Excellence in the Defence Industry – Not Only in the Technological Sphere

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

By Vickie Zisman

The Israeli defence industries constantly need to recruit new employees in order to fulfill the new requirements.

The global recession in the defence sector since 2008 did not skip Israel. Up to around 2014, budget cuts were felt by the local defence companies whose revenue came from government projects. Many of them responded by drastic cuts in human resources. Even when the recession faded away, industry leaders like LM drove the revenues by smarter and leaner operation, to maximise the profit potential, despite optimistic experts’ projections regarding this sector.

In Israel, accordingly, the improvement has trickled down. There has been a rising demand for skilled labour in all spheres of operation .Avionics, mechanics and cybersecurity companies have been scouting for talent. 8200 Unit graduates are snatched like hot rolls, seasoned engineers are cherished and retained or poached by competitors.

However, the entrenched and often harmful recruitment practices prevent the organisations from achieving the expert talent they need. The prevalent red-tape procedures leave many capable candidates breathless, and actually shopping for other employers.

The story of a certain company is an exception that shines through the clouds of the usual bureaucratic recruitment drag: A certain subsidiary of one of the defence industry leaders here, located in the North, had several openings in their finance department. Business was booming and they needed a quick quality placement of experienced staff. The recruitment process was surprising:

They haven’t mulled it over too long – they had clear realistic requirements from potential candidates.

Deciding to go for an external recruitment agent, they have chosen Bookeeper, an EXPERT company, specialising in finance placement only.

The results were unique over the backdrop of the industry’s routine organisational placement.

In April 2015 Bookeeper made the first screening of the candidates, choosing the suitable ones and sending their files to the client. 10 days later, the candidates were summoned for the interview at the client’s offices. The second round was in late December. The chosen one started work in January 2016. Overall recruitment process duration: a month! In total.

There is this ocean of independent organizational/recruitment gurus/contractors, on the consulting circuit in Israel, who publish expert articles, advise on the processes, etc. as well as an infinite number of recruitment companies. And I am still bewildered by the amount of practical blunders, judging from the employment market condition.

So what made this particular case different?

The defence company was cherishing the human capital, while the recruiter was delivering an expertise service:

The client knew exactly what it was looking for – they didn’t just advertise to test the market and build a CV pool for the future. Moreover, they didn’t put the candidates through lengthy assessment processes. They wanted professionals? They got the best.

The recruiter was a specialized boutique doing placements at the finance sector only, on all organizational levels.

The defence industry, with its HR processes, “enjoys” a reputation of a dinosaur in all aspects except for technological innovation. So it has been a positive surprise to find in a large corporation some fresh attitude, which signifies a truly excellent management, a healthy decision making process, the ability to identify real experts and retaining them for long term. Rendering true all those organizational clichés, businesses like this are the rays of hope in our complicated economic and employment reality. Shine through guys!