Almost all of the articles that I write are based, at least in part, on the experience that I’ve accumulated as an executive search consultant and recruiter. This article is no exception.
As a search consultant for 20 years, I’ve worked with numerous organizations of all sizes. I’ve worked with Fortune 100 organizations to small ones with three employees and companies of about every size in between.
Consequently, I’ve seen a lot of hiring processes. As you might imagine, some of them have been successful and some of them have not. I’ve seen good candidates get hired, and I’ve also seen good candidates get screened out and not hired.
That’s right: I’ve seen good candidates NOT get hired. Mind you, they didn’t get hired because of something they did. They didn’t get hired because there was a better candidate and the organization chose that candidate instead.
They didn’t get hired because the organization’s hiring process actually prohibited the person from being considered for the position. They were, in effect, screened out.
A case study and six essentials
I have a particular case study regarding this topic that stands out in my mind. As I mentioned, I’ve seen just about everything in the employment marketplace during my 20 years in executive search and recruiting. These experiences are not only revealing, but they should also serve as cautionary tales for those who are at risk for committing the same mistakes. Here’s the story . . .
I presented a candidate to an employer for a position. The employer put the position on hold. However, they had a similar role open up in another department. The good news, I thought, was that the candidate I presented for the original role was an even better fit for the second position.
But the company would not consider that candidate for the second position. The reason was that the company had different hiring strategies for the positions. The hiring strategy for the first position was to use a search consultant. The hiring strategy for the second position was to post online job ads and hope and pray that a suitable candidate responded to the ad.
After weeks, the hiring manager was still trying to find a candidate to fill the second position. But the HR department would not let the hiring manager consider the qualified candidate that I presented. The candidate was nearly a perfect fit for the position, yet the company’s hiring process was screening the candidate out.
In fact, their process did screen the candidate out. The organization did not hire the person, even though they were clearly qualified and as I said, almost a perfect fit. The person took a position with another organization in the same industry.
I’ve written before about what constitutes a great hiring process. Without going into too much detail, for an organization to have an effective hiring process, it needs to include the following six elements:
- A complete and comprehensive position description with plenty of “sizzle”
- A way to identify the top candidates in the marketplace
- A way to attract those top candidates
- Ways to keep candidates engaged throughout the process, including with consistent feedback
- Lasts no more than four to six weeks and the shorter, the better
- Effective onboarding that continues to keep the employee engaged and assures them that they’ve made the correct decision.
However, even if you execute these elements, it won’t matter much if your process somehow screens out top candidates. The idea is to get these qualified and high-quality candidates engaged and interested in your opportunity. You want to put yourself in a position to hire these candidates successfully. The last thing you want to do is “shoot yourself in the foot” and deny yourself the chance to hire top talent.
The value that an experienced search consultant brings
An experienced search consultant with a track record of success can bring tremendous value to the hiring process. They can help with the six crucial elements listed above, as well as anything else that is important to the process and the goal of hiring the best candidate possible.
The value that experienced search consultants bring to the hiring process can be broken down into three main categories. The first category is the knowledge that they have.
First of all, they have knowledge of the top candidates in the marketplace. Specifically, they know who those candidates are, and they probably already have relationships with them and know the timing of when that individual is ready to make a move. As we’ve discussed before, the first step in hiring top talent is being able to identify top talent.
Second, search consultants have knowledge of the conditions of the job market, including current trends and emerging trends. An example would be a candidates’ market like the one we’re experiencing right now and that we talked about earlier. Search consultants have knowledge of what to do and how to handle specific market conditions, and they can use that knowledge to educate and guide their clients.
Third, search consultants have knowledge of what companies are doing within the industry. This is especially valuable for organizations that want to know what’s happening with their competitors. Companies do everything they can to grow and gain more market share. Since search consultants/ recruiters are “in the trenches” every day, they have knowledge of this sort of information.
The second category is the opportunities that recruiters create. Recruiters are on the phone all the time, every day, talking to job seekers, candidates, and other professionals within their industry. We’re talking about hundreds of phone calls and conversations every single week. Those are calls that result in opportunities—opportunities for organizations to hire top-level talent and opportunities for job seekers and passive candidates to find a better employment situation. Once again, these are opportunities that company officials do not have time to create. As a result, they put a value on what recruiters are able to do, and that’s yet another reason why they work with them to fill positions.
The third category involves the skills and abilities that search consultants possess. While a recruiters’ knowledge and the opportunities they create help them to identify top candidates who are willing to make a move, it’s their skills that are really their most valuable component. And a recruiter’s main skill is their ability to recruit, plain and simple.
The hiring process is the most important key in attracting, engaging, and hiring top talent. Don’t screen out the best candidates. Make sure your organization is in a position to hire them . . . and then hire them!
We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of organizations. If this is something you would like to explore further, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.