How to Avoid Passing Up on Great Talent


You have acquired a stack of resumés, and there is an excellent candidate or two hidden in that pile of hopes and dreams. What can you do at this point in the hiring process to ensure that you don’t pass up on great talent?

Experience has taught us a thing or two – we’ve seen great clients signed and great clients missed. Here are six points of advice that we believe can help your company find and sign the best talent.

1. Don’t Make Assumptions from a Resumé


Assuming too much or too little will get you into trouble with resumés. It’s impossible to fit an entire person on an 8.5”x11” piece of paper; even the most honest candidate cannot give an all-sufficient portrayal in such a brief space. Assuming, then, is risky business.

Assume too much, and you’ll fail to ask important questions of a candidate. Perhaps it’s tempting to be blinded by a great school or an impressive work history, but you cannot determine character from either of these. A resumé does not include space for things like reasons for leaving past jobs or relationships with supervisors and coworkers. The “why” is often of far more importance than the “what”.

Or perhaps you assume too little, passing over candidates with any gaps in work history or education at state schools. Again, neither of these things is enough to tell you if a candidate is a good fit for your position. You have to be willing to dig deeper.

2. Ask the Right Questions

We’ve given advice on interviews before, and we’ll stress the importance of the interview again here. Following a thoughtful consideration of resumés received, wise employers will give the same careful focus to the interview.

Interview questions should be planned. This is different than being scripted, as a worthwhile interview has to have some flux in order to follow the unique path set by individual candidates. But “just winging it” is a good way to miss out on key questions. Use the resumé as a jumping-off point, delving into education and work history as more than the simple “what” of when and where, but also the “why”.

“Why did you decide to take a year off after your internship before you started at Company A?” can give you important information about a candidate that you might have missed had you simply jumped from one bullet point to the next.

3.  Give Feedback to Engaged Candidates

Searching for a new job can be stressful, and it’s safe to say that most of the candidates you’ve kept thus far have pursued other opportunities along the way. They have no guarantee from you yet, no way of knowing when to quit considering other jobs. While you may not yet be able to make a final offer to a candidate, you should still communicate what you can to those applicants who have remained in your hiring process.

Let candidates know if their resumé is still being considered, if they are still in the running after the last interview, or if they should pursue other opportunities. Waiting for candidates to take initiative here, checking in with you after each step in the process, only works if those candidates don’t have competing offers on the table. Don’t assume that a candidate will wait for you if have given them no feedback.

4. Don’t Take Your Time When You Find the Right One

Don’t drag your feet! When you’ve found a great candidate, contact them right away. If you think a candidate is worth the hire, you can guarantee that other companies think he or she is worth it, too. To put it bluntly, you snooze, you lose.

5. Don’t Overcomplicate the Recruiting Process

No one wants to hire the wrong person. And while we would agree that efforts to avoid this should include a great deal of thought, preparation, and evaluation, the hiring process itself should still be free from over-complication.  If your process is too long, too tedious, or too complex, it can drive away great talent.  Waiting for months is unrealistic for many job seekers, so companies need to prioritize and streamline hiring if they want potential hires to stick with them.

Interviews are an area where companies can tend to get bogged down. Again, we place high value on a quality interview process. However, some companies have taken this to mean that they need to schedule many interviews over many days with a variety of interviewers. Without any guarantee of future employment, it’s difficult for many candidates to follow through on such a complex process.

We aren’t advocating mindless hiring or desperate hiring, just efficient hiring. Analyze your process to see if you are missing out on great talent for preventable reasons.

6. Trust Your Recruiting Partner’s Expertise

If you’ve brought in professionals, let them do their job. We’ve watched businesses struggle with this, dragging their feet and, consequently, losing out on quality candidates.

A skilled, experienced recruiter knows how to locate great talent. So if you are ready to hire and you’ve made the effort to hire a recruiting consultant, don’t miss out on solid candidates by holding your recruiter back.  Trust their expertise, and enjoy the benefits of quality, timely hiring.

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