The recession may have weakened the war for talent, but the battles have intensified. In the latest member-driven study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), which looked at competitive recruiting practices among organizations, a quarter of companies said they recruit new talent by contacting their competitors' employees directly. Over 40% say they actively source competitors' employees in certain positions to a moderate or higher extent.
The study, the results of which are now available exclusively to i4cp members (download the results now), also revealed that, when searching for talent, 67% of respondents' organizations utilize recruiting firms to fill positions. Not surprisingly, large companies (10,000 employees or more) are more likely to use an external firm (79%) than firms with 1,000 workers or fewer, which reported they do so 58% of the time.
Though a majority of organizations use external recruiting firms, a third of respondents said that using headhunter techniques are seen as "bad form" for internal recruiters, and a quarter stated that they damage a company's brand.
Mostly, companies polled use external searches selectively. Overall, 58% said they use headhunters to fill certain key positions. In high-performance organizations - firms that consistently outperform their competitors in market share, revenue growth, profitability and customer satisfaction - 63% use external firms for filling key positions, compared to 54% of lower performers. Overall, only 15% said they use the option "fairly often" for a minority of jobs in the organization.
"These study results speak to the fact that many organizations are concerned not just with finding talent, but with finding the right talent," observed i4cp senior research analyst Carol Morrison. "Developing current employees for advancement is an excellent strategy, but recognizing that there are times when a company can benefit from hiring externally and adding fresh perspective is a very practical and relevant sourcing approach, too."
In general, senior leadership positions are the most likely to be targeted for headhunting services, with 66% of respondents tabbing that as their top choice, followed by positions where talent is difficult to find (44%), and 40% of respondents use headhunters to fill high-skilled positions.
Regarding the future use of headhunting for talent searches, the results are mixed. Overall, 23% of polled organizations said they don't plan to headhunt in the near future, while 22% are "discussing" the option, 20% are planning to try it on a limited basis and 16% plan to use headhunters on an increasing basis. Almost a quarter (23%) of high-performance organizations plan to increase the use of competitive recruiting practices, compared to just 4% of lower performers.
So, how else are companies recruiting these days? According to the study, 13% opt for online search engines (Google, etc.) from a high to very high extent, and the same percentage turn to LinkedIn as an avenue for finding talent search options. High-performance organizations are more likely to use search engines (20%) and LinkedIn (12%) than lower performers (23% and 9%, respectively).
The Competitive Recruiting Practices survey was conducted by i4cp in November 2009. The full results of the survey are available exclusively for all i4cp corporate members.