Finding Potential Talent in Hidden Gems

Premierehire Executive search and leadership strategies

In previous posts, I wrote about two of the most important considerations in hiring high-value team members.  First, I described the way that the most highly qualified candidates respond to economic changes, and then I wrote about the role of company cultures in recruiting and retention. Now for some some insights on finding top talent that others will miss.

A-Players Are In Short Supply

In your initial efforts to fill vacant positions, you look for the A-player candidates.  These are the job seekers who have flawless résumés.  Their records clearly document talent, experience and unblemished track records.

Top-tier candidates know that they have power in the hiring process; they are likely to be most confident in interviews and very particular with which offers they choose to accept, right when your need is the most urgent.  The result is that they get their pick of the available opportunities, and you have to look harder at the field of applicants to fill your staffing requirements. 

When you seek the best long-term employee fit for your team (as you arguably should), it’s likely that you won’t find enough of the right candidates, just by judging their applications or public profiles at face value.

Second Tier Hidden Treasure

Employment comes with few guarantees; unforeseen events such as a company that goes bad or changing local economic conditions sometimes catch even the A-players.  When leaders make mistakes, it’s often the loyal employees who pay the highest price.

The next tier of candidates is likely to have slightly murkier histories on their résumés.  These candidates may or may not have potential, but that doesn’t mean that hiring them must be a random or risky process.  So, how do you find that potential within a crowded field of poorly written résumés and profiles, work gaps and ambiguous transitions?

No Substitute For Experience

It takes a high level of recruiting experience to tell the difference between a hidden gem and a candidate whose background accurately reflects less potential.  Large enterprises have the resources to handle recruiting in-house but smaller companies are stretched too thinly to have the HR resources and personnel to manage a hiring campaign.

Finding second tier potential is not an activity that can be automated.  Web-based online hiring services select applicants by filtering submissions, based on pre-set criteria.  Such systems reject any application with responses that don’t fit the format.  The usual outcome is that only A-player candidates or good résumé writers get through or nothing gets passed through the system at all.

Finding gems involves a varied approach including research, referrals, in-depth interviews, references, and assessments.  An algorithm may help with sourcing potential candidates but it will not identify and validate the gems.

Alternatively, hiring becomes the responsibility of a junior manager, who’s under intense pressured to avoid making hiring decisions that could bring scrutiny and negative consequences if they make any mistakes.  So, like automation, any candidate that’s not an A-player or has any gaps on their résumé gets discarded without further investigation.

The Proven Worth Of Executive Search

Fortunately, small businesses have the option to hire executive search and recruiting services, to help sort the hidden gems from the rest, and to do it in a way that’s cost-effective.  Hiring high-value employees, who will be expected to contribute significant value and act responsibly in their decisions and in how they represent the company, is not the same as hiring for entry level or unskilled service positions; you need the guidance to make the right choices. 

Working with a search and hiring professional gives you the benefit of the wisdom and insight that comes from experience.  A partnership with a professional recruiting service provides you with the utility of a full hiring department without the liabilities on the balance sheet.  With the right recruiting support you’re much more likely to find candidates who become genuine assets for the long-term with the bonus of not being at the top price and less likely to turn over.

The Author

Leanne Terrace helps leaders and teams reach higher levels of performance and fulfillment in their work.

Leanne serves as an executive & team coach, facilitator, leadership trainer, and talent advisor. Her coaching, tools, and proven processes transform organizational health, attract great people, and build great places to work because ‘people are the point’.

She and her team also help organizations find and retain top leaders with their 4 Phase Executive Search and New Leader Integration Solutions.

Leanne has over 25 years of executive leadership experience and is a certified executive and team coach (EMCC). She is a certified coach for Birkman Leadership Assessments and 360s and has extensive training with the Adizes Institute for Organizational Transformation, Robbins Madanes Intervention coaching, the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC), and the Global Team Coaching Institute (GTCI). She also has a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Business from UBC.

Leanne serves clients throughout the US and Canada, ranging in size and industry.

If you are looking to elevate your team, your leadership, or your career, please send an email or book a complimentary consult.