Companies struggle to find and make contact with top talent

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Recruiting and Sourcing, Talent Acquisition
Tags: , , ,
recruiting top talent

New “sourcing and recruiting strategies” are hot agenda topics in boardrooms all around the world

by David Musgrove

“A recent survey reveals that 78% of 1,200 CEO’s from 60 various countries are listing strategic recruiting as one of their top three current concerns. Stating strategic talent shortages as the reason for being unable to pursue new business objectives, or have had to delay and/or cancel business initiatives due to strategic talent challenges.” attributed to ERE Webinar: A Reality Check: Benchmark your Strategic Recruiting Process with Industry Leaders.

And from a Price-Waterhouse Coopers survey: “…only 30% of CEOs said they were confident that they would have the talent they needed to grow their organisation in the near future, and 31% said that talent constraints had already hampered innovation at their organisation. In such an environment, knowledge and insight – in the form of human capital data – is power.”


Why now? Why such a tight labor market in what is still considered a weak economy? On Monday, Janet Yellen, the new Fed chief shed some light on her outlook to reporters:

“In some ways, the job market is tougher now than in any recession. The numbers of people who have been trying to find work for more than six months or more than a year are much higher today than they ever were since records began decades ago,” Yellen stated.

Here’s the problem. Again, from Price-Waterhouse Coopers:

“A rocky road for rookies – One of the major consequences of the (financial) crisis is that organisations in the West have chosen experience over youth, cutting back on the recruitment of younger workers and banking on the experience of older workers to see them through. While this strategy has worked in the short term, it’s storing up talent chain supply problems for the future.”

And “…Survivors disengaged – The most significant – and worrying – legacy of the turmoil of the past few years has been the impact on employee engagement. Employees in the West who survived the cost-cutting cull have been left disillusioned and disengaged. The younger generation has been hit
particularly hard as they see their opportunities dwindle and their career path blocked by older workers who can’t afford
to retire”.

More companies are vying for the same experienced veterans, particularly in engineering, fueling a growing feeding frenzy to engage with top talent they hope to attract. The panacea offered by high-profile job boards, social media recruiting and sourcing strategies is beginning to look more like Pandora’s box. What started off as a novel ease-of-access device, has resulted in the prized talent simply ignoring, or turning off their social media accounts and fire-walling themselves to ward off an army of sourcing agents pounding on their vulnerable email channels. Job seekers, not the elusive gainfully-employed-candidates-off-the-market (GECOMs) are the real beneficiaries of social media recruitment. Some of them come with decent experience (by my count roughly 1 in 10). So what is the answer? Is there an answer in fact?

Dr. John Sullivan lays in out in his post: The Best Recruiting Strategy is the: “We Find You” Approach. I’ve included a direct link to that post below. In his list of the 18 most effective sourcing tools, these are my absolute favorite recommendations you can take to the bank. They’re all good, but these should produce the fastest and best ROI and can be used with everything else you’re already doing successfully:

  1. “Magnet” strategy. Hire the well-known in order to attract other top people, even in other job families. (Hire Tiger Woods and the rest will come…)
  2. Referrals. Proactively ask top employees, former employees, and friends of the firm to find and refer others like themselves.
  3. Most wanted lists. Senior managers identify the best in the industry at the beginning of the year. Recruiters and managers then sell them on switching firms throughout the year.

Last but not least, I would add these to his list:

  1. Hire good recruiters and don’t overload them with job requisitions – with more time to focus on fewer jobs to fill, they will produce, better, faster results and with less recruiter burn-out.
  2. Recruiters are your front line ambassadors – recruit the best, pay them well and treat them with the kind of respect you give the other top performers in your firm – apply the old rule-of-thumb: “you get what you pay for”.
  3. Pay bonuses and staff referral fees for closing critical job requisitions in record time.
  4. Make sure recruiters not only understand the nomenclature and technology of their job requisitions, but also how those hires fit into the company’s production, or service delivery line.
  5. Don’t load recruiters up with unnecessary meetings and reports – hire an admin for as much of that as possible.
  6. Nurture professional relationships with the better outside recruiting agencies who have earned the respect and privilege of ready access to the talent you want to reach.
  7. Stay current on the going rate for the talent you want to recruit and be realistic on the skill level you can afford.
  8. Streamline your interview process, letting your recruiters bear the burden of first interviews and selling your company to prospective candidates (assuming you follow 1-5 above).

The experienced-talent gap is tightening every year. With skyrocketing new technology innovation and stiffer competition for the best people, demand will only grow as the economy continues to improve.

The Best Recruiting Strategy is the: “We Find You” Approach – by Dr. John Sullivan, at


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