization. Exposing them to an unprofessional and unstructured recruitment experience is a sure way to lose talented people and of course the best candidates may simply turn down your job offer or even decide not to apply for a job with your organization in the first place. Do people actually want to work for your organization?

In my next article I’ll be writing about Employer Branding and what practical steps organisations can take to improve the experience of both candidates and employees and as a result significantly improve their brand in the recruitment market and as a result significantly increase the opportunity to hire the most talented people available.


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