Career Hub

Hiring Service Leadership Capability or finding your next career move -today’s tools just don’t cut it!

Delivering on business objectives demands that we really understand and acquire those capabilities that help us differentiate from competition. Indeed, the same is true for us as professionals as we look for own next steps in our career.  Yet matching needs with people is still recognized as one of the biggest challenges for employers and employees alike.

The reality is that for business in general and in the area of service business specifically, finding people who can deliver (experience, knowledge, qualifications & competencies), are highly motivated (right career move, location, salary, benefits & company) and fit (industry, company values, team they will be working with, culture) is a major management headache.  The impact of getting this process wrong can be a costly, time consuming, emotionally draining exercise and frankly devastating for objectives.

Why is it like this?

Successful companies ideally manage their talent acquisition through a balance of succession planning, external hiring, or interim positions. This journey is complex and fraught with organisational, political and external challenges to deliver a robust and effective talent management framework. In this age when data, analytics and connectivity technologies threaten to disrupt many industries, the pressure to introduce new capabilities has never been stronger.  Increasingly, service leaders are frustrated that to find talent whether it’d be sourced internally or externally is taking too long and with limited choice.

This is why in trying to find great people, companies traditionally turn to head-hunters who rely on their respective contact base to provide suitable candidates. Whereas many head-hunters have developed specialized expertise in filling well defined positions in areas such as IT, Finance and HR, very few, if any, provide the same level of contacts and expertise in successfully searching for the modern service professional. Instead, head-hunters mainly turn to the LinkedIn portal (and other social media) as their primary tool(s). Interestingly though, if you have ever tried to search for service people using these types of recruitment tools you will discover that it is very difficult to pinpoint the type of experience and qualifications you require to fill your vacancies.  One of the main stumbling blocks is that service is such a wide generic term that it identifies 000’s of unsuitable candidates. Using company job titles seems a good idea, but often, although these might make sense to people within the business, they bear little relevance to the outside world.  The result is that recruiters are forced to search for candidates under a high degree of uncertainty..

Alternative approaches such as on-line job boards have similar challenges. Frequently job descriptions are not clear and easily understood. Recruiters do not know which talent matches the ‘Service’ brief and are often overwhelmed with the volume of response, because many candidates apply based on their belief they work in the ‘Service’ industry, yet often are completely unsuitable for the job.

In summary, companies often end up waiting up from 9- 12 months to successfully fill Service Leadership positions!

What can we do about it?

With above in mind, it is possible to reduce the time it takes to hire good service people by more than 50% by following three very simple rules:

  1. Job descriptions – Organizations are good at producing job descriptions that suit their internal HR processes and organizational practice, but these are often not easy to translate into the terminology used and understood in the wider world. Don’t fall into this trap! Make sure the job description you develop meets both the internal company needs, while for recruiting purposes is also geared to the language of social networks.
  2. Work with people who know Service – Working with professionals who deeply understand your business environment and needs will be far more effective in terms of time and quality. They will enable a more relevant job description to be developed as well as widen and enrich the search to allow candidates from seemingly unrelated backgrounds to be identified. Very few internal recruitment teams or external head-hunters truly understand the ‘Service’ space, or the wide variety of terminology used by service job seekers.
  3. Be involved – Make sure that you are fully aware of the type of people being searched, so that you can ensure it is focused on the right experiences. Close teamwork between client and recruiter has been shown to significantly reduce the time it takes to identify great candidates.

By following these three simple guidelines, you will not only find people faster, you will also find better qualified talent that will enrich your organization as well as significantly reducing your recruitment costs.

These guidelines have been developed over many years participating in the hiring process of service professionals across disciplines in many parts of the world. Whilst conceptually, fairly straightforward, they are not so easy to follow and execute. With technical and service business talent at a premium and the adoption of on-line search through social networks transforming the recruitment process, good job descriptions, appropriate terminology, thorough understanding the service “space” and constructive feedback throughout have become critical to successfully finding the nuggets of gold in the ocean of working humanity.

If you would like to know more about hiring talent or finding a new role, then visit Career Hub, a new resource on this site designed to help service professionals develop their teams or further their careers. If you would like more information on Si2 Partners talent management consulting and recruiting services visit the Si2 Partners website.

This article was first published at Field Service News in September 2017 print version

 Nick Frank and Dag Gronevik are practice leaders at Si2 Partners, a consultancy helping clients leverage services to win in industrial markets. Dag is responsible for the Si2 Talent Management Practice and can be contacted in strictest confidence at or on +46 70-611 68 16


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