The search for talent is evolving ….are you considering the bigger picture?

Over the past few weeks I have met some amazing talent through my networks.  These people are not active job seekers trawling the papers and websites looking for their next move – they are successful business people in their own disciplines who are open to being "shoulder tapped" for the right opportunity with the right organisation.

What are they looking for and why the move? I believe it is what most people are seeking in their work – at the very core of what motivates us to be at work and ultimately achieve and be happy is finding a value match.  When that value alignment is out of whack, it makes it very hard to continue as a high performer, being invigorated at work everyday.  In just about all cases, there was nothing major or significant happening (or not happening) that was making them feel negative or unloved. It’s only through circumstance, change or internal motivators, they can see the end of the road, the next challenge calling or a craving to fulfill a greater need or purpose.

The Dream Employers list was released a few weeks ago which also supports these conversations.  In short, the survey concludes that “people-centric organisations are gaining a competitive advantage in the employment market”.  I am yet to meet a candidate who at interview tells me they will compromise their values and cultural match for a bigger pay packet.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand remuneration is an important piece of the overall value proposition, but in my interactions it is rarely number one.

For example, a senior executive this week told me of her desire to move out of big corporates to find the right opportunity in the not for profit sector. She feels the integrity match is critical and finding an organisation that treats others with honesty and respect is paramount in her next career move. Although we agreed on a minimum salary target, it is significantly lower than at her previous peak earnings.

Through our conversations, I asked her to consider a professional services role – which she was reluctant to do.  She felt that perhaps their values may not be in alignment (just her market perception). My experience with the people I know in the organisation through to Partner level, I thought it was quite the contrary.  She agreed to investigate, giving me permission to present her details as available passive talent in the market, knowing there was a vacancy in her field.

In my previous business, whether I had a vacancy or not, I was always interested in top talent.  Who wouldn’t want to know who is available in the market? Who they know, what they are considering, what experience they can bring – it can lead to hundreds of other things – new opportunities, other talent, new business etc. It’s not what you know; it’s who you know is still very much the case in all facets of life.  The person in charge of talent, leadership and direction was my approach.  Surely, like me, that person is the most interested in getting the people piece right throughout the entire organisation, from attraction through to recruitment, engagement and retention?

Sadly I was wrong.  My approach was palmed off to HR where I got a lovely email explaining that they don’t engage “Recruiters”.  It continued that they do all recruitment internally themselves and if they did on the off-chance outsource it, they have a list of national preferred suppliers to use……

Well what can I say? You missed out.  My candidate was not surprised by the response and said she felt that no matter who you are or what you do, there has to be mutual respect……this example only validated her pre-conceived thoughts.

What a missed opportunity for everyone! The bigger picture here is that she has a network, an executive network that does require services from professional services firms just like this one.  Not only in business, but also in life, we all need to take a big picture perspective that today’s email could be tomorrow’s client, new talent or referral to others in our network.  After all, if you aren't taking time to at least consider new talent, you can be sure your competitors are. So…..don’t burn your bridges….don’t have tunnel vision….and never, ever cut off your nose to spite your face…it’s an ugly look.

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