Christopher Savage has been involved in recruitment for over 30 years in a wide range of industries. He's run the gamut from being solely responsible for new hires to participating in recruitment campaigns. Christopher shares all of his thoughts, insights and experience on the many difficulties of today's business climate at the website Wrestling Possums With Chris John Savage.
According to Chris, companies have been at war with talent for the last 30 years - and talent won. The difficulty facing organisations these days is new-age businesses like Google and Facebook snatching up top talent and never letting go. That means the rest of us have to fight over what's left.
Thankfully, we now have a wider pool of great talent available than ever before. But we have to find them. Or help them find us.
We're grateful that Christopher took a moment to tell us about his experience in the business world, sharing 30 years of hiring and recruitment wisdom as well as more general business best practices.
Business leaders get stuck working "in" the business, rather than "on" the business. They know what they need to do to push a business forward, but simply don't get around to it. That's where a good business mentor steps in. The role is like a "conscience." Strategy sessions help agree on the priorities. A mentor ensures genuine RESOLVE to actually make progress against those priorities. It's hard for all concerned. Like a possum, our instinct is to dash after what we enjoy doing and the bright lights of the moment. But to build a great business, you have to have one eye firmly on the future at all times.
The major lesson was this: irrespective of what area of professional services you operate in, the issues within your business remain the same. People, customers, selling, service, cash flow etc. I've always believed "the people with the best people always win, always." So yes, I was involved in recruitment, but in a deep way - only when it involved a leader of one of the companies I was responsible for.
I have been directly involved in recruitment for 30 years across all my roles. Throughout that 30 years, there was an apparent "war on talent." I always thought the war ended decades ago. Talent won!
What's changed is the pool of available talent keeps diminishing. New-age businesses like Google, Facebook and many others are plucking the cream of talent that traditionally would have evolved into my industry. Companies have become adept at using social media tools to source their own talent. The talent pool itself has become far more fickle - happy to jump jobs much faster - and loyalty has diminished. The key is to focus on your top tier of talent: find the best and lock them in. Do all you can to ensure longevity and loyalty, and accept inevitable churn at the lower levels.
Yes- I look for four things:
Create what I call the "Minimal Viable Candidate" criteria. Think hard about what the top four traits a candidate simply "must have" to be considered for the role. Then focus all your efforts to find candidates that score on average 80% against each of those four "must haves." ONLY meet those candidates that hit that level against your Minimal Viable Candidate. Too much time is soaked up by wasteful recruitment practices. Get very focused.
I've never followed a process or formula. Every potential candidate needs a bespoke approach. I very rarely check references UNLESS I ask for names of references that they have had a falling out with. Sometimes they will give you these names. I like to find out why things have not worked out rather than why things have worked out. But overall, I don't check references. I follow my gut. I focus on what makes them happy and inspired, and what their vision is of what they will be doing every day in five years time. I try to connect at a personal level to see what makes them tick.
And here is the biggest test of all. It's not what they say that really counts for me. It's the questions they ask. These questions tell you far more about who they are, how they think, how they operate, etc. than any answer to one of my questions. I love interviews where the candidate hijacks the session and drills me on what our company is like, how I am as a boss, and why this is the right place for THEM. That's more like it!
It's about being authentic. No one is perfect. Show some vulnerability. People make connections with other people through showing vulnerability.
For more updates from Chris Savage and Wrestling Possums, like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn, and subscribe to his YouTube Channel.
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