Roll up for the mystery
tour: recruiting the talent
Ghoshal and Bartlett (1998) emphasize the importance of recruitment to gaining competitive advantage. Talent is in short supply. The ability to recruit talented people is the obvious first step to winning the talent war. Jackson (1998b) states the issue well. He says, 'The biggest single headache for professional service firms, senior partners will unanimously tell you, is attracting enough bright young people.' He describes the two limiting factors as competition from other employers and demographics, with the number of under-25s in the UK population dropping 14 per cent since 1971. Prickett (1998d) also gives testimony on the difficulties that recruiters face, reporting that in the UK 'the number of companies having difficulties filling their graduate vacancies has increased every year since 1993'.
In the light of these problems, it is tempting to try to attract people with empty promises and to make rushed choices. This is a road that seems destined to lead to a name as a bad employer, serving only to make future recruitment even more difficult. Instead, the need is to get organized, be attractive, tell the truth and make well-considered decisions.
Ghoshal and Bartlett (1998) make clear that recruitment requires consistent focused effort. As an example, they describe how Microsoft has a process for bringing in 400 graduates each year. The company makes sure that candidates are 'interviewed by at least three — and sometimes up to 10- [microsoftees]';. Even more strikingly, the company maintains a team of 200 people who are responsible for recruiting a further 2000 people each