The upside of a down market

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The upside of a down market

Hiring “A”-level talent to fill a “B” or “C” position can be an expensive corporate mistake. Every day, we talk to candidates who say, “I just took this job to hold me over. Please keep me in mind for any other opportunities.”

Even though today’s candidate market is a buyer’s market, top logistics professionals should be offered a full salary appropriate with experience and background. If not, the overqualified candidate may accept a lower salary as a stop-gap measure until the next job opportunity comes along with an increased base salary and corporate recognition.

For example, let’s say you have an opening for an experienced global supply chain professional to link worldwide locations. You’ve budgeted a salary level of between $80,000 - $90,000 base, plus bonus and benefits. Of the qualified local candidates, previous salaries range from $85,000 to $115,000 base.

Our recommendation is that you hire the right candidate. With that said, do not expect the more experienced $115,000 base professional to be satisfied with a $90,000 base. If other candidates in the pipeline would eagerly take this salary, then the offer is most likely not going out to the right candidate.

So how do you find the right candidate? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Have a written, detailed job description — including realistic compensation criteria — before initiating a search.
  • Do not entertain candidates who have been living on a significantly higher salary.
  • One step backward for two steps forward is one thing, but expecting a candidate to take four steps backward will not work
  • Do not be swayed by an opportunity to hire an “A” candidate at a significantly reduced salary. Times will change and you may risk losing the “A” employee to the appropriate salary level and professional challenge in the near future.
  • If the current open position does not require a superstar but you find a superstar candidate, consider opening a new search by writing up a new job description and gaining approval for a higher salary level.

A buyer’s market today can change overnight. The objective is to hire the right person in the right position to achieve long-term results. Follow the above simple rules and you should be well on your way to building a strong team of performers. LT

Dave Ricker is a senior account executive with SearchLogix Group (www.searchlogixgroup.com), an executive search firm specializing in logistics and supply chain management.

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November, 2003

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