If you read the literature for most recruiting firms you may come away with the impression that search is an elegant business, conducted by handsome men and women, who by reputation should be engaged, as they claim have a crystal ball that tells them were the perfect candidate is hiding. If it were that easy?!
The best recruiting firms have developed thoughtful and deliberate processes for identifying, attracting, screening, selecting, testing, and vetting talent. Sometimes however the search is difficult, the placement challenging, and there are few candidates that appear available. In these instances, it pays to follow your process and grind it out... like making sausage.
Consider the following recent search for a rockstar candidate. ePraxis was given the opportunity to find a new top executive for a disruptive firm leading change in an aging industry. The process started as all others with a methodical approach to sourcing talent... and then it got more difficult. The particular talent we were charged to find was rare and literally one in a million. So we had to get more inventive to find and source the talent. Finding hard-to-find talent is a core capability of ePraxis.
In the end, through push and pull tactics, we followed our system and reached out to 51,909 potential candidates through various means to find that needle-in-the-haystack. From this effort, some 1,620 candidates clicked through to our position posting on LinkedIn. We further developed a recruiter touch strategy amalgamating multiple sources of industry data to identify 900 potential candidates for personal approach. We used multiple forms of social media including facebook, twitter, etc. and generated more interest. In the end, 72 prospective candidates of 900 targeted expressed interest in exploring the opportunity (8%). Another 70 candidates approached us after learning of the opportunity from our social media campaign. 38 candidates completed the application process online. After a review 11 of these candidates showed strong potential and were phone interviewed further. 6 of these candidates were invited to panel interview. 5 of these candidates were invited to submit work demonstration submittals. 3 of these candidates were invited to finals interview. 2 of these candidates were offered employment. The client is thrilled and said, 'you literally found the needle in the haystack on this one.'
So there are several lessons here. (1) develop a system with strategy and tactics for sourcing talent; (2) use multiple forms of sourcing, and don't rely alone on social media methods alone; reaching out to candidates in a personal way still has value; (3) great candidates are frequently working and not looking at job boards -- so you need to approach these passive job seekers in other ways; (4) persistence yields fruit; (5) when it gets difficult, its time to redouble your efforts and follow your process.