Are your Managers playing Hiring Russian Roulette?

Are your Managers playing Hiring Russian Roulette?

We all know that accessing High Potential candidates at Senior Management Level is critical for succession planning for your leaders of the future.

But are your Hiring Managers effectively playing Hiring Russian Roulette in their most important job;  the recruitment, development and retention of your organisation’s most important asset, your people?

When deciding on a recruitment partner, companies will base their decision on a variety of factors specific to their organisation.  Critical factors in making this choice will include budget constraints, skill set required and the seniority of the role.

It is clear from my experience of hiring in Africa, that the main options available to companies on the continent are either hiring through direct contacts within their own networks or using low-cost local contingent recruitment firms.   Unfortunately, both of these options represent an extremely limited exploration of the total available talent pool, typically giving access to as low as 16% of potentially suitable candidates.

Why is this?  Because both approaches rely on considering only those candidates who actively looking for a new role.  When you reflect on your own teams, most of the successful high performing candidates aren’t actively looking, or at least you hope they are sufficiently engaged not to be browsing opportunities on the web or making it known to their networks that they are open to ideas!

The average Hiring Manager is not an expert in how to recruit top performers or how to identify leaders of the future.  As such they are stuck with a 50:50 chance of a mis-hire each and every time they make a hiring decision (statistic from Brad Smart of Top Grading).  That can be extremely costly in money, in time and sometimes in reputation.

Picture – By MediaPhoto.Org ( Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (

The financial impact of failure of a key senior management hire to a company cannot be understated.

An immediate focus on the ‘recruitment fee cost’ is just the tip of the iceberg and the true indirect cost of hiring the wrong person goes far deeper when these hires fail to meet the strategic and commercial objectives of their businesses.

To consider this more thoroughly, please read John Agnew’s article ‘My $600k mistake and how to avoid it’! John writes this from the point of view of a Hiring Manager and his insights into the commercial impact of getting a Middle or Senior Management hire wrong are quite sobering.

If you are committed to taking the risk out of hiring and investing properly in talent acquisition and retention, then I would be pleased to understand your talent strategy and discuss how I can support you, through Executives in Africa, in delivering that.  Please contact me, Nicki Halle, at

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