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Talent Shopping Tips for the Holidays

Oct. 24, 2014
Keep your long-term growth goals in mind when filling talent gaps to fill peak needs.  

The holiday shipping season is gearing up and supply chain companies are meeting the demand with seasonal employees. The end-of-year emphasis for hiring usually rests on short-term manpower that can help companies meet the increased shipping activity of the holidays; this year UPS and FedEx are hiring 90,000 and 50,000 employees, respectively, to ensure they don’t have a repeat of last year’s shipping meltdown. These hires are valuable in helping a company stay on top of the demand but won’t contribute to a company’s long-term growth goals heading into 2015.

As a recruiter specializing in the logistics and supply chain sectors, I work with companies to evaluate their talent gaps and identify the most qualified candidate who will immediately step in to meet established goals. At the end of the year, those of us in the recruiting field see a lot of companies scaling back and not using the time as productively as they could be. The transitional period before Q1 is the ideal time to start evaluating growth goals, the company hierarchy and taking steps to recruit the right talent.

Why Now?

With less noise in the industry in general, December is the best time to get the attention of potential key candidates. After the holiday rush and before the excitement of the New Year, the logistics industry goes into a holding pattern and active hiring goes to a near standstill. As a recruiter this can be the ideal time to recruit talent for new opportunities. With the slowdown, managers and C-level employees have time to evaluate their personal goals and decide whether their company provides the potential for success that they need. If a company has the right parts in place and clear objectives to communicate to a potential hire, that can be the biggest advantage to landing top talent.

Define Objectives

The biggest mistake we see talent-hungry companies make is not having clearly stated objectives and metrics to back up the need for talent. We’ve seen, on average, that a manager position can take more than three months to fill. One common reason for this is not having the right objectives in place from the beginning. This means evaluating potential for growth before the New Year and setting measureable goals that can be presented to the candidate. This type of transparency gives the candidate an idea of what the expectations are and help us as recruiters identify talent that has a proven track record for meeting those objectives.

Before you begin the recruiting process, define the short -term and long- term needs. What can a candidate do immediately to get a jumpstart heading into 2015? What is the scale and scope of long-term growth for the company? Laying out your objectives will position your new candidate to meet those terms more easily.

Lay the Foundation

Use the end of year slowdown to evaluate whether your company’s infrastructure is able to take on new talent. Every hire, no matter how much experience they bring to the table, will need time to become familiar with company expectations in order to be successful. A key aspect of this transition is transparency. Will the candidate have individual goals and company goals clearly defined from the start? Will they report to a diverse team or be given the independence to implement new tools and strategies to meet those goals?

While recruiting top talent in the supply chain sector, we’ve seen a lot of emphasis on business development. Before starting the recruiting process, you’ll want to identify what makes business development a success, i.e. the skillset needed for developing the business end of your supply chain company to become a one-stop-shop for shipping needs.

Your Golden Candidate

After you’ve taken the proactive approach at the end of the year to evaluate your company infrastructure, state your objectives and make sure the groundwork is there, you can begin the search for the ideal candidate. With all of these aspects in place before the search begins, the process can be a lot less painless for everyone.

First, identity your talent pipeline. Are you relying on your internal network, relationships in the industry, or the influx of applicants from a job posting? These are things you’ll need to take into consideration sooner than later, since all of these networks require different levels of time and monetary commitments.

Having a specific formula for a candidate will help narrow down the potential candidates and guide you to make the right decision. As a company you have to weigh the perfect combination of experience, education, personality, track record and ambition. A recruiter can help you evaluate what combination makes the most sense taking company goals into consideration.

A company’s success in finding the ideal candidate is directly related to the effort put into the process beforehand. We see the best return on investment when the company takes the time to clearly outline short and long term goals, how the candidate will fit into the company structure and the potential for growth. The hiring process, if begun early enough, will ensure a smooth and profitable transition into 2015 with new talent on your team.

Charlie Saffro is the executive recruiter for CS Recruiting.

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