Build Future Leaders Now, so You Don’t Have to Buy Them Later

Josh Hawkins
January 17, 20173 mins read

Lucille King’s recent Article in the AFR with PricewaterhouseCoopers people and organisation managing partner Jon Williams highlights predicted changes in the work force including skills that will be sought after, how valuable it will be to adapt and learn quickly and how important roles that involve creativity are.

You can read it by clicking HERE.

After reading the article I wanted to highlight some of the changing landscapes seen from a recruitment perspective. As mentioned in the article, during different periods of time different skill sets are valued and as we see the rise of technology and innovation we see the changing face of work or more traditionally ‘the job’. 

From my seat as a recruiter in the market I have been noticing a shift in job requirements, the processes to recruit them and the candidates being hired into them. 

Job requirements

The above, traditionally formalised in a ‘job spec’ or ‘position description’ are becoming less relevant as the months go by. Clients make them and candidates request them as it is the thing to do and has been for some time – In reality the information on the paper could be conveyed and relevant questions asked in a 5 minute phone conversation or in the first 5 minutes of an interview / meeting – in which much more can be gained by both sides than from a piece of paper or an email changing hands. I cannot remember the last time I filled a role from getting a spec and a resume and matching the two and why would I when so much of the recruitment process is subjective and human?

Recruitment Processes

Right now urgency is winning the day when it comes to top tier talent at the junior to mid levels – companies that move fast and make strong decisions, get the prize – companies that still hire like it's 2009 and a seller’s market frequently lose out. As an example, some businesses do multiple interviews, including testing, and sometimes more for a 6 months contract role whilst others straight start people for a 6 month contract and replace them quickly if they are not up to scratch – a working interview in other words – how much do you value your time? 

Successful Candidates

More and more I encourage my clients, particularly at the junior to mid levels in the market, to recruit based on aptitude and potential, not to be confused with “culture fit” – mouldable candidates. Technical skills in accounting are things that can be researched and learnt - soft skills and commercial ability can be enhanced and refined, but are almost impossible to teach – I know, I’m not the first to say it and I won’t be the last to say it...because it’s true! 

The upside of this is that your new addition is learning from the word go and as a result, is immediately engaged and will remain engaged for longer, something that has been proven to fade in employees hired in to roles they know inside out from day one. Once they are comfortable, we then role onto the hiring manager’s thorn in the side “what’s next for me?” ...after 6 months (feels like 10 minutes) in the role. 

In summary, the difference between the organisations and hiring managers that hire on potential, make decisive decisions and focus less on the pieces of paper and more on the individual sat in front of them, is that they hire for the future. They don’t hire a person they see in the role on that piece of paper, they hire a person they can see in their seat, beyond it or at least in multiple seats within a given period, resulting in future leaders being built not bought. 

Josh Hawkins's picture
Associate Manager


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