Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The real cost of recruitment

At 1.30am this morning I was at the poker table as my pal JP won a rare, monster pot, made even sweeter as he had bluffed the usually unbluffable 'Bingo' Bill and 'Joe 90'.  What is it about poker players and nicknames?  Anyway, the table banter was about how some people hate their jobs about as much as Vince Cable must do today!  This subject always makes me think of my cousin.

My cousin works for Google in California.  Unsurprisingly, he loves the work and the people but the thing that he talks about the most is that once Google have hired you they make you feel incredibly special and wanted.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently announced that all employees would get a 10% pay rise next year along with $1,000 holiday bonuses.  Along with other pay incentives announced I imagine that this helps keep people feeling wanted

I thought of this after my meeting yesterday with a senior computer forensics professional who is looking to make a move.  This person loves the work and the people at his company but wasn't at all impressed with the 1% pay rise that was offered after months of hard negotiating to justify any increase.  He appreciates times are tough but was able to clearly demonstrate that he is underpaid for the work he does.  However,  in the end, this whole process made him feel completely unloved which is why he wanted to meet with me.

From here, it is pretty plain to see how events will unfold.  With the help of his favourite recruiter (not that he needs one in reality) he will be offered a new job in the New Year for a small pay increase - the one he wanted from his current employer.  His old company will then:

  • unsuccessfully attempt to counter-offer the person with a higher salary than he originally wanted;
  • recruit someone else to replace him at a higher salary than the current employee;
  • incur a recruitment fee;
  • waste maybe 20+ valuable hours interviewing unsuitable candidates;
  • suffer a few months of reduced productivity whilst the new person gets up to speed;
  • risk a drop in morale as the current Team react to losing a good person;
  • potentially develop a negative perception for staff turnover in the tight CF market.

When looked at like this it is clearly madness.   Isn't it?

The reality - in my experience - is that this happens all the time.  In fact, the deal I was discussing in my last blog post actually collapsed over a tiny salary difference.  This company had been looking to fill that role for seven months and are now back to square one.

I appreciate budgets are tough but surely sometimes the bigger picture is what is really important?

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