Hiring managers are under increased pressure to retain their best and brightest employees. Yet, now that it’s a job seeker’s market, it may also be time to do a little house-cleaning. The solution is to have an action plan that keeps you in control and out in front of the competition.

The State of Employment

How would you currently assess the condition of your organization? To understand your hiring strategy, start by generating three lists.

The first list ranks the open positions in your organization by the degree of internal dysfunction and/or lost income that each has caused. That list generates the sequence in which you would like ideally to fill the openings. However, the most urgent openings may have the smallest candidate pools, so the list is more of a guide to getting started than a guarantee of the order you’ll finish.

The second list provides the name of those “keepers” in your organization who would cause severe disruption if they left, especially on their own timing. To the extent that any keepers might be particularly vulnerable to outside offers (think outside reputation and recognition, previous history of changing jobs, recent mood changes, lunches spent at the computer, etc.), that information is noted as well. List number two does not predict who actually will leave, since quitting consists of many variables, yet it does identify those who should become the objects of your company’s affection and encouraged to stay. In far too many companies, employee retention has suffered from neglect.

List three is a compilation of your weakest links. They know who they are. Their fellow employees know who they are. That’s a simple list.

Once the lists are compiled, the magnitude of the task ahead becomes more evident. Not every position opening will be filled as quickly as you hope. Not every key employee will leave. And a few weak links may have ties that bind. Nonetheless, you will be giant strides ahead of all those companies who assume the status quo will go on forever.

Early Action to Acquire Talent

Always a challenging task, since superior people are in short supply, it becomes even more difficult in a tight market where employers everywhere are clamoring for top talent.

Those organizations that are savvy enough today to begin acquiring superstars, while protecting those already on board, have an advantage that won’t last forever. And at the highest organizational levels, there is an incredible opportunity to attract the kind of leaders who can focus their companies on long-term wealth creation.

Use Search Consultants Wisely

Search professionals are a sounding board and confidant to hiring managers, not to mention an extension of the Human Resource Department’s toolbox. They bring an understanding of the client company, its industry, and the employment marketplace to bear upon the successful management of the search process and identification of the perfect fit. They also contribute an independent point of view. In other words, these human-capital experts are consultants, as opposed to order-takers.

As you begin calculating your organization’s hiring strategy, take advantage of the outside counsel and assistance that a trusted search consultant can provide. Demand his or her competence, communication, and confidentiality. In return, offer your candor, cooperation, and commitment.


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