Career Brakes: Why Companies Lose Top Recruits


Q: We are a brake company trying to recruit top-quality engineers to fill open positions. In the past few months, we have lost some high-quality recruits that we had in process of selection. What can we do to avoid losing talent in the hiring pipeline?

Brian Hagman Answers:

This is a very tight job market. And there are some rules of the road today that I tell all my clients when we are working together to fill important positions.

  1. Don’t treat talent you are interested in like they are job applicants. Top engineering talent, for example, is in the driver seat. They have multiple options. Think of yourself as the applicant trying to convince this person to choose your company.
  2. Make the interview process quick and deliberate. If you don’t communicate with the person for several days or weeks after interviewing them, forget it. There’s a good chance they won’t respond even if they haven’t made a choice yet.
  3. Do you have a brand that people understand? It’s not easy for supplier companies, especially tier-one and tier-two suppliers, to create a brand that customers and employees grasp and engage with, but you have to make some effort. At least have an “employer branding” program. Employees need to know what your company story is.
  4. You have to streamline your process. Some companies I work with want something like 20 people to sign off or meet with a candidate before an offer is made. That takes too much time. If an executive you want to be part of the process is traveling or on vacation, then have them meet the prospect by Skype. Don’t get bogged down.
  5. Are you competitive enough to hire the best talent or are you OK with simply filling the role? I have worked with companies in the past who wanted Ferarri’s at Honda prices (Honda’s are great by the way…Just not a Ferarri). Be sure to decide what your strategy is to avoid wasting everyone’s time.
  6. Review your whole process for recruiting and hiring. Make sure you are talking to people who you hire about what the deciding factors were when they chose you, and call applicants who did not choose you. Gather the data and perspective, and let it inform your process.

All of these points are important. But I think having some kind of brand/company story is perhaps the most important in today’s market.

Have you been trying to recruit at universities? You know then that if new grads have not heard of you, or can’t get a grasp on what your company does, why it is an attractive company, what it’s contributions are to the tech and mobility world, then they are going to move on to a company they understand.

Have a question about managing your career within the brake industry? What about attracting and hiring the best talent in the marketplace? Send Brian a note at [email protected].

About Author

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Brian Hagman is President of Hagman Search Group and Founder/Publisher of The BRAKE Report, an online media platform dedicated to the automotive and commercial vehicle brake segments. Brian’s mission is to inform, engage and connect the most avid members of the brake community.