To Recruit the Best, You Must Know What You Need

By Tess Curle Taylor, PHR, CPC

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Recruit candidates you want In every recruiter’s experience, there's a fine line between advertising for the candidates that you need and hiring the candidates you really want. Oftentimes, as recruitment pros, we focus too broadly on skillsets instead of on the unique qualities that desired candidates bring to the table. Or we hire based on a gut feeling alone. It can be all too easy to hire based on crucial needs and forget about taking the time to select candidates who are the perfect fit for the company culture and objectives.

Getting Closer to a Great Hire 

To hire well, one must be able to go beyond the immediate needs to look to the future needs of the organization. This requires understanding fully what you need in candidates who will stick around for the long term…long enough to gain a positive return on the time invested in this process.

Do you really know what you need, or are you falling into the trap of simply filling assignments with warm bodies?

Here’s how to determine this:

  • Are your time to placement rates more important to you than candidate retention rates?
  • Do you often find yourself placing the same types of candidates into jobs over and over again?
  • Read your job advertisements – are they speaking to the core of organizational growth and succession?

Getting to the root of what you need in candidates takes time and practice, but it can result in more successful hires. This, in turn, increases your ability to spot a great candidate. To accomplish this, there is a process.

#1 – Develop clarity about the assignment requirements.

A vast number of assignments and job types have changed over the years, leaving certain requirements behind and adding new ones. Take the time to consider what the organization needs each assignment to include as part of the whole team structure. Connect with floor managers to make a complete list of the desired skills, tasks, personality, and backgrounds that are based on previous historical successes for that assignment.  

#2 – Create an ideal candidate profile.

Once you have established a clear and accurate job requirement list, you can begin to create a candidate profile of what the ideal employee “looks” like. What skills, experiences, and personality does the candidate have? What type of professional will fit the team and culture? What social networks do they participate in? This may seem somewhat uncomfortable at first, but going through this exercise helps you to know you are on the right track with potential candidates.

#3 – Write a clear and targeted job description.

It’s common to work with a job description that’s overly vague or watered down. Some recruiters resort to this for fear of turning away potential candidates who may possess some of the desired traits. Don’t fall into this habit. Instead, use your job descriptions to build focused job advertisements to attract the right candidates. This brings you closer to the candidates you want.

#4 – Go after candidates on their turf to hit pay dirt.

Now that you have a complete picture of the type of candidate you want to attract, your job is to use your resources and networks to reel them in. Head for the places they frequent and use smart social networking skills to create buzz about your job advertisement(s). Create dialogue with promising candidates and speak their language during interviews. Make them see that you have something to offer them because you know them well.

By using the above strategy, you will go from a half-warm recruiter to a recruiter on fire. Go after what you want believing that you can find it, and the right candidates will respond in kind.

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