Opportunistic hiring can be amped up to extreme recruiting levels when employed on a rigorous, systemic basis. The key is developing and maintaining a strategy to capitalize on the availability of what I refer to as “special situation candidates”.
It’s somewhat like buying quality stocks at a discount when, for non-fundamental reasons, the company’s stock dips to an artificially low level. If you’ve been doing your homework, you have a grasp of when a relevant company is underpriced – anyone actively managing their own portfolio knows that regularly monitoring a watch list is the key to leveraging a dislocation in values.
Similarly, following companies that you compete with for talent can significantly juice recruiting ROI – but you have to systemically stalk relevant companies, and the reality is that very few staffing organizations actually do that.
Special situation candidates can be defined as credible executives employed by relevant companies that have temporarily hit a wall for any number of reasons. These staffing arbitrage opportunities are triggered by unexpected events such as:
Bad News:Oracle (ORCL–NYSE) gets slammed by a downside earnings surprise, and related enterprise software companies get unjustly tarred by the same brush, suffering in “sympathy” – this creates an opportunity to buy great companies at a discount for a short time if you are paying attention … why is this important in the context of Talent Acquisition?
Because when stocks of relevant companies get pummeled, a “staffing arbitrage’ window opens simultaneously as key employees watch their option grants, (time sensitive wasting assets), go “underwater”. Executives who are waiting for a vesting anniversary before entertaining interviews suddenly become more available. Bad news for the employer, and the concomitant dislocation in option grant and/or RSU value renders their talent easier to poach as job security, and/or wealth creation opportunities get hammered.
M&A Rumors always set the stage for opportunistic hiring/staffing arbitrage. Whether or not a takeover actually occurs, ambiguity accompanying the rumor triggers a feeling of instability around M&A related issues such as “constructive termination” for employees on both the buy & sell side – my experience has been that this makes recruiting from these companies much easier during that window of uncertainty.
Unfavorable Regulatory Action: for example, Dodd-Frank Act’s “Durbin Amendment” made payment processing less profitable by restricting fees merchants pay banks and networks, which hurt mobile carriers’ revenues. Again, the perception of reduced job security/wealth creation for employees in that sector at the time…
I typically track dozens of companies that employ talent my clients are most interested in – when a relevant publicly traded company drops hard, or I learn via “inside baseball” about funding issues affecting a privately funded one, I am quick to leverage that information on behalf of active clients.
As a highly specialized executive recruiter, my recruiting process keys on rigorously leveraging opportunities like those mentioned above … it’s all about being prepared to capitalize on anything that gives the client a better outcome!