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Impossible Search? Or Are You Skipping a Strategic Step?

MI

We’ve all recruited for tough-to-fill openings, hard-to-please hiring managers, less-than-competitive salaries, and even not-so-favorable company press. But what if you’re recruiting and you simply can’t find qualified talent? The list of must-haves is long, you’ve searched your ATS and external resume databases, posted your jobs on the most compelling sites, and utilized all of the latest social networking tools, but the quality of the candidate pipeline is still lacking.

Did you know that 32 – 83%* of the US professional working population is UN-identifiable online?

Without a doubt, LinkedIn is our best-yet online directory for talent. There are currently over 100 million LinkedIn profiles worldwide, 44.7 million in the U.S. “White-collar” workers (management, professional, sales, and office administrative) nationwide constitute 37.7 million or 44% of the 88 million white-collar workers in the U.S. Surprisingly, fewer than half of these are degreed. Many pockets of talent consider it prudent and downright mandatory to be findable online. But what if the person you’re searching for is choosing to keep a low profile? Can you risk not considering what might be the best possible talent for your challenging need? What steps can you take to identify these qualified individuals? Sure, you can source for this talent when speaking with a contact and he or she may recommend someone qualified for the role. But do you want to take a chance on receiving suitable recommendations or do you want the ability to identify all of the passive, top talent from your hiring manager’s most sought-after target companies?

Many position openings, said to be “challenging” or “difficult,” are neither. It’s just that the qualified talent has not been identified, called, and compelled to consider the opportunity. Many recruiters and talent acquisition and staffing specialists settle for nearly-qualified hires because they have forgotten the free resource that can produce the on-target talent they seek: the telephone. There is absolutely no substitute for calling into a company, identifying the individual who heads your hiring manager’s competing organization, and identifying that person’s entire team. We all can identify and reel in the heads-down, doing-their-jobs, gainfully employed, truly passive qualified talent from the very companies from which our hiring managers most want to hire…but not necessarily online.

It doesn’t have to be difficult

Most recruiters today are “digital natives” but those of us who are “digital immigrants” grew up identifying the talent we needed by phone. Unfortunately, some were “raised to ruse,” given a phonebook, and told to find the talent any way they could, and many still resort to misrepresentation in developing telephone research. The fact is, most just don’t know that there are efficient and ethical ways to map the passive, qualified candidates we all seek.

Investigative, evidence gathering, questioning skills, the what-you-say and what-you-don’t say over the phone, can raise the quality of talent you identify and hire, and build your reputation as the Deliverer of Results. These strategic pipelining skills have propelled many corporate recruiting, sourcing, and search professionals to excel in the most challenging of recruiting projects, and this identification technique is effective in all industries, all functions, at all levels, worldwide. Original telephone research delivers the added ROI your company seeks.

What’s holding you back? Is it that you think phone research takes too long? Consider this: are you ever on the phone with a colleague/spouse/friend while searching online? Then you can just as easily be on the phone to a leading competitor while you peruse your inbox, resume database, search string results, etc. You will undoubtedly be placed on hold, transferred, and may even need to call back in, but these fundamental phone calls will elevate your performance and your results.

Telephone research is real-time, primary research while what we find online is secondary research. Utilize LinkedIn to identify a name that will get you into the target department and company, and then control the call to map the entire team and their respective levels. Titles are not synonymous from company to company, and also asking how many people a person manages can greatly shorten the search process and time-to-fill. The information we gather from calling into a company simply cannot be found online. The key to succeeding in recruiting is learning how to increase candidate quality, create talent-rich pipelines, and maximize your competitive intelligence, while spending a minimum amount of time managing the information overload. Just as your hiring managers are experts in their fields, your responsibility is to meet (and exceed!) their most pressing hiring goals via your skills, talents, and consultative solutions. Supplementing Internet findings with original telephone research elevates candidate quality and empowers the proactive pipelining we all seek.

Just Ask

It’s amazing what’s available for the asking! Polite, professional, and persistent identification is the tack we take to successfully obtain the information we need by phone. The lost art of telephone research has been called “audacious,” and rightly so. Other deserving describers might be courageous, creative, enterprising, tenacious, and undaunted. Wouldn’t you like to see these adjectives on your next performance evaluation?

We at ExecuQuest Corp. have been developing on-target telephone research, talent mapping, and passive candidate development for over 25 years. We develop our original telephone research while simultaneously searching online for the data we need to efficiently identify by phone. We also reverse-research* our telephone findings for three reasons: 1) to gauge our clients’ YFRI (Yield for Research Investment),  2) to measure our telephone results vs. our Internet findings and  3)  to become better-skilled at online research.  Our clients rely heavily upon the accuracy and insight of our primary research, which provides top talent otherwise unknown to them, and is the foundation of our success.

How are you measuring the ROI of all your online recruiting tools? Remember that the telephone is free!  What goals have you set to improve the work you do? Would including ethical, efficient telephone talent mapping contribute to meeting your goals and building your reputation as the Deliverer of Results? Learn these critical-sourcing survival skills, techniques you can immediately apply to your requisitions. Adding original telephone research simply delivers a far greater return than the Internet alone for hiring the most qualified, UN-identifiable,** passive talent.

*The following are compelling telephone results vs. Internet findings:

  • Director, Risk Management for a leading, international CPG company: 58 on-target individuals were identified via ethical telephone research; reverse-research found that 76% could not be found online. Of the 5 candidates presented, 4, or 80%, could not have been found online, and the successful hire was identified by telephone.
  • Specialty Pharmacists for a top 10 worldwide health insurer: 92 on-target individuals were identified via ethical telephone research and reverse-researching all the names found that 83% were not identifiable on the web.
  • Banking District Executive, Houston for a top 5 global bank: 74 qualified individuals were identified via ethical telephone research, 77% were not identifiable via the web. Of the 4 candidates presented, 3 or 75% could not have been found online. Of the 70 individuals identified but not presented, 49 or 70% could not have been identified online.
  • Principal and Senior Patent Attorneys for a Fortune 100 pharma company: of 152 individuals appropriate to a Principal and Senior Patent Attorney engagement identified by phone, 53% were not identifiable via the web.

** UN-identifiable? Challenge that!

About the author: Conni LaDouceur is Founder and Chief Sourcing Strategist of ExecuQuest Corp. in Baltimore. Previously with Heidrick & Struggles, Inc., Conni and her team challenge identifying and developing the most qualified talent via their direct, ethical and efficient telephone sourcing. A graduate of the University of Maine, Conni speaks on Empowering Your Recruiters, The Art of the Call, Quality-First Sourcing, strategic search/research solutions, time vs. yield measurements, ethical identification of passive talent, the reeling-in of reluctant, qualified talent, adding value to the business via a consultative approach, improving recruiter/Sourcer performance and developing internal sourcing groups at annual corporate recruiting summits and other professional gatherings. She has delivered workshops globally to executive search firms, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Starbucks, TJX, HSBC, GlaxoSmithKline, David Lord’s Executive Search Academy, IACPR, Executive Search Roundtable, Kennedy Information’s Recruiting Conference, the International Executive Search Federation, SourceCon, Corporate Sourcing Leadership Exchange, SHRM, NAPS, ASA and other organizations. Conni is also cofounder of the Thought Leadership Institute and the Corporate Sourcing Leadership Exchange.


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