Where Are All the Good Candidates?

Hiring can be a daunting task, especially in today’s job climate of low unemployment and high competition.  When you need to fill a position at your company, it is important to fill the role quickly, but also find a good candidate who will be successful in the role.  

Good candidates

Working in Recruiting for the past ten years, I have sifted through thousands of resumes and spoken with thousands of good candidates to assess their skills, talents and needs.  

While hiring sales reps, manufacturing experts, and more, I often have wished for a magical website that would provide the purple squirrels - those “Perfect” candidates - that we all know are hidden somewhere in the universe.  The truth is, finding good candidates takes time and effort, but before we start looking for candidates, let’s establish what “Good” means.

What is a “Good” Candidate?

When seeking candidates for any role, it is important to identify the following:

“Must Have” Skills  

  • The true minimum requirements to perform the position. 
  • These skills allow you and your recruiting partner to eliminate the bottom of the pool.

“Nice to Have” Skills

  • Optional skills that should still be discussed.
  • These skills give you and your partner the ability to truly evaluate individual candidates on a case-by-case basis.

Identifying the difference between “Must Have” and “Nice to Have” Skills is more nuanced and requires flexibility to be successful.  If you are too stubborn in your vision of the perfect candidate, you will miss out on candidates who may be a great cultural fit and can learn quickly to gain the experience they may be missing on their resume.

Quantity vs. Quality

Most large organizations rely on posting their positions to Job Boards which can provide a good volume of candidates if you have the budget to pay for it.  While applicants seem like the best solution because they have shown interest in your position, they can also be hard to capture, especially in a hot job market because:

  • They are most likely applying to a lot of positions and interviewing with a lot of companies.  
  • They may be hard to get a hold of.
  • If they find another job before you interview them, they may just ghost you.  
  • You don’t have any control over whether applicants are actually qualified.  

A more strategic approach will require time and expertise, but in the long run will produce a better-quality candidate who has what you want.

Sourcing for Talent

The search for talent isn’t easy but can often provide the best talent who will stay with your company.  Sourcing candidates who aren’t actively applying for positions provides two advantages in the recruiting process.

First, your recruiting partners can look exclusively for your “Must Have” skills, which eliminates the need to sift through unqualified candidates.  Second, if you can gain the interest of a passive candidate, you aren’t competing with any other companies like you would if you were trying to capture a candidate who is actively looking and applying with lots of companies.

Referrals are GOLD!

If you don’t already have a Referral Program Incentive for your company, DO IT NOW!  Candidates who are referred to your company by your current employees are 18 times more likely to be hired than an applicant from a job board.  A Referred Candidate is much more likely to be excited about the position and be a good match.  Passing a monetary bonus along to your current team members who find and curate Referrals for you is well worth the investment!

Holding Out for the Purple Squirrel

Once you start interviewing vetted candidates, the clock starts ticking.  You may meet one or more candidates who you put in your “maybe” pile, but as soon as you start that pile, the interest and availability of those candidates starts to fade.

Your good candidates who aren’t purple or squirrels will only be available for so long before another company grabs them, so making more definitive decisions within a few days of meeting candidates is the best way to secure quality hires.  The perfect candidate may still be out there, but if you haven’t seen them yet, hoping they are out there waiting to interview is not the best strategy.  

If you aren’t meeting anyone worth offering, have an honest conversation with your recruiting partner and remember that flexibility I mentioned earlier to adjust your expectations if what you think you want isn’t available or interested right now.

It’s Great to Find the Best, But Can You Keep Them?

Finding the perfect candidate for your position can be exciting, but it’s important to make sure your hiring process uncovers their motivation and desire to stay with your company.  Candidates that seem perfect on paper can be the wrong fit for your company if they don’t fit with your culture or values.  

If they seem too good to be true, take a step back and evaluate if they are truly interested in joining and staying with your company or are they just taking your job while they continue to look for their dream position.  Oftentimes, a less than perfect candidate can be the best overall fit who will make a more significant contribution and stay with your company for a long time.

Timing is Everything

The quality of candidates that are available for recruitment is also highly dependent on the current economy and job market. Keeping your expectations flexible will allow you to fill positions more efficiently in a reasonable amount of time. There is a cost to leaving positions vacant, so your relationship with your recruiting partner is crucial.  

Have honest conversations and be open to suggestions. If your first-choice candidate declines your offer, take the time to re-evaluate your other candidates. No one makes perfect hiring decisions every time, so take a few chances! Hiring a sales rep with the wrong resume but the right attitude could help you find your highest-producing and most loyal employee!

Good candidates are always available and allowing your recruiting partners the flexibility to find a good match without expecting a “Perfect” match will allow you to fill open positions, keeping your company vital and productive. This doesn’t mean good candidates are easy to find or that they will come and find you, so make sure your recruiting partner has the expertise and time to dedicate to your search.

Interested in Hiring Sales Reps, Manufacturing Experts, or Other Employees for Your Business?

You’ve come to the right place. At ACA Talent, we humanize recruitment, bridging the gap between people and possibilities. Do you have any questions about what we can do for you? Would you like to speak with a recruitment expert about your needs? Please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

October 7, 2022

My recruiter at ACA Talent intuitively knows what kinds of candidates I want to see, so I don’t have to see four candidates to get the one that I want.

- Field Sales Manager -

I spend zero time recruiting now that we’re working with ACA Talent. I don’t have to pound the pavement to find people.

- Route Sales Manager, Snack Food Brand

In the past, recruiting all fell on the sales manager’s shoulders. It used up so much of our time at the expense of running our business. ACA Talent has made it possible for me to focus on my job with little concern over manpower. It’s like pushing the “easy” button with them.

-Regional Sales Manager, Security Firm