Attracting the right talent for your team

In the face of stiff competition to secure the best SAP resources, a best practice talent attraction strategy might make all the difference, as Adrian Everett explains.

As we move forward into the new financial year, it is no surprise that one of the key challenges for organisations undertaking SAP projects remains that of talent attraction. For those selling services, how do you grow without additional resources to sell? For those looking to lower overheads or increase revenues through improved efficiencies, how do you achieve this if SAP resources are already tied up on other projects?

If you want to attract the right talent for your organisation, you need to ensure that your strategy meets the goals of your organisation. In this article, we explore the various avenues by which to attract talent, and ultimately to define a best practice process by which to attract the best SAP talent for your organisation.

Internal referral/networks

Nearly all companies now have an internal referral bonus available to their employees for successfully referring someone to their organisation for employment. If your organisation doesn’t have one – put one in place now!  While this is the easiest and most cost effective way to attract talent, be aware that the reach of this is limited to those people who your employees already know, and also that your employees are still in contact with. As such, its reach into the marketplace is limited. Further, people like to work with people of a similar mindset, and objectivity can be lost during the selection process due to personal relationships and history.

Some tips when hiring a candidate from an internal referral:

• Do not involve the referring employee in the interviewing or decision-making process;

• Complete reference checking as per normal; and

• Conduct a reference from the site where the candidate worked with your employee.

Advertising directly

Advertising on job boards (such as Seek or MyCareer) gets high visibility in the marketplace, however our opinion is that it is of decreasing value in the talent attraction process, and useful more as a branding exercise.

SAP expertise is a highly skilled area within a niche and mature marketplace. Having been in high demand for a number of years, SAP professionals are aware they receive multiple calls from recruiters each day, and as such are less likely to look at a job board when considering their next position. It’s well known that job board advertising only reaches active candidates (as opposed to passive candidates who are currently engaged and not searching for new opportunities). However, if the active candidate pool is significantly reduced due to excess demand on the market, then advertising directly can become a quality issue when considering the response.

Internal recruiters
Many organisations utilise the services of an internal recruitment consultant, an employee of the company who is dedicated full-time to recruitment, with a view to following best practice and in many cases, to minimise the expense of using recruitment agencies. In many cases, use of an internal recruiter is coupled with a preferred supplier agreement (PSA).

A PSA is positive for an organisation to have in place in that it helps to define the terms under which your company will engage with agencies when considering their candidates.  Often these PSAs are put in place by procurement or human resources without considering the specialised nature of the SAP marketplace. If your PSA is not geared towards having SAP specialists on the panel, then remember that the keyword is ‘preferred’ and don’t let this limit your access to the SAP candidate marketplace as a result. 

A well-connected and experienced internal SAP recruitment consultant will ultimately save your organisation direct costs associated with  recruitment.  However, no matter how good the internal recruitment consultant is, they simply cannot compete with the resources or reach of a specialist SAP recruitment agency.  As such, at times your organisation may experience delays in the supply of talent, potential reductions in quality of available talent and potentially an increased attrition rate.  In a worst case scenario, your organisation can be forced to rework a project or piece of work and wear the costs resulting from a poor quality hire.

Some tips when employing an internal recruiter:

• Ensure the recruiter has adequate training to understand your business, current SAP projects and ultimately how to assess quality of candidates effectively.

• Allow your recruiter to spend time with each manager within the SAP business to understand their needs and pressure. This can vary across modular and technical areas.

• Avoid basing the remuneration of an internal recruiter on direct placements alone. This discourages the facilitation of other sourcing strategies and can have an impact on the quality of candidates available to the business.

Agency recruitment

Agencies offer a good reach into the so-called passive candidate marketplace both domestically and internationally. Through the selection of the right recruitment agency to assist in your talent attraction strategies, you will maximise the reach across all candidates and ultimately get the best hire. It’s no different to the pride you have in your organisation’s goods or services – it’s what your organisation does best.  Of course the agency charges a fee for the service –they are a business just the same as you. However when you consider the potential to increase your reach, reduce time qualifying resumes or conducting reference checks, and ultimately to ensure your delivery to the business or customer, then the fee stops becoming a cost and becomes an investment which provides a definable return on investment (ROI).

While admittedly, as an agency recruiter I might be biased, I strongly believe when utilised in the right part of the recruitment process and for the right roles, agencies are very much a worthwhile investment.  I recently had to provide resources to a consultancy who was effectively reimplementing a solution for a customer –at their cost. It cost the consultancy over $100,000 to do this, and all because they avoided a recruitment fee on a key resource at the initial outset of the project.

Best practice

Each of the methods outlined above has pros and cons associated with it and as such, best practice is to pursue a blended solution, allowing your organisation to benefit from the pros of each while minimising the cons. This will maximise the return on your investment efforts and ultimately attract the best talent for your organisation.

Through experience working with a range of end-user and consulting organisations, it is our recommendation that a process similar to that outlined in the diagram above be adopted as best practice assisting you to stay ahead of your competitors to attract the best possible talent for your SAP projects and requirements.

Adrian Everett is director of Everjoy Consulting, the leading SAP recruitment agency in Asia Pacific, demonstrating clear ROI to customers looking to attract and retain SAP talent. For further information about how Everjoy Consulting can assist your organisation, contact

This article was first published in Inside SAP Winter 2011.

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