Increased fight for talent


With unemployment at its highest level in recent history it seems incongruent to be discussing how to source exceptional talent.  This is the reality of the South African job market.

Strategic and “difficult to fill” positions are seldom filled through standard recruitment processes and it is these roles and capabilities that are very often what the success of a company strategy hinges on. More and more, we observe companies upskilling their internal recruitment teams which certainly save costs when it comes to recruitment.  We would argue that these internal sourcing team are often not geared to fill the “difficult to fill” roles and it is in this instance, that a specialised search firm should be sought, preferably before a couple of wasted months have already passed.

Companies winning the competitive race to get scarce skill on board have a few things in common:

  • They understand that the talented individual is not looking to move positions
  • These candidates need to be professionally approached and given compelling reasons to consider a new opportunity.
  • They realise that top talent, although certainly not only motivated by money, will not move for a lower package.

Money “talks” and it can be in the form of ownership or long-term incentive but it usually requires improving their cost to company packages. There are very few candidates in our experience who have a sought-after skill, and are not “in the market”, who would leave their current roles for less than they are earning. It just doesn’t happen.

  • When moving a candidate from one city to another, these companies make the transition as smooth as possible.

When approaching a candidate who was not looking for a new opportunity and is now required to disrupt their family, the offer should contain a generous relocation allowance and assistance from a relocation expert where applicable.

  • The momentum of the recruitment process is of major importance in securing a “purple squirrel” candidate. Successful companies know that.

A company who keeps the momentum going between interviews and who provides prompt feedback after meetings to the search firm to keep the candidate informed, is more likely to secure the rare candidate and keep motivation levels high for the role at hand.

  • Streamlining Psychometric Testing

Taking a day out of one’s busy schedule for psychometric testing is a big ask and quite antiquated with the possibility of completing online testing in the comfort of one’s own home and chosen timeframe. There is still a place for some face to face testing but it is possible to reduce the timing of these tests to a few hours rather than a full day. It’s been known for candidates approached for a role who are asked to complete a full day of testing to withdraw from the process.

  • The Role is Paramount

Headhunted candidates focus on “the meat of the role” and the exposure that the role will provide them with. Companies who “win” in attracting highly sought-after skill understand that they need to fit the role around the candidate and make it as attractive for the specific individual as possible. They are not rigid about meeting only their own requirements, but aim for collaboration and a win-win for both parties.

As experienced search practitioners, we have deep insight to guide our clients through the difficulty of attracting rare talent and navigating the hurdles that can impinge on these processes.

We remain at your service for any of your “difficult to fill” executive search assignments.  Contact:  Carilyn Oxley –

Carilyn Oxley