Needles and Haystacks

We’re finally turning a small corner in this awful economic situation. Several of our industries are starting to see hiring picking back up. But there are still some misconceptions, from both the job seeker and the hiring side of things, as to how this hiring situation has affected our ability to uncover top talent.

We as researchers and sourcers know that our recruiting peers and/or the clients we serve desire for us to find top talent for them. And that’s what we always aim to deliver. After all, if we’re just skimming off the surface of the talent pool, we’re finding the same individuals that any of our competitors, or even our clients, could find. They either employ or contract with us to find the best people for them. It makes me think of dating: we are looking for Mr./Miss Right, not Mr./Miss Right Now.

In saying this, our jobs have actually gotten MORE difficult in the last 24 months. The reason for this is that there are now more people in the marketplace than ever, either having become victims of corporate downsizing, just graduated from college and looking for their first job, or those who are simply checking out what else is out there. Instead of being tasked with finding a needle in a haystack, we now have to find that needle located somewhere in ten haystacks.

The recession most certainly has made more individuals available for the opportunities for which we are researching. But that doesn’t make it any easier for us to find the right fit for our client. With more potential candidates and/or applicants than ever to go through, our jobs are more time consuming than ever.

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So how to we deal with this? First of all, I think we should be thankful that we still have a job. Then after we do that, I feel it’s important for us to keep our applicant tracking systems organized, tagged, categorized, etc. to make our initial search easier. Beyond that, it is important to help educate job seekers on appropriate application procedures. We need to help them understand that sending their resume for all 100 job openings at our company will not do them any good; in fact, it may actually harm their chances of being considered. Lastly, we need to make sure our recruiting peers and/or clients understand that more potential candidates in the talent pool doesn’t necessarily mean quicker search results. Make sure your clients understand that the more information they provide you about their needs, the quicker you’ll be able to return results. Educate them on the fact that because there are more people than ever who are looking for work, it may take you a little longer to find the perfect fit for them. Help them to understand that you want to provide them with the best, and not just the most.

Have you found a higher than normal volume of potential candidates in your industry due to the recession? How has this affected your timeline for providing leads to your recruiters? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Amybeth Quinn began her career in sourcing working within the agency world as an Internet Researcher. Since 2002, she has worked in both agency and corporate sourcing and recruiting roles as both individual contributor and manager, and also served previously as the editor of The Fordyce Letter, and, with ERE Media. These days she's working on some super cool market intelligence and data analytics projects. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.


1 Comment on “Needles and Haystacks

  1. While logic might tell you that high unemployment might result in more qualified candidates the truth on the street is that recruiting in some areas is harder than ever.

    Many of the qualified candidates are sitting it out because unemployment benefits plus cash in the underground economy are more attractive than the options offered for temp to hire positions.

    What staffing agencies have seen are people who generally are those who have for whatever reason lost benefits and are unemployed for often very good reasons.

    Unemployment is apparently the best job in town.

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