As a partner in an executive search firm, I’m constantly marketing our services to acquire new clients across the U.S. That’s just part of what I do…
Recently, we created a new detailed practice brochure, highlighting all of our services, and sent our new material to CEO’s in our market niche – healthcare IT. A few days later, I received a call from a Chairman/CEO who told me he had received the brochure and he needed my help. He then whispered five meaningful words to me that always seem to get my heart rate moving “let me close my door”. And he did. Once we were in the “cone of silence”, he told me great things about his Sales VP, bragged a bit about his VP of Marketing, and went on to tell me that the Chief Operating Officer had been with him for more than 10 years and was as loyal as the day is long. Then, the real reason for his call started to unfold – “They are all great people – but they are all planning to retire this year and next year, and I will have a huge hole in my executive team”.
What would Barney Miller have been like without Abe Vigoda? Exactly – you see the downside!
While I do not believe this is a common threat that scores of CEO’s are dealing with today – it could be soon! The talent shortage in the US is very real and companies need to adapt to the changing workforce of tomorrow – and they need to do it NOW! The companies, that typically spend 2-3 months looking for the perfect candidate, will no longer have the luxury of dragging out the hiring process forever, waiting on the “purple squirrel”. The “purple squirrel, while not extinct, will be tougher and tougher to find. By some estimates, fully 50% of the baby boomers will be out of the workforce in the next 10 years. YIKES!
We may be approaching very scary times to some, yet very exciting for many executive search professionals I hang out with. So, whether you are nervous about the future changes on the horizon, or you decide to embrace them, changes must take place in the hiring process and we all need to be prepared.
As a buddy of mine used to say during early dot.com days – when business models were being created on the fly, products were simply fancy builds using PowerPoint, nothing seemed to make real sense, and we were all dealing with the unknown, he simply would remind me with a smile “Onward thru the fog”.
Tim Tolan is a partner at Sanford Rose Associates and specializes in Executive Search in Healthcare IT. He’s a closer, and you really don’t want to call him unless you’re ready to bring out the bazooka to bag some big game. When I started Fistful, I checked four references on Tim – his wife, his kids, his pastor and a client. The references were great, even if it sounded like they were reading from a sheet of paper. I just chalked that up to them being “detail oriented” in their feedback….