5 ways to compete in today’s talent market

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In the continuing war on talent, proven operators open to considering new roles find many interesting options. According to a new report from JM Search, some of the best practices for gaining top talent include setting appropriate expectations, fully complying with due diligence, building trust and encouraging transparency, going beyond basics to know motivation, and know when to check and when to sell. With talent at a premium, the research firm suggests that clients, candidates and recruiters should work collaboratively throughout the hiring process.

November 29, 2021 – The amount of private capital raised and associated transaction activity this year has helped create a candidate-driven talent market. Proven operators open to considering new roles have found themselves with several compelling options to consider simultaneously, according to a new report from JM Search, as companies continue to compete in the ever-growing war for talent. “How to successfully compete and win in today’s talent market is on the minds of private equity hiring authorities,” said Andrew Henry, partner at JM Search and author of the report. “In executive search, our teammates are in the field every day, navigating the landscape of relentless business activity and competitive offers with clients and candidates.

JM Search offers some of the best practices implemented by the company and the lessons they have learned as the competition in the marketplace for senior executives continues to accelerate. These include setting appropriate expectations, fully complying with due diligence, building trust and encouraging transparency, going beyond the basics to know motivation, and knowing when to check and when. to sell. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Set appropriate expectations

It is a candidate market. “With top talent knowing a strong pipeline of competing offers and counter-offers, it is critical that early in the research process all hiring authorities understand the realities it takes to compete in the marketplace. ‘today, especially with regard to the required pace of a selection process, candidate’ life span ‘and competitive compensation,’ said Henry.

“At the start of a research, design the process for speed and efficiency,” noted Hayden Tewell, another partner of the company that serves the packaging and plastics industry. “We can speed up the process by defining all stages of the process, developing fairness illustrations, thinking ahead about compensation scenarios, and identifying ways to speed up the process when a compelling candidate is presented.” at the table. “

JM Search also notes that the impact of competition in the market has been substantial. For example, a strong economic offer a year ago may be under-market today. Likewise, a time gap in the process steps can create a window of time for applicants to step aside and accept a competing offer. By setting pay and deadline expectations up front, clients and recruiters can better align with candidate needs, according to the report.

2. Don’t shorten the diligence

The right hiring of executives will have a substantial impact on the value creation of a company. Finding the right talent is an important part of ensuring that the goals of the value creation plan are met. While it is essential to act quickly or risk losing a candidate in the face of competing offers, it is a long-term decision for both the employer and the candidate, ”said John Marshall, CEO of the recruitment firm.. “Taking the time to do your due diligence shouldn’t be overlooked by applicants or clients. “

JM Search says to define the critical path for your executive selection process and stay true to it, even if you are moving the process forward at a steady pace. Completion of all stages of the process, from review to interviews, reviews, listing, and offer terms, should not be bypassed.

3. Build trust and encourage transparency

It is common in today’s market for top talent to participate in multiple recruitment processes. It is essential that those who work most closely with the candidate act transparently to promote equal sharing of information regarding these competing processes. Staying connected with candidates is vital. For the best candidates, there will be competitive offers, new opportunities or counter-offers that emerge throughout the hiring process, ”said Jamey Cummings, partner in the firm’s cybersecurity practice.. “Companies don’t like losing top talent and will do everything possible to compete for it. Being transparent with applicants and asking them for the same transparency is crucial.

Related: A Look at the Current State of Private Equity Recruitment

The recruiting firm notes that transparency of information can include: Does the candidate have the offer in hand? Is a move necessary for the competing offer? For what role is there a stronger development opportunity? “Understanding where that opportunity stands in terms of timing, long-term opportunity, and alignment with motivation will help determine if a candidate is seriously committed to your opportunity,” Henry said. “A candidate’s reluctance to divulge even high-level directional information about other processes can often signal the candidate’s level of trust and commitment. Assessing a candidate’s level of engagement with your opportunity can be a key factor when deciding whether to speed up or slow down an interview process for that candidate.

4. Go beyond the basics to find out motivation

JM Search also says that while compensation is to be in line with the market and the candidate’s requirements, it’s the tangential factors that can make or break the result. Issues such as relocation, travel, team, succession, and the timing of a liquidity event can carry much more weight when evaluating an opportunity. “It’s important to fully understand a candidate’s motivation and keep them at the forefront of the process,” said John Hildebrand, founding partner of JM Search. “The smaller factors will emerge as the heavyweight in a competitive scenario.”


What’s Different About Hiring Leaders Today

Historically, the priorities for hiring senior executives have been heavily focused on the (hard) technical skills of an individual, as well as candidates with direct industry and functional experience. This formula has proven to be effective for many executive hires, but certainly not for all. “Under these requirements, we’ve seen too many losses, and sponsors and research companies have been challenged over time to become more analytical to understand what really works (and what doesn’t) when of hiring people to run successful businesses, ”said John Marshall, co-founder and CEO of JM Search. “My personal belief is that while a proven playbook may have worked well in the past, today’s market landscape has become more complex and competitive, and original thinking is now essential to driving results in a business.” he said.


According to the JM Search report, it is necessary to delve deep into a candidate’s motivation and competitive offerings to be competitive in today’s market. “Every leader is different, valuing location, upward mobility, impact, challenge, risk and other factors to varying degrees,” he said. “Understanding how each candidate’s specific motivations align with the opportunity will allow recruiters to better navigate clients throughout the hiring and offering processes. “

5. Know when to control and when to sell

“Hiring teams need to be ready to sell the opportunity early in the process because they are working in parallel to complete their due diligence on a candidate,” Henry said. “Hiring additional team members whose experiences, roles and perspectives match the candidate’s motivation and enhance the candidate’s discovery process regarding a new opportunity can increase the likelihood of winning in a competitive scenario. “

Customers need to know when to check and when to sell in a candidate market, ”said Bob Sargent, founding partner of JM Search.. “Focusing on motivating the candidate is key to selling the opportunity, building the relationship and engaging the candidate. If you don’t make the candidate understand why this is a compelling situation, trust me, your competition is.

What is the long term financial opportunity? What is the path to the next step? Who am I going to work with? What has been the experience of other operators who have worked with this equity sponsor in the past? Questions like these are a priority for many executives exploring new opportunities and should be a priority for hiring authorities seeking to hire such executives, according to the JM Search report.

Today’s market is very competitive. “In all functional areas, industries and geographies, talent is paramount,” said the JM Search report. “To navigate today’s market clients, candidates and recruiters need to work collaboratively throughout the hiring process. By remaining transparent, aligned and forward-looking, employers can successfully compete for talent, candidates can find the opportunity that best matches their motivations, and long-term value can be achieved.

Related: What’s Next for Talent Management in Private Equity

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, editor-in-chief; and Stephen Sawicki, Editor-in-Chief – Hunt Scanlon Media


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