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 with a good candidate who will be successful long-term.   

Working in recruiting for the past ten years, I have sifted through thousands of resumes and spoken with thousands of candidates to assess their skills, talents and needs. I have often wished for a magical website that would provide the “purple squirrels’ those—“perfect” candidates—- that 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 a “good candidate” is. 

What Makes's a “GoodCandidate” for a Job? 

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

“Must Have” Skills  

  • True minimum requirements to perform the position.   
  • This eliminates the bottom of the pool

“Nice to Have” Skills 

Identifying the difference between “must have” and “nice to have” Skills is more nuanced and requires flexibility to be successful. Having a vision of the perfect candidate can cause you to miss out on candidates who may be a great cultural fit and can learn quickly to gain the experience they may be missing. 

Quantity vs. Quality 

Most large organizations rely upon posting positions to job boards, which can provide a good volume of candidates if the budget allows for it. While applicants may seem like the best solution because they have shown interest in the position, they may be hard to capture in a hot job market because: 

  • They are likely applying to numerous positions and interviewing with many companies.  
  • They may be hard to reach. 
  • If they find another job before your opportunity to interview them, they may ghost you.   
  • You don’t have any control over whether applicants are qualified.   

A more strategic approach will require time and expertise, but in the long run will produce abetter-quality candidate who has what you’re looking for. 

Recruiting Candidates

The search for talent isn’t easy but can often provide the best talent to 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, discover how to engage passive candidates, to gain their interest so that you aren’t competing with any other companies.

Are Employee ReferralsEffective? They’re GOLD! 

When considering where to find good employees, referrals can be a great resource. If you don’t already have a referral incentive for your company, DO IT NOW! Candidates who are referred 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. A monetary bonus for current team members who find and curate referrals is well worth the investment! 

Holding Out for the Purple Squirrel 

Once you start interviewing vetted candidates, the clock starts ticking. You may put one or more candidate’s in your “maybe” pile, and the clock starts ticking as soon as you begin tackling the list. Your good candidates who aren’t purple or squirrels will only be available for so long before another company grabs them, so it’s best to secure quality hires by making definitive decisions within a few days of meeting candidates The perfect candidate may still be out there, but waiting and hoping they are out there is not the best strategy.   

If you haven’t met a candidate that’s a good fit, have an honest conversation with your recruiting partner and adjust your expectations if necessary. 

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

Finding the perfect candidate 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 staying with your company long-term or if they’re just taking the job while looking for their dream position. Oftentimes, a less than perfect candidate can be the best overall fit and make a more significant contribution over time. 

Timing is Everything 

The quality of candidates is highly dependent on the current economy and job market. Having flexible expectations allows 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 time to re-evaluate your other candidates. No one makes perfect hiring decisions every time, so take a few chances and you might end up with your highest-producing and most loyal employee! 

Good candidates [RB1] are always available.allowing your recruiting partners the flexibility to find a good match without expecting a  perfect match will help you fill open positions and keep your company 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.

Need Help with Recruiting?

ACA Talent is a leader insourcing great candidates across a wide range of industries and roles,  from C-suite to entry level positions. Connect with a recruiting specialist to fill your next position.

June 27, 2023

Scott Hindley

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