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Max Heppleston

Why can't we find any suitable candidates?

Max Heppleston shares some pointers for firms struggling to attract qualified candidates.

We are often asked for feedback from Investment Management firms to help them to understand why they struggle to attract and retain the right candidates throughout the hiring process.

Having a strong employer brand in the marketplace doesn’t mean that you can conduct a half-hearted recruitment process. The following points may seem obvious to some, but it’s easy to gloss over a few in the rush to go to market on the hire!

Why can’t we find any qualified candidates?  Why did the candidate drop out? Why did they reject the offer?

The first and most important point is that you need to manage expectations in all aspects from the get-go.
This is what we focus on here at Lawson Chase, for our clients and candidates; we help minimise dropouts and rejections, manage expectations of salary and overall package (bonus/commission etc included) from the beginning from both the candidate and client perspectives, job role responsibilities, and career progression and desires from the start.

This is key to having the hiring process run as smoothly and transparently as possible. If you neglect any of the above, then you run the risk of getting to the end of a lengthy process only to be shocked by something such as the candidate wanting a higher salary than what is set in the budget for the particular hire.

You are trying to replace a person, not a position.
Most people tend to forget that people have to start somewhere, and as their role develops over time, they learn more skills and can therefore take on more responsibilities. Your employees have adapted and become highly skilled in their roles since they started at your firm, but often, have moved on to another firm with a promise of further career progression and/or money. Therefore, no candidate for the same starting salary is really going to compare. You will need to think back to where this person started, and if they need to cover additional responsibilities, you may need to pay more, or move some accountabilities, or allow areas for development in the hire.

You are merging 2 or more jobs together.
Why? We find that this almost never works, UNLESS the roles are very similar and there is already some crossover. But if they are 2 different skills sets, or departments, its likely that this person simply doesn’t exist. This is extremely unattractive to candidates, especially those who are keen to progress into being a specialist in their area of expertise.
This links back into the previous comment about replacing a person not a position.

You are unsure of what you are looking for
Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are looking for in a potential candidate before going to market. These need to be made clear and concise in the job spec, specifically in the job responsibilities section, and candidate requirements.
This is key to attracting top talent, it may sound obvious, but you need to know the key responsibilities and deliverables for the hire you are looking to make before you go to market, not halfway through the process or towards the end of the process. If you have multiple stakeholders involved in the decision-making process, you must ensure your expectations are aligned.

You take too long in your hiring process
If the candidate is actively looking for a new role, and they are a good candidate, they won’t be on the market long as other firms can and will move when they see strong talent.
If you are pursuing a passive candidate, just because they are ‘not looking’ for a new job now, doesn’t mean you’ll keep them engaged in your process if you become non-communicative or take too long to progress their candidacy through the interview stages.

Why would a candidate want to work for a business that takes 3 weeks to review a CV?

Low salary
This one should be obvious, but if your salary is below market average, your candidates will be too.

Unless you are willing to compromise on anything on the spec, or experience level, a below-market salary will hamper your talent pool. If you are willing to be flexible around experience level and prior background, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to do, especially in sales and marketing (you can get some less experienced, yet passionate rising marketing and sales stars!)

If you are being mindful of all of these points, yet still struggling to find the right candidates, it may be worth opening up the search a little and thinking outside the box. This may help you to get closer in finding to what you are looking for, feel free to read my earlier article called Wealth & Investment Management Marketing - Why you should hire from outside your sector, or reach out for further guidance and I would be happy to speak.

At Lawson Chase we have specialist consultants covering a variety of fields, all with strong search backgrounds and experience running specialist searches. We pride ourselves in building relationships with our clients and candidates, based on trust and transparency.

Thank you for reading, feel free to share with your networks!

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