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Tip Of The Month – Expand Your Candidate Pipeline

by: Dan Gathof, Partner – Olympia Solutions

Things that make me smh…

When recruiters rely on key-word searches such as title, function and key skills to find candidates for their open positions.

I’m surprised at how often I hear about the same recruitment process being followed for identifying candidates for a new opening. The standard search process looks something like this:

1). Get the job description from the hiring executive,
2.) Pull out the title/level, function and key skills required,
3). Plug search criteria into a linkedin search,
4). Send message to candidates who appear to align, and
5). Keep fingers crossed that enough people reply.

So what do you do when enough people don’t reply? Do you start the search over with another recruiter, change the position description, continue going after the same people, or all of the above?

It’s a major issue for companies that they typically don’t have enough high quality candidate flow for their searches. And if you don’t have enough candidate pipeline, you’re probably not going to fill the search.

If you want better recruiting results, you probably need to try a different approach.

Here is an idea to consider…

When building an initial list of candidates to contact, start the process with considering companies, not individuals.

In other words, first think about companies that satisfy two criteria for your search:

1). Do the required skills and competencies exist in the target company? and
2). Do you “win” if the individual is deciding between your company over their current company?

On point 1, it is fairly clear that you want to reach out to individuals who have the necessary domain skills to be successful in the role. On point 2, a recruiter needs to be thoughtful about their ability to attract and extract someone from their current environment. There are many factors to consider, including compensation, timing of bonus and equity payments, strength of the brands, career trajectory, etc. Avoid chasing those candidates who you have no potential to close.

Once a recruiting team prioritizes those target companies where the skills sets exist and probability for success is high, then the recruiter can do a deep dive on identifying profiles within those environments.

This is not an easy exercise. It takes time to develop and refine the list. It also requires some internal discussion to determine the biases your executive team has on various competitors and other environments. Don’t let the excuses of hard work and internal debate be the barriers for creating a richer pipeline.

The outcome of your hard work and effort should be a robust candidate sourcing list that contains enough qualified prospects to fill the open position.

Best, Dan