July 10, 2018 |

Talent Comes with a Price Tag

Earlier this year I partnered with a key client to recruit a very high-performing individual.  It was a fun process, complete with a few twists and turns and some fairly intense negotiations.  Recruiting top performers is a challenge in any employment market; however, in 2018, the competition is brutal.  Companies know how hard it is to find talent, and as a result, fight hard to hang onto their best and brightest.  The competition has resulted in escalating salaries, signing bonuses and counteroffer battles.

If I had a quarter for every company that told me they MUST HAVE an “A-Player”, I’d be a rich man.  After 20 years in the recruiting business, however, I have learned that eighty percent of the time, those are empty words, uttered by a hiring manager or human resources person with no idea of what they just asked for.  I call it “the myth of the A-Player.”

In other walks of life, it’s called other things.  “Champagne taste on a beer budget” comes to mind.  Here’s what frequently happens: My Firm is engaged to recruit an “A-Player” for a client.  We go to work and do exactly that.  We bring them the exact person they asked for.  A top performer, often from a direct competitor.  Our client is overjoyed.  Then comes the question.  “How much will it take to get them?”  We answer, and joy immediately turns to sadness.  “We can’t pay them that.”

Talent comes with a price tag.  It always has.  In this market, the price continues to go up.  Fortunately, the key client I referred to in the beginning of this post “gets it”.  He knows that if you want the best, you have to be able to pay for the best.  He was willing and able to make his case, influence his other stakeholders, and get the deal done.  There’s no magic here.  The best companies always figure out how to hire the best people.  How about you?