What if one of your best people leaves?
What impact would that have on your business?
Can your team take up the slack while a new person is hired?
Replacement of a key team member can take 6 months – maybe longer.
You may get lucky, and the first person that comes along is the right fit, is available right now, and really wants to join your company.
But you would have to have a lot of luck on your side..... and the stars would have to be aligned for this to happen.
But on the balance of probability, the person your business needs is going to be: hard to find, will currently be in a job (so may not want to move), is in demand from other companies, and if they decide to join you, will have a long notice period (probably 3 months).
I have seen it take a year – from start to finish.
Here is what happened.
My client had a senior director resign.
They got in touch with me.
But it took time for them to figure out exactly what the role would be for the new hire – it would not be exactly the same role as the person who was leaving - a few changes, a few nuanced tweaks to make role fit where the business was going in the future.
No major changes in the role, but sufficiently significant that all the other team members had to agree – because it affected their roles.
And it took an age.
When the role spec was finally agreed, I got to work and produced a short list of three candidates.
All were a strong fit for the company and the role.
The client was pleased and wanted to interview all three candidates.
It took an age to organise the interviews.
A number of people in the leadership team had to interview the candidates.
They were all busy.
Interviewing the candidates was a priority, but not as high a priority as their demanding deliverables.
Diary alignment was a nightmare.
The candidates all had demanding deliverables too.
They had limited availability in their diaries to come for interview.
So, I hear you ask, were the candidates really committed to interviewing for this role?
Well yes, they were.
But they were honourable people.
They didn’t want to behave in an inappropriate manner – they had respect for their existing employers.
But they did their best.
The interviews eventually happened.
It took weeks. Drifted into months.
Meantime the company was losing business opportunities because this role was unfilled.
Finally one candidate emerged as the clear favourite.
The client to decided to make an offer.
It took an age to generate the offer.
Several people had to agree on the details of the offer and it took an age for everyone to “tick their box”.
When the offer emerged, the salary was low – only slightly above what the candidate is on at the moment.
He was keen to join, but there was no reason for him to move if there is no incentive.
After all, his current job was pretty good.
Why would he move unless he was progressing his career?
Was the candidate only interested in money I hear you ask?
It comes down to psychology.
People want to feel wanted.
They want to feel important.
They want to feel valued.
If a hiring company makes a low ball offer, the candidate feels undervalued.
Basic human psychology.
This mind set changes radically if the candidate’s personal situation is different (such as they are unemployed, or they are desperate to leave their existing employer).
Back to the story.
The salary was reconsidered, this took an age.
After a bunch of wrangling, the candidate accepted the offer.
He then resigned.
So far this has taken 7 months.
His current employer wanted him to stay, but realised they cannot retain him, but they hold him to his 6 month notice period.
To give them time to hire someone else.
He didn’t want to hang on for 6 months so he negotiated a shorter notice period.
This took more time.
They compromised on 3 months’ notice.
But they set objectives for those 3 months and he was going to have to work flat out to achieve those objectives.
So he wanted a holiday before he starts the new role.
Eventually a start date is agreed.
The candidate worked his notice period, went on holiday and started the job on the agreed date.
One year after the process starts.
The good news is that he was very successful in the role and it all worked out well.
But why one year? Why did it take so long?
Despite my advice from the sidelines, the overall business objective was forgotten.
No one internally took overall responsibility for driving the process.
There were too many people in the decision making process.
So how to prevent this happening?
The answer is process and planning.
Anticipating issues before they arise.
Did it matter?
Yes it did.
The company lost out on business opportunities because the role was vacant for 9 months.
Is this your company?
Are you prepared for this eventuality?
About Ross Search Consulting.
Ross Search Consulting specialises in helping technology and tech led businesses to fulfil their strategic business objectives, by making the right hire for vital leadership and senior management roles.
If you would like to discuss hiring at manager or director level for your business, contact me on 07766 720889 or firstname.lastname@example.org