Attracting (and repelling) talent; a tale of two companies

Below are two recent scenarios I had with two MNC clients to help get talent on board, despite unusually rickety policies and procedures (Fortune 100 companies). One worked (just barely), one didn’t.

[framed_box] A)
The final candidate went through 10 rounds of interviews; face-face, VC, and flown to HQ for the final interview. He had a good and steady job with a very good branded company, but antsy to move and thought this new role would offer a larger challenge regionally and professionally. My client’s corporate culture is not an easy one to fit into, but all the interviewers and hiring manager felt he could definitely do it.

They ultimately made him an offer—slightly less than his current package. Uh-oh.. The CEO of his present company told him how valuable he was, that he was on the fast track for a big promotion if he stayed. He still wanted this new role, asked me if there was ANYTHING more that could be done, [rightly] said it was not all about the money, but still..

My client said, “No.” This was all they could do in that grade level, but over time he’d make more.

I reminded them that we had worked on this for months, a tricky search, which they acknowledged. Could we perhaps think innovatively, I nudged? The differential was not that great, they now had someone in their sights they were truly excited about.

“Sorry.” Nothing more can be done. “Are you nuts?” I asked (well, not quite..I questioned them again..). After much to-ing and fro-ing, we finally managed to piece together an offer with various components on sign-ons, RSU’s, higher insurance level, and a couple of other sweeteners. He ultimately signed,but it was like pulling teeth, not attracting talent. And should never have been that difficult and painful, never.
[/framed_box] [framed_box] B)
We found a very strong candidate our client was ecstatic about, and would require a move from one country in Asia to another. The hiring manager went over the basics with the candidate, and left the details to a low-level HR person. I asked who in Comp and Benefits could help with a ‘side-by-side’ to review tax differentials, relocation, and make sure it was explained and reviewed properly. “That’s HR’s job.” Uh-oh..

The candidate had already done her own side-by-side and was coming up a little bit short on tax issues and other variables, wanted verification and guidance at a senior level. I contacted some Comp & Benefits people I knew as well to get the figures lined up.

The client was getting irked, wanted to know why it was taking so long for her to decide. She had on email what the offer letter would more or less look like anyhow…

HR said the offer letter was forthcoming. It was emailed out–with someone else’s name and address on it, no mention of taxation issues, nor relocation, etc, signed by someone she didn’t know, a pastiche of an offer letter.

Her reaction was (understandably) to go over every line of the offer and came back with additional questions. That was not well received.

After nearly two weeks of back and forth with us and a very confused HR person, we were, sadly, not much further along. She withdrew her candidacy, and they lost a strong candidate. I’m sure they’ll find someone who will sign on easily, but likely make little impact.

When companies talk about “we only want the best”, many are unaware how to attract strong talent, often settling for the easy-and mediocre-hires.

There is not a ‘war for talent’. It is knowing how to romance–and thus attract-the best. It does take a village.

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