Hiring New Talent is like A Summer Picnic

by Lou Berger, Senior Recruiter, Talent Recruiters, Inc.

Recently, I introduced myself to a Director of Software Development for a local Denver company.  He was polite but distant until I asked him, “Tell me about your experience with recruiters?”

His face deepened into a scowl.  “We haven’t had much luck with external recruiters. They frequently bring us only mediocre candidates and we feel we can do much better in-house.”

I’ve heard this stated before.  Many times.

“Tell me how you hire new folks,” I asked.

He then described to me the company’s long-proven approach, from resume search and evaluation in the Human Resources Department, to a select few resumes being presented to the hiring manager, to a week or so delay while the manager gathers a small pile to review, and finally to the actual review process after which a phone call is made to the top three candidates.  I nodded. 

I’ve heard this story before, as well. 

“Let me invite you to a picnic,” I said in a friendly manner.  “I’m going to invite all my clients to a picnic this summer, and I’ll cook.  I will prepare a platter of hamburgers, hand-crafted from the best quality ground beef, shaped to perfection and ready for grilling.”

He nodded, smiling.  He could envision the warm summer air, the sunlit sky, the hot grill ready to deliver juicy burgers. 

I continued. “I’ll have all my best clients there, the CIOs, the CTOs, the Directors, Managers. . .all of them.  And I’d love for you to join me. Bring your family, bring your kids!” 

His smile couldn’t be more radiant.  It’s good to be invited to a picnic!

“I’m going to grill each burger to order, beginning with the client that has the fastest, most efficient onboarding process for new employees, then the next, and so on.”

His face fell. “But I’ll be toward the back of the line!” he complained.

I nodded.  “Don’t worry. I’ll have plenty of fresh burgers to choose from.  I’ll just cook your particular one after I’ve cooked the faster clients’ burgers.”

He frowned.  “Wait.  The others will get first pick?”

I nodded. “But there will be plenty available when it’s your turn!”

“But won’t the meat spoil in the heat?  Open on the platter like that?  Won’t flies cover the burgers?”

I frowned. “Sure.  I always start with the best quality ingredients.  The other clients will get theirs faster, because they focus on grabbing the best before others can.  By the time we get to the end of the line, I will still have plenty of burgers left, just not the best ones.  I’ll have whatever’s left over.”

He thought about it for a moment.  “How do I move to the front of the line?”

Excellent question.


Most recruiters strive to provide the best available candidate at the moment their hiring managers ask for recommendations, but the hiring process varies widely by company.  Top-tier, A-quality employees are rarely on the open market for long, which makes their shelf-life one of very short duration, perfect for nimble companies who value the quality of their new hires.

A motivated employee with deep experience and willingness to interview immediately for a job is usually not interested in the intangibles that only come to light when a job offer is finally presented.  Rather, she is actively seeking to find the right fit for herself, first and foremost, while agonizing over her ability to pay the bills.  Most out-of-work employees accept the very first offer given to them, and in that way hiring becomes a sort of race.

Contingency-based recruiters, like me, are constantly on the prowl for the right type of candidate and the top-tier candidates are an incredibly small percentage of the resumes we receive.  When we find somebody who we KNOW is going to be a great fit for an open job order, we must make a quick decision where to present that candidate.  We may have two clients, seeking to hire, with almost identical job descriptions.  One hires within ten business days, the other within forty.  We don’t earn a dime until a placement is made, and we have to choose which client gets to see our gem candidate.  Will it be the client that hires within days of resume presentation, or weeks?

A savvy recruiter will rank his clients based on employee retention, ease of communication and speed of hire.  It makes economic sense to present the very best candidates to the best clients, those who treasure their employees and who strive for rapid and efficient hiring.  It makes further sense to present the lesser candidates to companies that take longer to assess incoming candidates, since the lesser candidates have a higher likelihood of being available when the offer is finally presented.

If your organization has a history of attracting mediocre candidates from recruiters, perhaps you might re-examine your company’s approach to hiring? Is it slow and methodical? Is there room for streamlining?

A client of mine used to take six weeks to hire new employees. I presented this above scenario and they re-examined their methods, dropping the hiring process to two weeks.  Due to the quality of candidates we were then motivated to present, Talent Recruiters, Inc. became a most-preferred vendor and we recently had two of our contractors hired on as permanent employees.  Because of streamlining and shortening the hiring process.  We didn’t change. The client did.

By streamlining your throughput and actively partnering with your recruiter, you may just find that the quality of your candidate pool rises tenfold, if not higher.

A successful company always wants the best candidates available, and a slow hiring process filters those candidates out of the running.

Please consider Talent Recruiters, Inc. to help you with your next new hire.

Lou Berger is a Senior Recruiter at Talent Recruiters, Inc., a Denver-based boutique talent acquisition firm (www.TalentRecruiters.net).  He can be reached at Lou@TalentRecruiters.net or by calling (303) 539-9350.

Lou Berger

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