There is a quote from Richard Pratt that has always stuck with me throughout my recruitment career: “Always hire the best person for the job, not the best available. If they’re available they’re not necessarily the best.”
One of the most costly decisions an organisation can make is hiring the wrong candidate. There have been numerous studies on the exact cost of hiring the wrong person. According to a survey by The Australian, a bad hire can cost a business 2.5 times the employee’s salary. No one can deny that it comes at a huge expense. Factors include hiring costs, wages and disruption costs, but no doubt the greatest expense attributed to a bad hire is the lost business opportunities and the effect this employee can have on a company’s brand. There is also the impact this employee can having on your existing workforce’s morale even long after they have left the business.
How often is it in business that we receive a phone call from a colleague or a customer who says they needed something yesterday? When we’re talking human capital for the property and construction sector, it’s often as a result of new business or a major project win, when there’s an urgency to hire someone to start working on the job right away.
What Pratt’s saying is that many of the best candidates are not looking for jobs; they are not applying for jobs because they are well looked after, and are too involved in their current work to be distracted by LinkedIn or other social networks, which may refer new opportunities. So if the best talent are firmly engaged in their current roles, performing at the top of their field with their current employers, why consider them as prospective candidates at all? You need the right approach, but it can take time.
The Melbourne construction industry is reaching boom time levels again. With the increased activity in the building sector comes a heightened demand for recruitment. So the temptation is to rush key hiring decisions, which can often result in poor decision-making in the recruitment process. In a buoyant market hiring the right executive is critical – it’s unlikely you’ll get a second chance to acquire key people from the same talent pool. Therefore, hiring decisions backed-up by a robust search and selection methodology, which allows time to properly evaluate all potential candidates and their suitably, will lead to better outcomes regardless of the urgency of the role.
Next time you think about racing to hire because you have a need, remember executive recruitment is not a hare sprint. Be the patient tortoise who plans for the journey ahead, does their due diligence, paces themselves through the search and selection process and knows when to pause to take a breath. It’s the way forward for effective senior appointments.