Finding the hidden talent

Woman looking with binoculars

As mentioned in my previous blog Search will help attract the top talent you cannot get yourself, you will need to have a different approach to attract that talent not readily available on the market. Just how do you pick the apples off the tree?

When the hire is critical and when you must find the right person, you simply cannot leave this to chance!

Critical recruitment like this is often looking for a certain set of skills and experience that is simply not common. This is not only for senior level recruitment; this is when you need something specific, say skills in a new technology area, or experience running a certain type of project, or someone with a unique track record, for example in project/programme turnaround, or opening new business areas or territories etc..

The goal here is to find the right combination or skills, experience and personal characteristics and then to INFLUENCE this person to consider YOUR opportunity. In addition you also need to make sure you have fully explored the market to be sure you have the right person available to you today and there is really no way of doing this using your usual recruitment process. You need a trained and experienced search consultant to affect this for you.

A word of caution; I have many times come across the objection from both line management and HR that they have their own internal head-hunter for these assignments. Given that good search consultants can and will make a lot of money working in external agencies (or for themselves), much more than they could ever make working internally for a single company, it is very unlikely that this is the case! I know of companies that have their own recruitment agency function and I know of some head-hunters who will provide a consultancy into three or four companies. In both cases it is unlikely that they would be able to provide a highly skilled search consultant sufficient opportunity to earn as much as they can if they work externally.

In my earlier post talking about the benefits of using a Retainer we talked about fully understanding the opportunity in terms of

• The Company
• Line Manager
• Team
• Duties & Responsibilities
• Qualifications
• Required Experience
• Disqualifiers
• Personal Qualities
• Internal External Relationships

Using a search consultant:

The skill of the search consultant now is to find the top three or four people available today, whether they are actively looking for a new role or not, that match these requirements and influence them to consider your opportunity.

Finding the right person is not just about going on to LinkedIn and seeing who works at your competition. The first job of the search consultant is to understand the search universe, not just who is your competition, but where suitably qualified and experienced people will have worked, either now or in the past.

What Job titles (or rather what type of role) may they have been working in previously? What skills may be transferable into your opportunity from other areas etc. etc. Clearly defining the search universe is the key to a successful search.

Once this has been defined the next step is to identify who is working in the identified roles in the identified companies (or who has in the recent past). Again, this is not just seeing who is on LinkedIn, or Xing or Viadio etc. the trick here is finding the people not listed on these sites (as well as those who are).

Once there is a list of names, the next step is to start the phone work, to engage with as many of these names as possible and to network with these people to uncover other names and to sell your opportunity to each person. This hardly does justice to work involved. A full search can involve engaging with 30 to 60 people (are they available, interested, in the right area, qualified etc.), qualifying between 8 to 12 (more in depth look at their skills achievements against the job order) and shortlisting the top 5 or 6 (fully interviewed, often face to face if practical) to present 3 or 4 for the opportunity.

At the end of this process the search consultant will make you a full presentation of each of the 3 or 4 candidates he/she presents. This presentation should be at a meeting or at worst on the phone. This should not be sending their CVs across with a few notes in an email. The result of this will be setting up 3 or 4 first round interviews.

It is of course entirely possible that in the search the consultant will not have identified 3 or 4 qualified people, or possibly identified that there is nobody with the right skill mix currently available, he/she will be able to give you a very in depth report on the market and will work with you from this to determine the next steps but you will have factual information to work with to determine your next actions. Without the benefit of a search you simply won’t know what is happening! As you can see, there is merit in working with a search consultant, they are experts at navigating through the market of active and passive candidates – they hand pick the perfect apple, just for your role.

Click here now to book a 5 minute call with one of our leading consultants

Jim Foster
Managing Partner
Tel: +44 (0) 1344 388 033
Mobile: +44 (0) 7887 791 042
Antal Bracknell ICT

Bracknell Enterprise & Innovation Centre,
12th Floor, Ocean House, Bracknell, RG12 1AX