How Do You Make Star Hires in the Middle East?

Your company’s performance tomorrow depends on your hires today. Given the challenges recruiters face in the Middle East, what is the best approach to hire star employees?

How Do You Make Star Hires in the Middle East?

23 Feb 2017 by  Neha Mohunta

The cost of a wrong hire is always higher than you think. Beyond salaries, there are additional fees for recruitment, relocation, visa, and training, as well as the cost of finding a replacement and the impact on your business. At the same time, over ⅓ of employees in the Middle East are willing to leave for a better opportunity.

With the hefty financial outlay, it is clear to leaders that hiring right is key. The good news is, employers have the luxury of choice.

However, with today’s changing and diverse workforce, recruiting right is no easy task. This is made especially difficult with the unique challenges that the Middle East faces:

  • There’s a demand for specialists but an oversupply of generalists.
  • There’s a need to develop national talent for the future but expatriates make up most of the workforce.
  • Only 44% of employers measure the quality of their hires, which limits their ability to improve the recruitment process.

These challenges, along with the high cost of wrong hires, all point to one crucial fact—organisations must adopt a new approach to hire, retain, and grow star employees.

Identify stars and hire them


Stars are talents with the aptitude for the role, and an attitude that fits the company culture. With the current economic outlook, it isn’t enough to hire star employees. It is equally important to seek out future star employees.

To do this, HR must use a combination of human touch and technology smarts to predict future performance.

For instance, a leading financial services institute in the Middle East uses technical interviews, behavioural event interviews, psychometric testing and a panel interview when hiring managers. With this mix of screening tools and selection methodologies, they are better able to form sound predictions of performance.

Invest in stars to retain them

Recruiting stars is only the first step. The next is making sure that these stars stay with your company. 76% of employees at Best Employers rarely think about leaving their company.

This begins with the onboarding process. A leading Islamic financial institution in UAE conducts a structured programme that gives their new hires a year of cross-functional exposure. By investing in your star hires from the start, they will similarly feel invested in your company. This also makes it easy for employees to recognise what your company values, and how they can progress in the long run.

Include stars to grow them

Help stars develop their careers in your company. Beyond promotions, this can be in the form of overseas assignments, cross-functional projects, and leadership shadowing opportunities, among others.

One good way to include your stars is through mentorship. In fact, a leading financial services entity in Dubai created an alumni group so that their budding talents can have easy access to mentors.

Now is the time for organisations to rethink the ways they can identify, invest, and include stars as part of their workforce—and it begins right from the hiring process.

Start a conversation with us

Need help building a recruitment process to hire, retain and grow star employees for your organisation? Get in touch with us.

Neha Mohunta

Neha is a Senior Consultant with Aon Hewitt Middle East, based out of the Dubai office. With over 10 years of experience, Neha manages projects in areas such as Integrated Talent Management including competency articulation, high potential management, succession planning, career management, job evaluation and grading structure design.

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Neha Mohunta
Neha Mohunta
Dubai, UAE
Boon Chong Na
Singapore