Top Talent Acquisition: Stop Fishing in the Wrong Lake

You have to admit, this would suck.  Thinking you’re about to catch a fish only to find out you’re the prey.  Believe it or not, this happens a lot in talent acquisition.  Your goal is to find the right people to augment your group, only to find that you have just brought on board the one person in the zip code that makes everyone want to slit their own throat.  What happened?

A lot of times, I find managers will look for talent in the same ole places.  They’ll have a position and the first place they want to post it is Monster or CareerBuilder.  Don’t get me wrong, these types of sites should be part of your talent strategy, but they should not be the only lake you fish in.  Although there are a lot of great people who have their resumes out there on one of the job sites, most are out there for a reason.  My suggestion, use these two sites to help source candidates you will actually want.  How?  Ok, let’s use an example.

Let’s say you are looking for an Sales Manager for a new team you are putting together.  It’s natural to have the position posted on all of the latest career sites, but here’s a change in your strategy.  When you start getting resumes, start doing some flip research.  By that, I mean take John Doe’s resume, look at his last company and position held.  Is this the person doing some of the activities you are desiring?  Have they worked for a competitor or a similar company to yours that sells a different product?  If so, cross reference this person with others who might still be at the company they just left.  Use other means like LinkedIn to look up their network to see if they have people in their network who are currently employed and might be a better fit for your job.

In my experience, the first mistake any manager will make is to simply settle.  The second mistake they make is they don’t act quickly enough thinking someone else who’s better is out there.  Yes, I just painted you a green stop sign, but let me explain.

Never settle and I mean never.  It’s better for you not to fill the position than to simply put someone in there because they have a pulse and “some” of the qualities you desire.  You cannot build a fantastic organization or brand with mediocre people who suck.  There’s absolutely no way to do it.  Avoid making your talent acquisition strategy the “Cheeks in the Seat” mentality.  Instead, be willing to wait for the right person.  Always follow your gut.

On the flipside, there does come a point where you have great candidates, but you just want to be greedy and see if there’s more out there.  Stop it.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had to serve the cup of “I told you so” to a manager who wanted to continue looking for a little bit when they had the ideal candidate ready to go.  It’s a balancing act.  Sometimes, if wait too long, candidates will consider that to be an act of disinterest and move on.  Furthermore, it may show a lack of clarity in the organization and scare them off.  If you have someone who more than fits the bill, pull the trigger or the trigger will be pulled on you.

Finally, the last thing to avoid is not interviewing correctly.  We’ll discuss how to avoid this in the next post.

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help organizations incorporate best practices into their business to help them succeed. In his free time, he also writes a lot on his other blog, Christian Men, Christian Warrior.

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