MANAGEMENT: Companies Waiting For "Superman"
Recent Western Cape Business News
Executive search specialists are experiencing increasing demand for highly skilled and experienced senior executives, as certain sectors show signs of recovery and growth. But despite the scarcity of professionals who meet the demands of highly challenging roles, companies are currently inclined to be ultra-cautious and often delay making decisions on important appointments.
“Towards the end of 2010, companies started pushing the green light on senior level positions, awarding search mandates with a greater sense of urgency than we’ve seen since the beginning of the global credit crisis,” observes Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, Managing Director of Cape Town's executive headhunting firm, Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters.
“Yet despite the demands for top people to fill critical and urgent needs, we have found that companies have become more selective and careful about making permanent appointments than ever,” she says.
Goodman-Bhyat ascribes the current state of play to a reluctance by companies to make long-term, expensive appointment commitments, especially as the lingering memory of the recent global financial crisis continues to smart.
“In the past, there was more money to go around, the climate was easier, and making a mistake with an appointment did not amount to the proverbial end of the world. But now, budgets have become tight and making the right choice, the perfect choice, has become an imperative. There is more at stake.”
Even highly qualified candidates are put through the interview and psychometric testing mills, and over and above this, the chemistry between the parties must be right.
“Prospective employers are particularly sensitive to the signals conveyed during interviews. For instance, is a candidate too long-winded, does he or she lack presence, does she display the right personal values to fit in with the company culture?” says Goodman-Bhyat.
“Companies are now more inclined to decline candidates who in all other respects boast a great track record, but who don’t seem to be a great ‘fit’ when it comes to the more intangible measures of culture, values and personal style,” says Goodman-Bhyat.
She says that, to avoid wasting time and making expensive mistakes, it has become more important than ever for companies to ensure they enter the recruitment process with a reliable and experienced executive search partner at their side, who is able to identify not only the right skills and experience profile for the role, but also the right personal fit for the organisation.
“Superman is out there. But the search process is no longer a move that can be contemplated without the expert assistance of a partner who understands the DNA of the company to which a candidate must be matched.”
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