With Brexit looming over Europe and the uncertainty around how it will affect all facets of trade and travel, one certain thing is that its impact on the Irish economy will be significant. This is more so in the sectors that are reliant on the Irish -United Kingdom trade link; agri-food exporters, tourism, and other sectors. In spite of the projected challenges, there is significant opportunity, a silver lining if you like – as Ireland is well placed to see an increase in the influx of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and companies looking to be domiciled in the EU, Dublin oftentimes seen as the viable option.
With this opportunity comes obligation and needs. The impact on infrastructure, cultural diversity and importantly, talent demands are projected to be significant. The challenges experienced in Executive recruitment today is primarily based on the impact of a candidate driven field. With the influx of multinationals and other organisations moving to Ireland, the demand for top talent increases and the power shifts more and more to the candidates.
Companies who have operated in Ireland for decades and have for so many years influenced the recruitment process will find that this is no longer the case. From experience, I can see that candidates have multiple options. They are valued in their current organisation and that is not by accident. Discerning employers are keen to hold on to top talents. They are increasingly investing in employee wellbeing, professional development thus ensuring employee engagement.
Talent is based on experience and experience is earned from years of performance. To attract top talents, employers must be proactive. Top talents need YOU to convince them to leave their current employers. Your offer need not be commensurate with their current package – it needs to be more than that.
This is the current position of the candidate driven market in Ireland. Add to that the impact of Brexit – traditional Irish employers are faced with the challenge of competing with multinationals for available talents. The need for introspection and objective assessment cannot be overemphasized.
A look at the recruitment timeline is a no brainer – a viable candidate is NOT going to wait for months for a decision to be made by a prospective employer. Organisations need to recognise that if you think a candidate is strong; you are most definitely not alone in that assessment. Your competitors are also aware of that and most significantly, so is the candidate. Re-evaluate your hiring timeline and be proactive in the recruitment process. If an ideal candidate is identified and is engaging, time wasting is not an option! Time and attention should be on relevant role alignment and person/cultural fit. At executive level, interview boards MUST be able to differentiate interview questions for entry level staff and know that using this approach at executive or middle management level is off-putting to top talents.
Have a critical look at the role specification, person requirement and the package you are offering – how realistic is it for your ideal candidate to leave his/her current employer and location for your offer? I have had candidates say; “the salary on offer is way below their current package”, “this is my dream role, but location is not suitable”, “I am expecting a promotion in a few months and it makes no sense to move for what is on offer”. Employers need to be prepared to face these eventualities and have options in place to attract this candidate. It is oftentimes said that once a problem is identified, you are halfway towards a solution.
When recruiting at any level, it is important to be professional and treat all parties involved in the hiring process with respect. This is important so as to avoid the need for awkward conversations in the near future that might leave you with fewer talent options. Employers cannot afford to be aloof in this market. The core to the success of a business is customer service, treat prospective candidates as you will treat your customers. As a matter of fact, they are your customers because they base their perception of your organisation on their experience with you prior to joining your organisation.
Companies need to explore the need for diversity, they cannot afford to overlook this critical issue. The ideal candidate does not have to fit a specific profile, there needs to be flexibility, thinking outside the box when it comes to attracting top talents is a must especially for SMEs. Blue chip companies and multinationals applied this for years hence their ability to attract top talents from diverse cultures and gender. With Brexit in the horizon, Irish companies cannot afford to exclude themselves from the diverse talent pool within and outside of Ireland.
For companies that retain Executive search firms, it is important to be proactive. Discuss and analyse your expectations and projected challenges with the head-hunter. Listen to feedback, monitor and re-evaluate as needed. Hiring managers have to adhere to company guidelines, however, it is important that they give realistic feedback to their line manager or the Board hence the need for objective analysis of the talent market relevant to the position on offer.
“Once an offer has been made, it is imperative that the prospective employers maintain constant communication with the incoming executive during the notice period. This helps the onboarding process and creates as seamless a transition as possible to the new culture. Feedback in the areas of induction preparations, payroll information and role relevant updates (where confidentiality is not breached) should present opportunities to keep the offeree engaged and possibly overcome any signs of doubt during this period of time” – Micheál Coughlan
In summary, hiring companies need to critically analyse their talent needs, re-evaluate the hiring process and timeline, be open to diversification and be proactive throughout the hiring process.
Written by Clementina Mustapha,
Executive Search Researcher, InterSearch Ireland