ASG News & Blogs

ReSearch | Fall 2023

Author: Joe Giacomin | (248) 453-0092 | 

Obtaining Top Talent: A Tale of Two Companies

The career of a recruiter offers an opportunity to work with a variety of interesting people from both the client side and with candidates who may be seeking a career change. Some, even if they don’t know it yet.

For me, as with most recruiters, there is a special satisfaction when I can put a key impact player together with a company, and there is a positive outcome for both parties.

A successful hiring process can boil down to just plain good timing, but more often, it results in an understanding of the employer; meaning the products, key objectives and of course the company culture. On the candidate side, beyond the required qualifications, I determine the motive for change, their specific goals, attitude, and communication skills – how a person will “fit” into a particular organization.

I’ve often heard the saying: “When the market is up, the recruiting business is very good…and when the market is down, the business is still pretty good.”

I would agree, but some days you eat the bear…and on other days, the “bear” eats you. Here are a couple of examples:

Some days you eat the bear…and on other days, the “bear” eats you.

Company #1: I had been attempting to connect with the VP of Engineering (a rising star) employed by an OEM auto supplier…to hopefully gain him as a client. I finally reached him one day during his vacation. We spoke briefly and agreed to a scheduled call when he returned to work.

That day came and we had a wonderful and informative conversation which lasted about 45 minutes. He didn’t have a current staffing requirement but expressed an interest in working with me. He suggested that I contact their Human Resource Director.

I followed instructions – and along with some housekeeping issues, (HR policy on fees, terms, and other preferences) I was essentially told by the HR Director (via e-mail) if he needed my services, he would contact me…and not to contact the VP of Engineering anymore; “He was much too busy.”

Company #2:  I had previously been in touch on and off with their Vice President of Sales. He recently joined this company…an international automotive supplier. He asked his Human Resources Director to contact me. The organization was searching for a manager to build business with a specific customer base.

I had never worked with this company before and while I had a solid grasp of their industry and a feel for what type of person would be most effective, I didn’t want to make assumptions.

As I began working with this client, their HR Director took the time to share both the specific technical requirements and some of the soft skills she thought were most important for this position. The HR Director stated “We are in a difficult market for finding (and landing) top talent. We made offers to a couple of candidates without success.”

Together, the HR Director and I steered the course. The HR Director’s patience and excellent communication skills ultimately made the difference.  We spoke “live” quite often –she returned calls on a timely basis. We marched through the process (it’s not an exact science) and as we decided on the person who would be “the one”, we worked closely, together with the Vice President of Sales, and fashioned an offer which was accepted. Mission accomplished! I look forward to consideration for their next assignment.

Two exceptional companies… with some very different outcomes. I don’t harbor any negative feelings with company #1…I’m sure that their staff members face similar situations when calling on potential customers.  It’s the price of doing business.

Their HR person was too new (and I believe a bit “territorial”) to know anything about me. He wasn’t aware of the positive exchange I had with their Vice President.  If nothing else, the VP and I were enroute to a healthy and helpful dialogue…even if we don’t ultimately do business together.

Everyone involved lost something. I’ve learned that your company can benefit significantly if you encourage staff members to think strategically.


As I write this column, the United Auto Worker Union strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis is entering its third week, and at this point, it shows little sign of a quick, equitable conclusion. Maybe we’ll be surprised, and by the time this newsletter is launched, a positive contract will be confirmed. The operative word here is “positive”.

I wonder about the demands of the UAW.  The rank-and-file members have legitimate issues, but additional consideration needs to focus on the investment necessary for auto manufacturers to compete in the future. It’s enormous.

The race for relevance in the electric vehicle market and accompanying advanced technologies going forward are at stake. The jobs of each auto worker may be in question if the products they produce are not competitive or late to the party.

Other than very senior employees, many UAW workers weren’t even alive when General Motors had more than 50% of the entire automotive market. Mom and Dad no longer automatically purchase a Belair, Valiant, or Galaxy 500 every few years or so.

Terrific product offerings manufactured by foreign companies abroad, and right here in North America enjoy a loyal and growing customer base. And, while the legacy domestic auto companies are producing their best-ever vehicles…with some “wow factor” dream machines waiting in the wings, they must be in position to stay competitive in the short term and prosper in the years ahead.

GM, Ford, and Stellantis have the people, the technology, manufacturing know-how, and marketing expertise.  The domestic companies are poised to compete –and win… but it requires lots of money.

These are topics the UAW needs to seriously consider and place at the forefront of their evaluation process. After all, 100% of nothing – is nothing.

After all, 100% of nothing – is nothing.

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