Our Experts | Mike Hoffman
Most companies still fill positions with a focus on long-term succession planning and the objective of hiring people who are going to work at the company for rest of their career. Consequently, most employers are focused on hiring people with “2-7 years of previous experience,” or something of that nature. There are several issues with this approach. First of all everyone is fishing from the same “2-7 year” talent pool and there just aren’t enough quality candidates in that pool. Secondly, it excludes a large portion of the workforce which includes experienced, loyal and talented individuals who are looking for more flexibility and in some cases part-time employment. Let’s think for a moment what your workplace could be like if these limitations didn’t exist.
As a recruiter, I often find workers who are looking for work-life balance. It’s an increasing trend across the nation, for younger and older workers alike. In fact, a survey done by Advise America found that 87 percent of U.S. workers feel overworked – no wonder people are looking for more flexibility! So what does this have to do with company succession planning?
The Search for the “Perfect” Candidate
Well, most of the talent I recruit are individuals with 10, 15 or 20+ years of experience who are looking for better work-life balance. They are considered “overqualified” for many of the available positions. When companies are looking for someone to fit into their succession plans, they discount workers with more years of experience than the position requires and they rarely consider part-time employees. Because of this, the companies can spend a very long time and a great deal of money searching for the perfect candidate when the perfect candidate is already available and ready to work. They typically keep searching for the perfect fit (years of experience being a key factor) rather than looking at senior workers because of compensation and cultural fit concerns. This is where I come in.
Meet Your Match: Experience and Flexibility
If I can find an individual with the right technical skills who is also a strong cultural fit for the job, regardless of their experience and need for flexibility, I try to work with them and the company to make the match. I often go to the hiring manager and ask if there would be a possibility for making the role more flexible, and explain the benefits it would have to the company. This is especially important if the company has experienced a resignation, a medical leave or something similar that has made filling the position urgent. I can bring in a project-based option within a few days.
I explain to hiring managers that if they accept a more experienced, part-time employee or someone who just needs a little flexibility as opposed to a full-time employee, they will often find they are much more productive because they can “hit the ground running.” They are also typically more loyal than traditional employees because these flexible work situations are hard to find and they can’t afford for it not to work out.
Typically I place these individuals at companies on a project or hourly basis. Sometimes clients and my employees eventually decide that the company is a great long term fit so these individuals are converted to full time employees of my client. In other cases the individuals remain on my payroll on a long-term basis.
The next time you are posting a job opening, think about the parameters you have set for the job. Is there any room for flexibility in the position? Could it benefit you to look for a more experienced part-time worker or someone who just needs a little flexibility? Would it be beneficial to bring someone in on a project-basis initially instead of immediately committing to a permanent employee?
In most cases, it will be.