How companies can win the war for talent

As a result of skills shortages, particularly at top executive level, candidates possessing scarce skills with the necessary experience to back them up are in the highest demand, locally and globally.

Yet it is alarming that, in light of the current skills climate, interview processes are becoming more cumbersome and long-winded than ever.

Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, MD of Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters, says that arduous interview processes are off-putting and often result in a company losing its most promising candidates, some of whom are expected to undergo interview processes that can last for several months.

“Complicated matrix management structures that require a unanimous decision from various management teams are one of the factors at fault. Although this alludes to a more democratic corporate culture, a simple hurdle like coordinating diaries can delay the appointment of a candidate for months,” says Goodman-Bhyat.

She further explains that in this globally competitive skills market, desirable candidates now have the luxury of choice.
South African corporates are competing not only with one another, but also with companies abroad. Skilled individuals who are in demand find themselves being wooed by more than one organisation at a time, and the company that can complete their interview process and extend an offer first will succeed in securing top candidates.

Furthermore, in the battle for talent, employers need to market their company as a desirable place to work. Hiring processes are a key marketing tool for companies, providing an opportunity for potential employees to get a sense of the organisation.

“Deloitte’s recently released Best Companies to Work For survey reinforces what we regularly advise our clients: attractive offers are not only about salary. Companies must offer candidates interesting and challenging work, the opportunity to develop and grow, flexibility and an open, trusting corporate culture,” says Goodman-Bhyat.

If a company’s hiring process creates the impression that ingrained disorganisation and a red-tape culture will slow employees’ growth and limit their flexibility and access to challenging work, candidates will accept a position elsewhere.

“Word of an individual’s negative experience with a particular company can travel fast in tightly knit top executive circles. This can be detrimental to a company’s reputation. Whilst we are by no means suggesting that interview processes compromise thoroughness, companies must adopt a balanced approach that is comprehensive, concise and attractive to skilled individuals,” concludes Goodman-Bhyat.

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