Recruitment Research: A Proven Model for Unearthing Hidden Talent

Recruitment Research: A Proven Model for Unearthing Hidden Talent

Those of us in the recruitment business hear it all too often – there is not enough talent to go around. With national unemployment at a 51-year low, finding qualified candidates is one of company executives’ biggest issues of the day. 

In fact, a recent survey revealed that one-third of the 700 HR managers interviewed said recruitment would be a significant hurdle in 2020. Among this group, 51 percent said they are “extremely challenged” in finding quality candidates – more than double (22 percent) who said the same thing just two years ago.

In a tight labor market, companies also may be paying more than they could – or should – for recruitment. 

Of course, social media and mining employee referrals can help defray the cost of finding candidates. But there is another strategy that is effective, efficient and economical. It’s called recruitment research.

Recruitment research defined

Simply, recruitment research is precisely and successfully targeting the people that are the best match for a company’s open positions. Equal parts detective and skilled salesperson, recruitment research is a flexible, multistep methodology that begins with learning our clients’ business and ends with a list of interested, qualified candidates. 

Strategy is at the core of the process and it is followed by digging in to uncover hidden talent. That means reaching beyond job boards to find the right people and then piquing potential candidates’ interest in what could be a career move that is beneficial for them and their new employer. The goal is to serve up the most qualified candidates for interviews, but also give clients comprehensive market data, including other candidate names, background details and contact information, that could be useful for future searches.

The building blocks

There are key steps in the recruitment research process. The foundation is an in-depth situation assessment to understand the culture and personality of the hiring company, along with the job’s requirements, responsibilities and specific skill set needed.  

Using a comprehensive intake form, the recruitment team collects data about its clients’ recruiting targets, geographic preferences, salary and compensation levels, communication expectations and industry-specific vernacular. 

That leads to development of sourcing strategy to find candidates who would be the best fit for the job. For example, a client may need a product manager, but there may be 15 types of product managers;  may or may not want to target competitors; or may be in a new industry and not know who the players are, or even what they want in a new position. 

Next comes name generation. Armed with information from the client briefing, the recruiter can identify candidates whose backgrounds, education and experiences dovetail with their needs. This is accomplished using a variety of methods — from cold-calling and Internet tools to probing professional organizations, trade shows and chambers of commerce — to find people who are looking for new careers – and some who may not be looking at all. 

List in hand, it is now time to contact and pre-qualify candidates as part of the recruitment candidate vetting. Because getting people to return calls may be difficult, it is important to create sizzle around why potential hires should consider the opportunity. In addition to courting the candidate, this is the time to ask some all-important questions, including if they are interested in relocating to a particular area, if they have the right educational and experience requirements and if they have a genuine interest in the job the client is trying to fill.

At Duffy Group, we may search as many as 100 candidates for one position and then present the top three to five most qualified and fully screened candidates for interviews. These candidates are typically seen within 15 days of the start of the search. 

That’s important, given that recruitment research takes a different approach to finding top talent, using a model based on billable hours, much like a CPA or an attorney. Clients choose from a menu of services that can result in a cost savings of up to 50 percent per project compared with traditional recruitment practices. 

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Kathleen Duffy

Kathleen Duffy

Kathleen Duffy is president and CEO of Duffy Group, Inc. that sources and recruits candidates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Europe and Asia.

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