Lateral Hiring: Recruiting Mid to Senior Level Talent

Lateral Hiring: Recruiting Mid to Senior Level Talent

Lateral hires are "the new black". It is all the fashion and companies are now wondering what they can do to attract the best existing and established talent from other organizations that are not paying enough attention to retention. Statistics show that this is true. For example, in 2011, lateral hiring in the legal industry was at an all-time high with a recent report showing a 22 percent increase over 2010 when it had dropped to its lowest level since 2000. Recruitment firms are noticing an identical trend for mid to senior level movement across the board in various industries, and we at JTF Recruitment Consultants are making it a priority to ensure that our clients are best equipped to attract and retain highly sought after talent.

So why is this happening, and what can companies now do to ensure that they are competitive in a marketplace where experience could provide a speedy path to growth?

If you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur.
The new trend in lateral movement can provide organizations with un-paralleled growth in a short period of time, making them highly competitive in a difficult market. However, if lateral hiring is done in haste, without the appropriate support, it can be an expensive waste of time. Unfortunately, many companies recruit for lateral hires as if they were recruiting for entry-level positions. They forget that to obtain top talent, they must conduct extensive due diligence and present their organization in the most favorable light. Simple advertising and interviewing will not achieve their ultimate goal, and as we all know, the wrong hire can be so expensive and time consuming that it is actually a detriment to the entire firm. Attraction and retention of the most desirable mid to senior level professionals with the requisite experience can involve hundreds of hours of work. The biggest mistake is to think you are going to find a gem by simply placing an advertisement and waiting for them to find you.

So what's a business to do? First, know what you want. Have a clear idea of the type of individual you need in order to be a success. This involves education, experience, personality fit, and if applicable, a business following. It seems simple, however, the broader a search is, the less likely you will find what you want; a mistake that many companies are making in a scramble to add or replace departing professionals. Initially, you should outline what your perfect person looks like. Then, if necessary, expand the search from there.

Second is to know who you are and what you have to offer. No longer does this simply mean salary and compensation packages. Money is not the only thing that motivates movement. And interestingly, as I have found, is usually not the key determining factor for a lateral hire. As a company, knowing who you are and what you bring to the table is probably the most important part of the process and the one that is most often ignored. Remember, you are not recruiting for an entry-level employee who is grateful that you simply looked their way. You are looking for the big fish in what is becoming a very small pond.

Hiring is a time consuming and expensive process and it is important to be sure that the person you are making an offer to meets your needs.
However, I have seen too many times, organizations lose the right candidate because they waited too long. Many companies have managing partners, hiring committees, HR divisions, and a whole line of people and processes in place before an offer can be extended. A lot of times organizations tend to take weeks or even months after interviewing a candidate they like to extend an offer because of processes, scheduling, and thinking there may be someone better out there. It is understandable that bringing on a high-level professional is somewhat a leap of faith, however, if you have taken the time to engage in the above protocol, and if you are working with a knowledgeable recruiter who you trust, there should be no reason to delay. Plan your search in advance so that when you begin interviewing you know what you are looking for, you know what you have to offer, and you are confident that you have a representative sampling of the marketplace. Careful planning will avoid losing your next best hire and will allow you the comfort you need to build your company into a powerhouse in the industry.