Why Internal Talent Acquisition will never produce Top Candidates

October 16th, 2013

Everything starts with requirements, even corporate Information Technology positions.

The manner a position requirement is put together and the questions it answers dictate how fillable the position and the caliber of candidates it attracts.

In corporate America, position requirements come from job description information. Job descriptions define the ideal candidate (and then some), what skills are required, and any pluses they might bring.

This requirement (job description data) that provides the candidate roadmap creates the initial roadblock by making the field of candidates too narrow. Secondly, it creates a barrier by not discussing what the candidate will do identifying the required performance. Thirdly, because of no detailed discussion of what work and challenges the position entails, the position doesn’t attract the performance-based, high-caliber passive candidates.

Therefore, the internal recruiters do not possess the adequate or accurate position information.  They are forced to look for skills that may not be required to fill the position and eliminate many high caliber candidates from the mix.  Because they are dealing with job description data, they cannot identify real requirements.

Without having knowledge of what the candidate’s responsibility will be, what needs to get accomplished over the next 1-2 years, a vivid picture of success, the hurdles/challenges needed to be overcome, etc. the position cannot be explained to the high caliber candidates enough to attract them.

In this scenario, skills are sought with no eye on caliber or past performance of the candidate.


Internal recruiters usually talk to the candidates responding to posted positions on job boards, company websites, and social media. Talent acquisition is usually not contacting or cold calling candidates, networking with someone to find a candidate who would be excited about the position, or working on referrals.  Most of the time when they do talk to a candidate, they are hamstrung because of their skill-based requirement and can’t adequately discuss the challenge, impact, opportunity for change, and other opportunities interesting to a top performing, high-caliber candidate.  They spend most of the conversation discussing the company needs from the job description in an attempt to find out if the candidate possesses those perceived essential skills. This kills the candidate’s interest level.


This motivation for the position and company is driven by what the candidate will get to do, challenges they will have, impact they can make, what they can become, and how high they can scale. And because internal talent acquisition departments are focused on skills and needs, they cannot interpret or speak to the candidates’ motivations.

When this is not understood, an entire dimension is removed from the talent acquisition process, and makes it very difficult for internal talent acquisition to measure the candidate “fit” and candidate caliber.

The candidate becomes a 2 dimensional creature – someone who is just a list of skills.

Honer and Associates

At Honer and Associates, we focus is on identifying, attracting, hiring, and retaining the highest-caliber, top-performing candidates in the marketplace.  We provide a value-add service that pays off long-term in respect to employee longevity, promotions and low turnover.  If you have any additional questions about attracting the best candidates to your organization, please contact us at your convenience.