Why Passive Candidates Now

September 30th, 2013

Before the recession of the early 1990’s, companies were hesitant to lay off workers – they shied away to avoid any possible public backlash.

However, in the early 90’s, many had no choice.  They were simply broken and required drastic measures to repair themselves.

Down-sizing, right-sizing, and mass layoffs were born.

After 20 years of downsizing, rightsizing, outsourcing, laying off and economic downturns, industry leaders have now realized that most of the top performers – the people they want to hire for their organization – are engaged and working for someone else, not available and unemployed because they were laid off (exceptions do occur, but call them “needles in haystacks”)

They know this because when they downsized (or right-sized or laid off) they did not cut their best.  The best employees left when they became disenchanted over poor company performance, lack of opportunities, or were recruited for a “grass is greener” opportunity.

The key in identifying, attracting, selecting and hiring these desirable passive candidates is by recognizing the difference in their frame of mind – from their active counterparts and most hiring managers – during the hiring process.

First, they have to be identified.  These passive candidates are not looking for other opportunities consciously.  They have to be found.  You can find out who they are by using public sources, referrals and confidential information.  The information is plentiful and accessible; it is simply time-consuming to process.

However, the true job of recruiting – or talent acquisition – in 2013 is not one of candidate identification, as it was 10+ years ago.  It is one of candidate recognition.

There is no secret sauce to locating highly qualified candidates.  The introduction of LinkedIn, resume databases and (even) Google has taken care of that.  The true skill comes in candidate recognition, or being able to recognize the high performers and what is required from a performance profile standpoint.  In other words, the true job of a recruiter is to recognize and validate the “caliber of the candidate”.

A recruiters job well done is to steer the interview process and assist in making sure all the bases are touched.  All candidates should be thoroughly screened and interviewed, but it is important for the interviewers to remember they must sell both their job opportunity and the company to passive candidates.

These candidates may not come to the interview dressed in their best suit and tie, look you in the eye, shake hands aggressively, etc.  They may not be articulate and sell themselves around the job. Company interviewers who expect this behavior are still interviewing in the past when a surplus of candidates existed, and the game was to weed out the losers. We are now dealing with a scarcity of high-caliber candidates, and the same interviewing process will lose more passive candidates than they will hire.  The candidate has also come to gather information, find out about the company, position, who it reports to, etc.  The candidate’s interest must be addressed to further the hiring process.

Finally, it is necessary to make more than fair salary offers when possible.  Salary equates to value, and passive candidates need to feel valued if they are going to make any type of career move and leave their current position.

So if you are serious about hiring only the best candidates for every key position, work with Honer and Associates.  Our specialty is knowing how to identify, attract, select and hire the best and brightest.  Contact us today!

Why IT Leadership Hires Candidates That Can Do the Job…Not the Best Available in the Market

September 16th, 2013

Most organizations start the hiring process with a job description developed by HR or the hiring manager or a combination of both.   It’s creation is usually triggered by some change – a new product rollout, a new project/program, a resignation, or a change in management.

These job descriptions generally focus on educational requirements and skills – either skills that the prior employee had and on what the manager thinks the job requires.  They rarely describe the work involved and what is entailed.

To start the process, the job is posted on the company website and job boards, and the hiring manager or HR wait for the resumes.

However, if the company’s goal is to find the best candidate for the job – not the candidate that can do the job- then this process is doomed to failure.

The typical goal of management is to find the person who possesses the skills necessary to do the job, interviews well, communicates effectively, and who is able to articulate they are motivated to do the job.

The problem lies in the odds being totally against hiring a high quality, top performer because that is not what the goal was set around when the job description was written. By focusing on “good enough”, “phenomenal” is compromised.

If passive candidates are the target, what are the chances that they will find that posting?  They are not looking for a new job, so they would not be actively scrolling through LinkedIn or CareerBuilder or even Dice.  If they do find out about the open position, what are the chances of them applying, proceeding through the screening process, showing up for the interview dressed in their best suit and tie, smile on their face, steady eye contact, and ready to sell themselves?

The chances are not good. The odds are better for hiring the “best fit” who applied to job description, not the highest caliber candidate, motivated to come to work for the company in the position because of the opportunity presented.

The majority of hiring processes focus around the wrong things – finding candidates who are eager to accept the position and who have a majority of the skills outlined by management in the job description.

To successfully hire the best talent, companies need to focus on building an effective hiring process and conducting planned interviews.  Managers need focus on gathering pertinent information (decided in advance) and selling the opportunity to the candidate – not on the candidate’s interest, job skills and ability to interview well.

At Honer and Associates, our mission is to assist our clients in identifying, attracting, hiring, and retaining the highest-caliber, top-performing candidates in the marketplace.  If you have any additional questions about attracting the best candidates to your organization, please contact us at your convenience.