It seems that all my clients are looking for senior-level people to join their management teams. Some have been looking for more than a year. They’re searching through “networking,” and aren’t ready to use — or pay for — the services of a search firm. Cost aside, they believe they have a better chance of finding the right person through personal networking rather than a search firm. This gives them a perceived vested interest in fast placement.
The ill logic here is that all the while, their businesses suffer, and the opportunity cost of not having that ideal person in the job (and producing) is many times the cost of his proposed annual salary.
Furthermore, in the recruitment situations I’ve experienced, there are always two great stumbling blocks:
1. relocation; and
Relocation, especially now, is a huge issue for two reasons. First, experienced senior people in their 40s and 50s are “settled” with kids in school, family and friends nearby, spouses with jobs, etc. More of these people are saying the “opportunity” doesn’t justify turning their lives upside down.
Second, many can’t sell their homes without a major loss.
The “fit” issue is about getting along with an entreprenuerial owner or corporate culture, and it involves great risk on both sides. The good employers realize that when they hire new senior-level employees they have to change, too. Over the years I’ve seen about a 50 percent success rate with new hires at the VP-and-above level.
So what’s the alternative? Here are a few points to consider:
- If you’re hiring, think seriously about the services of a search firm. Some are very good and well worth their fees.
- Start thinking more about “growing” your managers into directors and your directors into VPs. Are you training, mentoring and investing in the development of your people?
- Consider compensation programs as incentives to keep your best people, or risk losing them to competitive offers. Long-term incentive compensation is necessary for anyone at the VP level you want to keep.
- People work for people, not for companies. They work for bosses they like and respect. So if you’re the boss, make sure you’re one of the good ones. Also, evaluate your managers on their abilities to grow their direct reports.
- Most of all, think seriously about the real value of having the right person in the job. I suspect you’ll find that a $200K/year salary for a VP who can propel your business forward is relatively insignificant vs. the missed market opportunity. Remember the old adage, “Pay peanuts, get monkeys.”
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 383-5221 (direct line).Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221
Comments or questions are welcome.