And the Oscar Goes to: The CHRO

There’s a new Academy Award for casting. HR executives say it’s about time.

As every manager knows, finding the right person for the right job can take months, and a wrong move can lead to lost corporate opportunities, extended underperformance, and—if things go really south—years of leadership turmoil. Yet recruiters rarely get mentioned in media, let alone lauded in-house. 

Perhaps that may change. This month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a new Oscar for Best Casting. The award, applying to films beginning in 2025, will be presented for the first time at the 2026 Oscars—meaning that 97 years after the first Academy Awards, casting directors will finally receive their due.

Experts see a similar failure over many years to celebrate corporate recruiting. “There’s an expectation that you just get it right,” says Dennis Deans, vice president of global human resources at Korn Ferry, who says that casting is analogous to corporate recruiting and talent management: “It’s part of the job.”

Recruiting and hiring is exorbitantly expensive for corporations: 2022 figures from the Society for Human Resource Management show that the average hire costs $4700, though the cost—accounting for expenses like HR salaries and the hours spent interviewing candidates—can rise to as high as three to four times a new hire’s salary. Corporate “miscasting” is more common than ever these days, say experts, due to the high number of people jumping from one job to the next, willing to take on a role for 18 to 24 months that they know isn’t a great fit, all for a boost to their résumé.

Yet perfect recruiting often goes unnoticed in the corporate world, where wins are rarely traced back to hirers, let alone celebrated, even though the stakes could not be higher. “If someone flops in a role, the consequences include lost revenue, impact to employee engagement, and potentially serious client issues,” says Deans. Experts say that the primary parallel between movie casting and corporate hiring is in attracting the best and brightest, and building a strong pipeline of talent. While casting directors have to keep their eyes peeled for smaller films and supporting roles, companies can build their own pipelines (and look to poach their competitors’). 

The role of hirers is made infinitely complicated by staffing groups. “The trick is creating great team chemistry reliably and before the fact,” says HR expert Ron Porter, senior client partner at Korn Ferry. When job searches are down to the last two or three candidates, he notes, the difference is often not in work capability, but in that magical chemistry with the people on the team and other leadership executives. “Chemistry is the part that’s hard to put your finger on and define,” he says.

Experts say that common hiring woes include bringing on very talented people for whom the right role does not exist, and failing to suss out key differences that lead to underperformance in particular roles, such as a preference for turnarounds versus slow and steady growth. Both pitfalls can be avoided, says Deans, by ensuring that talent acquisitions are aligned with the company’s strategic initiatives—which means finding the best actor for the right role in the right story. 


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