Talent Selection is About Candidate Recognition…not Candidate Identification.

November 13th, 2013

A number of decades ago, recruiting firms / employment agencies acted like and competed with   internal Human Resource Departments.  They ran job ads, generated referrals (from both employees and other candidates), targeted the unemployed / available candidate pool, and made recruiting cold calls. Names of candidates were so difficult to come up with that if a candidate answered a recruiter’s classified ad and came to the agency office as a result, the recruiter was expected to get at least 3 referral names of people the candidate knew in the field before leaving the agency office.

Twenty-plus years ago, recruiters were paid to generate names of possible candidates and then go recruit those candidates.

Strong results for a good recruiter was a “hit rate” of about 2 out of 10 – or 20% – as almost everyone used to answer their phone.

However, with the advent of the internet, the Google search engine, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. candidates’ identities are not hidden nor or they attempt to be for any reason. The role of the Executive Recruiter has changed and there is no need to come up with names in covert ways.  Boolean searches work, and LinkedIn houses a database of 225 million people, for example.  An internet-savvy recruiter can generate more candidate names and profiles from the internet than can possibly be reviewed in a week, much less called. The bottom line is that most active IT candidates today can be found on the Internet. So what is the difficulty?

Candidate identification is not the difficulty.  The difficulty comes in separating A/B+ candidates from the rest of market.  The skill of separating these high-caliber candidates from the rest of the market can be broken down into three components:

  1. Need the ability to recognize the A/B+ candidates by looking at resumes and profiles and determine who most likely has performed the best, has a track record of success, and has developed a depth of experience worth noting.
  2. Able to have conversations with those potential candidates and recognize who actually has done the “right things” that would demonstrate a history of outstanding performance.  In other words, how to model and know who are odds-on favorites to be a high-caliber candidate.
  3. Proficient in conducting interviews in a way that validates that the person is in fact a high-caliber, top- performer.

Today, most internal talent acquisition departments identify candidates simply by gathering resumes, and validating skill matches with the position.  These are sent forward to a hiring manager who also does resume skill matches.  These actions are expected to indicate or determine the best candidates to interview. And we hire the best of whom we interview.

If that is all we do, value is not added- it is actually subtracted.  To provide a value-add, screening and interviewing must determine high-caliber, top performer, and competency levels first. Possession of skills relative to the position doesn’t indicate any degree of performance at any level.

In conclusion, it doesn’t make any difference who provides the candidate insight. It is all about recognizing talent, competency, track record of performance, and depth of experience.

At Honer and Associates we work to provide this value add every day – with every client.  If you would like to discuss this topic in a more in-depth level, contact us today!