Candidate sourcing teams could take a lesson from Steve Jobs. The Apple founder understood better than most that “less is more”. While other companies piled on an overwrought array of features, Jobs opted for elegant simplicity — but one button on the iPad and iPhone — the Home button — but one click wheel on the Apple iPod. He took away things like floppy drives and hard disks, so that we could focus on what mattered most.
The Internet is serving up a near infinite number of job applicants and potential candidates. And compared to the opacity that clouded the recruiting process up until now, that seismic shift represents a tremendous opportunity for candidate sourcing teams, if it doesn’t kill them first.
Imagine standing in New York City’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve, moments before the ball drop at midnight, in a crush of a half-million to a million people. You know your ideal candidate is right there, with you, in that sea of people — only you can’t see him or her for the crowd. You start scanning an endless stream of people walking by. No, not that one. Not that one. Not him. Not her. You attempt to move to get a better vantage point to find “the one”, but soon all access is choked off. Soon, you are unable to focus on anyone but those that immediately surround you, those that, thanks to the growing crowd, are now invading your personal space, inches from you. You cannot move and, for the most part, you cannot see. That perfect hire is standing right in front of you, in plain sight, only your view is completely obliterated.
Employers are suffering from “too much information”. There are simply too many active and passive candidates that get in the way of the people that deserve to be hired. Most recruiting processes are applicant-centric, designed simply to process what comes over the transom. Because the Internet has made it possible for practically anyone to apply with a simple click of a mouse, they all do. Applicants that bear no resemblance to the job description apply en masse. Clients have told us that only about 1-2% of applicants meet the basic qualifications, meaning 98% of the time they spend sifting through useless applicant-after-applicant is wasted. Keyword filters help with some of the processing, but they are by no means perfect and often eliminate the very candidates you are seeking.
If that were not all, there is also an endless list of passive candidates. And, yes, it is thrilling to have all that talent within reach, as you surf the ‘net, but soon comes the crushing realization that there simply isn’t enough of you to manage it all. And the utter irony is that even with the millions that are now available online, only 60-75% of candidates are discoverable on the Internet, meaning that you’re missing one out of every three or four. That’s a pretty significant hole– dare I say “gaping maw” — in your sourcing strategy. Intellerati’s investigative approach to candidate sourcing regularly uncovers top talent who make it a practice to leave very few bread crumbs on the Internet — from powerful VIPs and luminaries to emergent stars. In other words, while you may be drowning in candidates, you still have not yet identified the best talent.
The Zen of Candidate Sourcing
Intellerati believes that executive search and talent acquisition teams deserve more than an endless list of potential candidates. You deserve to know who is good. To start, if your organization is committed to quality hires, you need to lay down some serious due diligence in the way of candidate identification to stop missing top talent keeping low profiles. However, basic candidate identification only gives you the “more”. It doesn’t tell you which passive candidates are good and which are sociopaths. Traditional name generation and profiling hasn’t been designed to take you from more to less, when it should. Recruiting research needs to move from the quantitative to the qualitative, one that identifies and calibrates the “best of the best” as it preemptively weeds out questionable prospects. In other words, one must design a simple, elegant process that focuses on the talent that matters. While the talent pool is near infinite, there is a finite number of executives and technologists who outperform. Steve Jobs had it right. Less is more.