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RECRUITING IN 2022 – Applying Lessons Learned In 2021

RECRUITING IN 2022 – Applying Lessons Learned In 2021

We experienced a stressful recruiting environment in 2021. An unprecedented number of jobs stayed open in 2020 so it became increasingly important to make key hires in 2021- particularly as the economy continued to rebound. This created an almost frenetic search for talent, leading at least in part to substantial wage gains, pressure to offer higher salaries in response, and a lot of frustration when recruiters simply could not find the right candidates.

2021 provided a few lessons that should influence your approach in 2022:

  1. No company is immune from a talent drain, but there are things you can do (apart from salary adjustments) to help you keep and attract people. Important among these is to maintain a strong and motivating corporate culture, which should be objectively evaluated rather than assumed to exist. If your culture “isn’t ideal”, you will struggle to keep and/or attract key talent. Again, take an objective look, and consider reading what your employees are saying on various websites (e.g., Glass Door).

  2. Take a fresh look at your benefits programs, particularly health care, longer-term incentive plans (some form of ownership), and the key features of your 401(k). These elements are often not as expensive to adjust as the salary adjustments that will otherwise be needed to attract and keep your most important talent – and, these are “sticky” features. Try benchmarking your programs.

  3. Market surveys purport to provide accurate salary ranges, but these are not always current or helpful. Some information is better than others, but nothing is as accurate as a deep dive into your specific market for your specific role. There is no replacement for getting a first-hand, real-time understanding of the competitive salary levels. In 2021 this simply proved far more accurate than broad surveys that were often based on older information.

  4. Pursuant to #3, in today’s world, you need to hire the right recruiting firm.

What to consider when selecting an executive search firm:

  1. Use a firm that understands you and the roles you need to hire. Ask them to demonstrate why they have the right experience and ask if the recruiters that will actually work on your search have that right experience. Nothing is more frustrating than receiving large batches of irrelevant candidate resumes. Quantity never trumps quality in the search business.

  2. Make sure that your recruiting firm uses the most advanced data search techniques, otherwise, they will struggle. 2021 proved beyond any doubt that only those firms with the right data scraping skills and techniques can unlock the true population of passive candidates on your behalf. The era of large, in-house candidate databases being maintained at search firms is over. The era of informal networks is over as well. Go with technology.

  3. Pay for performance, not brand. 2021 was a difficult year for many of the old-school search firms that could not perform under the conditions that now exist, and companies struggled to be locked up in longer-term retainer agreements without much activity.

  4. Ask prospective firms about their current performance metrics, how your total addressable candidate population is reached, the average time to first candidate hand-offs (speed), the hand-off to interview ratios (accuracy), and the percentage of candidates placed that stayed with their new organization. Consider getting some current and relevant recommendations from their client base.

At Frederick Fox, we handle a range of positions but we specialize in filling senior Finance and Technology roles. Our team is staffed exclusively with experienced recruiters, and we work on a contingency fee basis. The contingency model is best for both us and our clients. Our team members are only paid if we perform, but they understand that it is a performance that drives repeat business and improves their income potential. We selectively seek longer-term client relationships, and we attract only top recruiters because of a positive culture and because we compensate better than others in the industry. We have carefully selected our team for relevant technical knowledge. We have more than one ex-CFO on the team, so we readily understand any need in Finance and Accounting. On the Technology side, we have extensive experience filling all types of technology roles and multiple subject matter experts on the team. Perhaps most importantly, Frederick Fox uses the broadest and most advanced set of search tools in the industry, allowing us to uncover candidates that others simply cannot.

As we enter 2022, consider your level of preparedness for hiring key positions during the year. Honestly assess your culture, take a fresh look at your competitiveness on compensation and benefits. If you feel your recruiting efforts might be helped by establishing a new recruiting partnership, then we hope you will consider using Frederick Fox (www.frederickfox.com) You will experience a new level of service. We deliver.

Bill Spengler
Managing Partner, Frederick Fox