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When Are Problems Good For You?
by Bert Sadtler, President, Boxwood Executive Search + Contributing Editor

These are extremely challenging times for employers who need to acquire top level talent as well as for those seeking a career change. Today, companies’ economics compel them to re-assess their talent needs in order to remain competitive and drive growth. The satellite communications industry is ripe with new opportunities. Employers are challenged with making a “great hire.” For the candidate, finding an opportunity can sometimes be a rather difficult proposition.

SadtlerHead To assist with career searches, we asked Bert Sadtler of Boxwood Executive Search to respond to readers’ questions regarding the processes of recruitment and hiring as well as how Companies can retain crucially-needed talent. Boxwood is located in the Washington, DC, region and has success in senior level recruitment in satellite communications, government contracting, and within the intelligence community. Boxwood also provides a consulting solution for the analysis and improvement of the employer’s current recruitment process.  If you would care to submit a recruitment, hiring, or retention question for Bert to answer, please email your question to BertSadtler@BoxwoodSearch.com.

Many regard “A Problem” as a bad thing that gets in the way before good things can happen. Webster’s defines a problem as: “A question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution”.

Our business world is faced with problems. A solid argument would be that if there was no problem to be solved, all of us might not have a job. Assuming that were true, it would then make “A Problem” a pretty good thing!
How Does “Problem” Relate To Recruiting Critical Talent?
Three simple questions ought to be incorporated into every recruitment and into the thinking of every candidate:

1. What is the business problem?
2. Do we have someone who can solve it?
2. Do we want them to solve it?

SadtlerFig1 First, for the employer to acquire the appropriate talent, the business problem must be articulated. It is difficult for an employee to join an organization and be expected to deliver value when they don’t even know what is expected from them, or what they are there to improve for the company.

Well written position descriptions are an excellent means to describe the business problem and for possible candidates to understand the business problem. In my experience, a lot of recruitments never get off the ground because the employer was unable to state their particular business problems.

Once the detailed position description has been developed to describe the business problem, candidates can then determine if they have the qualifications to fix the problem. Much of this involves having, or not having, the technical experience or technical abilities or technical aptitude.

Second, upon deciding that a candidate feels qualified, the candidate can provide the employer with their qualifications saying “I have the technical skills or experience to solve the business problem.”

This is why the employer  would acquire critical talent... ”To make the problem go away.” Communicating the candidate’s qualifications can take many forms which include interview questions, written questions, personality assessments, samples of past work, and so on.

Up to this point, the problem discussion has been technical. In summary, first, state the problem and second can you fix the problem.

The Third Question
After progressing through two of the three “Problem Questions”, the third question requires more time to develop and is more important than the others. Get this one right and the employer and employee are on their way to a lasting relationship.

SadtlerFig2 Remember, best practice recruiting is not about the “wedding” or the hire, it is all about the “marriage” or long term employment. Long and successful marriages and long employments have strong chemistry or fit.

The final “Problem Question”, is... “Do you want them to solve your problem?” —while the candidate should be asking, “Do I want to solve this problem?”

Just like dating, answering this question should include multiple meetings between employer and candidate in several settings. You are going to be spending a lot of time together. Wouldn’t you want to be sure rather than rush it, get it wrong and then face the consequences and expense of a failed hire?

During the interaction, ask yourself, “Do I like this candidate?” or “Do I like this employer?” Chances are if you can’t answer one of these questions with a resounding “YES”, you may be better served considering an alternative option.
So, you see — Problems can be good for you.

About Boxwood Search
There is an ongoing battle  for senior level talent. A great hire can make a long term positive impact and a failed hire can prove to be very expensive. How does a company recruit  and  hire the right talent? It is more than just networking within the community of friends and business associates. It requires focusing on results through a process oriented approach. Boxwood Search is committed to reaching a successful outcome with recruitment methods that have repeatedly proven to deliver very qualified senior talent. The firm exclusively represents employers in the marketplace as a dedicated resource and discrete trusted advisor. Through original research and industry contacts, qualified candidates are targeted and then motivated to consider the opportunity.

Candidates are screened against key criteria, technical fit and cultural fit analyzed, interviews conducted, references contacted and hiring recommendations then presented. Upon making the offer, Boxwood Search is the employer’s advocate and an active participant in communicating with the candidate until offer acceptance has been secured. Results are guaranteed.