Written by: Adam Lloyd

From the 80’s classic movie, Risky Business, a young Tom Cruise quotes “sometimes you just have to say what the…” you can improvise the rest. Sometimes you do need to go for it. Capitalize on the moment and opportunity, putting aside methodical tendencies. Risky? Perhaps. But, in highly competitive talent markets, it is often necessary. If you snooze you lose and your competitors will win.

3 out of 7. That is the ratio of hires to candidates-presented a client of mine made recently. The initial intent was to hire one person for one open position, but when the quality of talent was in front them they stepped out of their normal protocol. The company I am referring to is not a nimble start-up or family owned operation, this is a multinational, publicly traded company that is accustomed to decision-making that is put through the ringer. Competition is on the rise from what it has been in the past 5 years in the Energy sector and leaders are moving. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), industry hiring has been up 20% since just 2012. As we experience growth in oil & energy it will result to a domino effect into engineering, business services, technology, and health care for new employees etc. If you are not seeing the competition for talent in your industry today, believe me, it is coming.

I witnessed a “slow moving ship” of a company transform itself into a speedboat, not only from fear of losing out to the competition but by incorporating their long-term hiring strategy into right-now decision-making. For organizations that have a long-term talent hiring plan in place and realize they can gain the upper-hand in their flexibility to act today, they will have the competitive advantage. It sounds like a simple case of first come first serve and to some degree it is.

Going back to the Energy sector, the company that created opportunities for talent that fit into a long-term strategy won in multiple ways.

1) They secured the desired employee by acting before their competitors

2) Because it was a backfill hire, they gained a long transition period with the incumbent

3) Their hire was better positioned for success by being acclimated in the culture longer

4) They gained a number of referrals from this individual over the longer time period

5) Internal and external recruiting/sourcing costs were reduced or re-purposed.

There is something to be said for processes and protocol, organizations and society in general cannot operate fluidly without structure. There are also times when reward outweighs risk and it pays to act on impulsive (not careless) behavior. By gaining internal buy-in to act with flexibility, having trusted sources of market intelligence and a little intuition; you will be ahead of your competition with the talent to prove it.