You Can’t Have It All: Prioritizing What You Want in a New Hire

The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers are out, and the change in the market has been… somewhat insignificant, to be honest. Compensation costs rose 1%, the unemployment rate remained relatively the same, and inventory continued to be low. What does that mean for employers?

If you’re looking to bring on new talent, you’ve still got your work cut out for you. Don’t worry! There is still great talent out there, but employers must be more strategic and realistic about what they can expect from potential employees.

Everyone knows there is no “perfect hire” or “purple squirrel,” as we call it in the executive recruiting world.

In my 25+ years in recruiting across a wide variety of functions, industries, and company structures, I’ve found it is nearly impossible to find a candidate with every skill. There is always some compromise required to fill most positions.

~Ken Schmitt, Founder & CEO, TurningPoint Executive Search

How do you determine what compromises are reasonable? Follow these three steps…

Focus on what’s Mission-Critical for the role and the organization

Your organization needs people, and they need them now. But what precisely do you need them for? Before you can decide who to hire, you need to be clear about why you’re hiring. Are you replacing someone who left? If so, was that role critical to the organization’s success, or can the existing team reasonably carry that load? If they cannot, get specific about what mission-critical skills and experience a new hire needs to bring to the table. Be prepared to prioritize. Not every skill set or experience holds the same weight, so you will want to rank their importance. You might want to prioritize industry experience over expertise in a specific role or increase the compensation package to include a relocation package if in-office time is a must.

Identify the skills and experience that can be learned

Remember, even the most experienced professional has room to grow and learn. While it might be nice to have a new Director of Marketing who can hit the ground running from Day 1, Minute 1, that’s not likely. However, can they begin at a swift pace because their previous industry was “close enough,” and you have resources available to help fill this temporary gap? Perhaps this is their third marketing director role, but your industry is new to them. Are there industry leaders within your organization or network who could help carry the baton or coach them for a bit? You don’t want to lose a fantastic candidate who is a cultural and role fit just because they have a bit to learn about your industry – that can be learned!

Set reasonable expectations

Just because you paid big bucks for your new CEO doesn’t mean they will knock it out of the park their first time at bat. You paid big bucks because the market demands it in times like these, not because she is perfect. All new employees, no matter how good or how experienced, need time to adapt to cultural and organizational changes. Developing a solid onboarding program goes a long way to making that learning curve enjoyable, not painful. They also give employers and employees reasonable expectations for the first few months. (Did you know employers who focus on retention from the get-go are more likely to have long-term, successful hires?)

Hiring/Executive Recruiting