Four goals when hiring top sustainability talent 

24 October 2022 by Peter Vos
blog author

“The War for Talent”, “The Great Resignation” or just the “Post-pandemic Labour Shortage” – all different ways of saying the same thing: talent is highly sought after in today’s labour market and there are opportunities aplenty for experienced (and increasingly, junior) candidates. All sectors are feeling the same pain, but for sustainability and ESG positions, this is doubly true.

For a hiring or recruitment manager, attracting and retaining sustainability talent has never been a greater challenge. Acre has been a trusted advisor in this area for some of the world’s leading organizations on sustainability – and has revealed four fail-safe pointers for securing that perfect candidate.

1. Place heavier emphasis on potential rather than specific experience 

Ideally, you would like to place a candidate in the role who has experience in the exact duties they will conduct in their new position. In practice, a candidate who might be lacking a bit in experience but makes up for it in potential is almost always a better hire. They’ll have a higher skill ceiling and will therefore bring a fresh perspective and diversity of thought into your business. Be critical and consider what experience this role actually requires and what can be picked up along the way on the job. This can increase your access to a much bigger and more diverse candidate pool. With the right support and development, you will also likely be able to retain this talent for longer. 

2. Make sure your hiring process is transparent & streamline your interview rounds

Candidates are not without options post-pandemic, and you may find yourself competing against other prospective employers. Jobseekers are less likely to hold out for opportunities, as they may have done in the past, but are moving at pace and seizing the opportunity. If there is a delay in progressing to extending an offer to your preferred candidate without any communication or transparency, you may lose them from your process. 

In the same vein, having five or more interview rounds can reduce momentum in a process, especially if this is over an extended time period. Acre can help you set clear and measurable criteria to strengthen your decision and keep the process efficient.

We understand that sometimes this can be less straight forward, and last-minute stakeholders may need to be added to the interview process. We can support clear communication and transparency to the candidate to keep their understanding and engagement with your process aligned. We can work with you to ensure that the timelines and your expectations of the candidate are met at every stage of the process. 

It can always help to start thinking about a potential offer before the candidate concludes the final rounds so that you’re prepared to move quickly at the crucial moment​.

3. Are you offering the most competitive salary?

Salaries for in-demand professionals are rapidly increasing and sustainability professionals are no exception. What was once a competitive salary as little as six months ago may not live up to market-competitive standards today. Make sure that you are constantly benchmarking in order to offer an attractive package to lure top talent. Often, our search process will allow you to get these market insights and ensure you have a current and accurate pulse on the market expectations for your role.

Wondering what current competitive salaries are for new or multiple roles? Acre’s Advisory team would be happy to help you out. 

4. Involve the right stakeholders & ensure everyone is aligned 

If the internal decision makers are not united in agreement over what a candidate should bring to the table, you’re looking at a long, painful, and most likely unsuccessful process. Before you even embark on your search, make sure you have identified all the relevant decision-makers and have aligned regarding the qualifications of the role and all it encompasses. Acre can then take the helm to search for the finest in the talent pool, introducing accomplished candidates who possess the greatest aptitude and potential to drive sustainability forward within the business.

Peter Vos is the Head of Research – Europe for Acre’s EU office specializing in delivering high-level executive search within sustainability, ESG and energy. Feel free to reach out and get in touch if you want to know more about running a successful recruitment process. 

Are you looking to hire the best in sustainability talent or searching for a new role in a rapidly expanding market? We’re curious to hear about your experiences and best practices!