Since making the strategic decision to build a market leading executive search practice focusing on Digital, Interactive and emerging online economies sector, I have been truly amazed at just how severe the shortage of talent really is. One of the numerous reasons my firm decided to specialize in this area was an almost desperate plea from several senior industry leaders to help them find talent. I have been involved in executive search for a long time, I have had many CEO’s ask me for assistance in finding staff but never before did I get the impression of an entire sector in such real trouble finding talent.
The higher up the executive ladder you go the more extreme the shortage. Worse still some runs of the ladder are completely missing altogether. There are many reasons for this, some obvious some a little more subtle but one of the main reasons we all find ourselves at this talentless junction is the extreme pace at which the online, digital and interactive revolution has taken shape.
Increasingly we have a generation of Business leaders out of touch with the future cornerstone of their consumer base. Unfortunately the people who traditionally help them speak to this cornerstone are just as confused as they are. Even the leading media firms are struggling to keep pace with the dramatic changes happening online. I have been told of by some Managing Directors that they have to tell their account executives to spend more time on YouTube! In order stay current with emerging trends.
So what to do? Well I think the key to resolving this very challenging recruitment issue which I believe will knock on ever business sectors door eventually as it is now with the Media industry, is spotting talent and potential talent rather than filling vacancies. A proportion of the openings in the digital media will have to be filled by executives from traditional offline backgrounds who really have a natural aptitude to the psychology of online media and passion for the technology, which drives it.
Take another look at your existing team. There are many executives out there who have grown up embedded in this technology and empowered by its networking capabilities. Not necessarily are they charged professionally in these areas but some may be able to take the ball up and run with it surprisingly quickly given the chance. The key being they are passionate about this technology, this way of communicating and are actively moving already in its global community. Be more thorough in your approach to the recruitment process. Rather than just matching up experience with job requirements, read between the lines with candidate’s profiles.
If ever there was a sincere need to engage a trusted talent search partner to help identify and attract talent this sector really has it. In many ways for a Headunter it’s a perfect storm. A very clear shortage of talent, talent which is hard to indentify and talent which needs to know a lot more than just how much is the position paying. The only way to attract these precious executive resources to your business is to prize them away from your competitors..Not since the investment fueled crazy days of the dot come boom have I come across executives in such demand. I recently interviewed an executive with 4 outstanding offers on the table who to be frank, I was not that impressed with. In order to speak to the right people you need to really delve deep into the sector, find the rising stars and tell them your story. These people want to be a part of something special rather than just getting a new name card and a new remuneration package. So my advice to Managing Directors out there, look after your Digital team it’s only a matter of time before they all receive a call from headhunters like me.