The Talent You Are Missing: Are You Hiring the Best in the Industry or Just the Best Who Applied?

As of October of 2019, the unemployment rate in the united states is 3.6%. Over the last 20 years, we have seen many shifts in the job economy, some due to technology, some due to our own nation’s economy. We have experienced downsizing, rightsizing, a talent war and now a talent shortage which includes reskilling. That’s a lot of focus on talent.

Over the last 20 years, five of which have been spent leading Exclusive Search Connections, I have experienced quite a few changes in how we recruit. I witnessed faxed resumes. I watched as Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes revolutionized the staffing industry. My first job in staffing I won an award for discovering how to search out mailing lists from local graduate programs (sorry about that). I enjoyed the speed of responding to a client request while waiting to meet a different client for lunch — all on my Blackberry (remember those!).

An Influx of Leads Doesn’t Guarantee Top Talent

Now, it’s faster than ever to apply for jobs. Think of it — in just the last decade, employees used to be reprimanded for having their cell phones at work. Now they can apply for their next job on their phone (in three clicks or less) while leaving their office after a bad annual review.

Hiring managers spend billions of dollars a year on job postings. And as a result, thousands of resumes are flooding in — from the unemployed, underemployed, online bots and even over-protective mothers. What caliber of talent is really in the stack of leads you receive from the ads? Finding the top candidates is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Even if you are able to weed out the top candidates, are you really interviewing the best of the best?

Finding the top candidates is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

When you are interviewing candidates, how many of the individuals are passive job searchers? These are the candidates that aren’t actively looking for a new position, but they are open-minded to new opportunities. This type of candidate could be very valuable to your organization. 

Passive Talent: The Differentiator 

We can all agree — exceptional talent is a big differentiator. I’m sure you have several exceptional members of your team. What would happen if one day one of your exceptional superstars put in their two week’s notice because they got hired by your biggest competition? Ouch, it almost feels personal, doesn’t it? But it’s not, it’s passive. Your superstar was happy at your organization, but through various circumstances (or good networking) they heard about a new position. They interviewed for it and landed the job. Your loss, their gain, and your competitor’s gain.

To fill the newly open position, the cycle starts again. You post a job ad and review a stack of perfectly fine resumes. But you need exceptional. Where do you find it?

The cream rises to the top. You won’t find top-of-the-line superstars in the normal talent pool. Even with a culture that is focused on adding top talent, it’s important to have relationships with outside organizations that can help connect you with superstars. You need networking support. You need boots on the ground!

You won’t find top-of-the-line superstars among the normal talent pool.

You can keep trying to do it all yourself, putting your trust in algorithms and online funnels, or you can enlist reinforcements to fight for you in the modern-day talent war. It’s time to engage in a retained search. This is the hirings world’s equivalent of “digging your well before it dry.”
It pays to build up your resources and have someone foster relationships for your company around the clock (and around the block). You need an outside representative to act as the trusted liaison to exceptional candidates (before they even consider themselves candidates).

When you attract this caliber of talent on a regular bases, it’s a true indicator of your employment brand. This will, in turn, increase retention and overall production of your organization. That’s the goal, right?