Why some recruiters get the best job candidates

Finding the best job candidates for an employer takes hard work, even when it looks like it doesn’t.

Here’s an example. A battery manufacturer once approached us for help recruiting a sales professional who has experience supplying batteries to leading auto companies. Now, we’re talking about selling lithium-ion batteries to Ford and General Motors. Not many people have that experience.

We knew we would be working with an extremely short list of qualified individuals. If the search was targeting someone who has sold large-scale energy storage systems, we could have identified many qualified job candidates. By contrast, there might be half a dozen people on the planet who have sold lithium-ion batteries to a Big 3 automaker.

After an exhaustive search, we identified the right individual. After a challenging negotiation, we helped our client hire one of the world’s most successful Automotive Lithium-Ion Battery Sales Professionals.

Sometimes we spend countless hours searching and recruiting and suddenly the perfect candidate applies to us directly.  Through our website or another resource, we can quickly move through a process and help them find an awesome role.

Deals like this fall into your lap about once a year. The reality is that online job boards are not always an efficient recruiting tool. They usually generate a lot of unqualified candidates. Meanwhile, it’s the old-school recruiting tactics, the ones that many recruiting companies don’t do anymore, that enable us to consistently deliver the best job candidates to our clients.

What employment websites can and can’t do

Employment websites provide users with a powerful communication channel. You can freely and easily share all sorts of information with the people in your network. Company updates, job posts, new hire announcements, and more. You can also spend a little money to customize messages for a well-defined audience.

In addition, these websites provide treasure troves of insight on the labor market. Collect data on salaries and signing bonuses in the markets where you operate. Monitor job openings among your competitors. Measure how well your segment of the industry is creating leadership opportunities for women and people of color.

When recruiting for clients, we routinely share job opportunities on our website and a variety of job boards and social media channels. We do this even though we know these posts often fail to produce the most qualified candidates. What’s the point? Digital platforms with millions and millions of users are quite simply the best way to get in front of people. They let users know we exist. In some ways, it’s a branding exercise.

Successful recruiters are constantly doing two things at once. The short-term goal is always to match great individuals with new job opportunities at amazing companies. The long-term goal: strengthen our network of individuals with skills and experiences that are in demand with employers. These goals go hand in hand. Employment websites support the long-term goal. When matching jobseekers and employers, we get the best results by directly contacting as many people as possible.

Direct, one-on-one contact works best

The danger in recruiting is getting caught up in quantity over quality. Employment websites make it easy to slide down this slippery slope. Recruiters need a large and diverse professional network. If you know that fewer than 10 percent of qualified candidates who learn about a certain job opportunity apply, you can understand why a job post must reach several hundred of people to give the employer a decent selection of candidates. For efficiency’s sake, why not cultivate a network online?

Because you don’t build a rapport with someone in the course of a single online interaction, or even after a single phone conversation. You build trust and demonstrate your value as an advocate by being candid about job opportunities and working to understand what’s motivating a candidate to seek a job change.

Through the process, a recruiter may learn that a jobseeker is frustrated in his current position because he hasn’t been provided enough room for growth. If you know that the job opportunity on the table requires a two-year tenure with the company before new employees can get on a management track, you can show that you really have the jobseeker’s best interests at heart by explaining that this opportunity might not be the best fit. In the long run, it’s in everybody’s interest—the jobseeker, the employer, and you, the recruiter—to find the best match between the candidate and the opportunity.

The only way to know if you have a good match is to take the time and learn about the role, then take more time and learn about the candidate. It is incredibly rare that we connect with a candidate over a job post and find in the first conversation that this individual is a perfect fit for the job. It’s rare that this person will even get through a couple rounds of interview in the first opportunity. Most of the placements we make are with people we have known for two or three years.

Find job candidates for your company

For over 40 years, we have been providing clients with the critical talent needed to grow a business, placing professionals from accounting and finance, business development, sales and marketing, engineering, the executive suite and more. Are you looking to fill a senior management position on your team? Contact us to find out how we can identify the best talent for the job.