Is there such a thing as “The Perfect Match” when it comes to recruitment ? Should companies wait until they find “The One” ? Or should they chose a Candidate even if he or she does not have all the required qualities? The same can be said of the Candidate – should they wait for the job of their dreams, only to miss out on The Perfect Match job-wise? This is what we are about to briefly explore and with some concrete examples. What is clear in our experience and research has shown that it is largely a candidate-driven market in Switzerland and internationally, where unemployment is low, the demand for specific competencies and languages is high, combined with a “mind set” of wanting it all, no matter how long it might take and at what cost…
High hiring requirements and a shortage of candidates
As a recruitment agency, here are some examples of requests for positions based in the Suisse Romande region :
- Seeking a junior/mid-level candidate with bilingual French and German, as well as good English, with a background in financial services industry used to working in customer support administration and operations. Strong academics – degree in Economics, Finance preferred. A stable person, willing to commit to the entire length of this contract. Available immediately or at short notice for a fixed term contract of 12 months, happy to work at 80%.
- A dynamic and driven business manager who understands Front office from a category 4 or 5 bank in Switzerland. 5+ years’ experience in this field with fluent English and French. A stable career path, ideally coming from a small structure, where the experience must be coming from a bank. Immediately available/at short notice, able to commit to a 6 to 9 month project. Full-time strongly preferred; part-time considered (80% at a push), but must be able to commit to a 08.30-18.30 day. No home office.
- A solid, banking or insurance professional with strong operations/back office experience in lending or credit. Mortgage experience a plus. Fluent German at business level a must as well as mother-tongue French. Happy to work at 60% for this permanent contract. A stable career path and committed on a long-term basis. Home office one day per week.
- An HR administration professional who is happy in an administrative support role and who has built up at least 5 years+ in this domain. The person must have the HRSE diploma. Content to remain at this level on the HR admin side and not looking to evolve to HR business partner. A stable career path and a discrete, professional person with immaculate presentation used to working in a corporate environment. This job is working at 70% and is office-based. No other part-time HR jobs may be combined with this position, in case of conflict of interest.
- An experienced relationship manager for a small private bank in Geneva, who’s role it will be to not only maintain the client base but also provide investment ideas and product solutions. Comfortable and used to working in a small structure; full-time only with long hours (no home office); experience must come from a bank and no hunter profiles considered. Strong experience on complex derivatives a must. A stable career path and able to withstand pressure and stress. Fluent French and fluent English.
So how do we do it? Each case is different and is a mix of hard and soft skills to be examined, as well as the cultural fit. But we have seen beginning in 2022 and even more so in 2023, that in the candidate-short market place, clients are having to move faster than ever before to snap up the perfect match and be willing sometimes to compromise. That does not necessarily mean that Clients or Candidates need to “lower their expectations”. Just perhaps change them a little or be willing to keep more of an open mind. That could lead to hiring the right talent !
Of course a lot of technical jobs simply cannot be learned from scratch and a proven track record is a must. But there are plenty of other examples when technical skills can be picked up or learned “on the job” or with an appropriate training, if the person doesn’t necessarily tick all the boxes from Day 1.
Why recruitments have become so hard ?
As normal, at Finders, we work closely with our Clients to manage each search like a project with a clear strategy, action plan and goal to achieve a successful result. This includes a time line agreed with the Client as well as a clear brief on what we are supposed to be looking for, what has already been done on the search (if applicable) and whether there are any elements the Client is willing to compromise on. The search then starts and we follow all wishes, wants and needs. Weeks pass, sometimes months (sometimes years!) to find The Perfect Match …. Constant and consistent communication is maintained with our client. Perhaps we pop in for another meeting or have a chat by phone or by TEAMS to re-examine the brief and to assess expectations… To no avail… The brief must remain the same please, Sally!
There is more often than not an ideal candidate out there who might have been over-looked purely because “on paper” they did not tick all the boxes
Update chats with Candidates are done, are you still looking, are you more willing to look at other things now? We see it all: candidates who love the job that the client does not wish to hire, candidates that the client wishes to hire but the candidate signs elsewhere or who is not interested in the position sufficiently, there is no “chemistry” despite a match of hard skills, there is a great “click” but sadly the IQ testing was not successful, the candidate lives too far away, the candidate was going to relocate but the spouse has changed their mind, the client has decided that fluent German is not sufficient in this case, it must be at “native” level, the salary level was line with expectations but a better offer, paying more, has popped up elsewhere, personal circumstances have changed all of a sudden and the candidate cannot now change jobs, the candidate verbally accepts the offer but pulls out during the background checks screening and signs elsewhere, the Client has now lost the Head Count approval for this job as the process has taken longer than expected, so can now no longer hire… And the list goes on. Would changing what we all see as The Perfect Match have changed any of these scenarios? Perhaps!
How to make a success of the most complicated recruitments ?
What can we at Finders do as the Recruiter to avoid these pitfalls before they happen (ideally) ? And how we can help find solutions for these sorts of typical scenarios if they do arise in order to support not only our Clients but our Candidates too?
Our previous blog post “Sourcing the Impossible” gave some insights about what to do in these cases. But perhaps compromising on what might be considered The Perfect Match could be a good start as there is more often than not an ideal candidate out there who might have been over-looked purely because “on paper” they did not tick all the boxes. Conversely, it is also our job to educate Candidates and to get them to “open their eyes” to being employed by a Client that perhaps was not their First Choice, keeping in mind that we all wish for a win: win for the long-term.
Time has been wasted; it’s just not working!
Clearly, our experience has shown that Clients are more willing to compromise on certain elements than others and it is very mandate-specific. For example, in theory, the expectations around the “wish list” for a temporary hire should be perhaps not quite as rigid as for a permanent hire, as well as the salary higher. Can the low hours of a part-time contract be increased slightly to make the job more attractive to a wider audience or vice versa? Is there a way the person could have an intensive language course to get up to the necessary required level?
Is the Candidate willing to “just meet the Client and go from there” rather than dismissing the opportunity out of hand completely at first glance?
Technical areas can be learned, but personality fit cannot be changed. That is why, as a recruitment agency, we use TLP Navigator for personality testing and beyond. This is one area where we feel The Perfect Match is more important. The rest is pretty much up to the Recruiter at Finders to provide their added value to both parties – Client and Candidate. After all, the Perfect Match was not created in one day!
The art of knowing clients and candidates
Of course, it also comes down to knowing your Client very well and knowing your Candidate equally as well. At Finders, when we work on a recruitment, we strive to really get to know the culture, not only of the organization but also the team. We also spend a great deal of time meeting the Candidate to really get to know what is important to them and which areas they “think” they are not willing to compromise on, as sometimes both sides can be pleasantly surprised and it is just a question of keeping the channels of communication open. There is no point in trying to fit a square peg into a round hole if in the long-term, it will not work. Compromising on The Perfect Match therefore is not an exact science.
Time will also tell as it is sometimes impossible to know before someone starts a new job whether it will be 100% fit. Clients that have the luxury of time on their side, could perhaps afford to wait longer than others before hiring. If Clients and Candidates are willing to compromise on what they consider The Perfect Match (on both sides!), this might make for a richer and more diverse team with a high level of performance and an enriching experience for all parties.
In summary, for the various recruitments I made, I can happily report that compromises were made on some of my job examples above. For example changing the area of experience the person must be coming from in terms of industry segment, increasing the working percentage from part-time to full-time, some remain open and the search for The Perfect Match goes on! Onwards and upwards 😊 !