Case Study: Leveraging External Recruiting Firms to Improve Departmental Hiring Strategies When Facing Long-Term Job Vacancies

January 12, 2018

Setting the Stage

For several years, Pinnacle has undergone negotiations to become a preferred vendor to assist with accounting and finance recruitment efforts at a multibillion-dollar, international manufacturing company headquartered here in Pittsburgh. A customary and arduous process when working with most larger clients. After being referred to the organization earlier last year by one of our business partners, Pinnacle finally had received an opportunity to demonstrate our technical expertise.

After sending over a few examples of available accounting and finance consultants with expert skill sets in several different areas, the company reached out to schedule an interview. The company was seeking an accountant who specializes in Oracle’s Hyperion Financial Management to serve as the organization’s primary support contact and assist with routine reporting. The position even had the potential of becoming a full-time opportunity. Less than a week after interviewing the candidate, the company established an official start date for the consultant.

The Problem: Filling A Long-Term Job Vacancy in Unstable Times

Following the start date of our recently placed consultant, Pinnacle continued to stay in contact and routinely check-in with the client to ensure both parties were happy. In December 2017, after catching up with our internal contact Pinnacle learned that the company was finding it difficult to identify the organization’s next Manager of Corporate Financial Planning. After recently downsizing and undergoing several rounds of layoffs, the organization was struggling to hire qualified talent given the company’s current environment. The job position had sat vacant for almost five months, putting undue stress on the company’s corporate finance team. Within a day of learning of the opportunity, Pinnacle identified a candidate whose skill sets and experiences matched that which our client was looking for. Unfortunately, we now faced the same dilemma our client had previously encountered. The candidate turned down the opportunity after interviewing out of fear that only soon after accepting the role he would be laid off.

The Costs Associated with Long-Term Job Vacancies

Leaving a job opportunity unfilled for extended periods of time presents several problems. First, job vacancies demonstrate that either a) a company is growing, or b)  there is financial or cultural instability. When job opportunities remain vacant for extended periods of time, applicants begin to question why the position is not filled. Sometimes the answer is that an organization is truly being picky or the position requires an extremely specialized skill set. Most often the answer is that the position is not paying enough or instability. Think of it as a house for sale. If it’s on Zillow for more than 30 days in a seller’s market, buyers question why it has sat on the market so long.

The second major problem associated with long-term job vacancies is cost. The longer a job remains vacant, the higher the cost associated with identifying the right person. When we refer to cost, we are not referring to the amount you will have to pay them (although that could be your issue). Cost refers to the amount of money spent by the hiring organization to promote the opportunity on job boards, time HR spends searching for qualified candidates, and time hiring managers take out of their schedules to interview potential candidates. Hours which could otherwise be spent focusing on more important day-to-day responsibilities.

The Solution: Reframing the Search

As time passed, the company continued to struggle the right candidate. It was time to reframe the search. Not only were the costs associated with continuing the search adding up, but critical day to day responsibilities of the role created stress on others in the department who were filling in. Pinnacle recommended bringing in a consultant to alleviate the burden and ensure the integrity of the financial reporting this management role had previously overseen. Pinnacle would continue its search for the right full-time professional. After discussing the option with the hiring manager, Pinnacle quickly identified a qualified consultant.

In Conclusion

Despite being unable to identify the full-time corporate finance manager the company was seeking, the engagement resulted in the development of a trusted partnership whereby Pinnacle and our client created an alternative solution to address an immediate problem. The engagement was and continues to be a demonstration of how working through hiring issues with a qualified third party can result in an improved hiring strategy. From our team at Pinnacle, we would like to thank all of our clients for their trust in our local accounting and finance hiring expertise. By working together, we continue to further improve our insight and strategic approach to our regions employers and top talent. Our dedicated team is always working hard to build relationships and turn our success into the success of our candidates and our clients. This was truly a win for all!

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