The Candidate Search

Okay you’ve created your ideal candidate profile, so you know exactly the kind of person you are looking for. To many that is half the battle since it is so much easier to search for someone when you know what they should look like. When you know the qualifications you are looking for both tangible and holistically. Now it’s time to start your search.

Of course, the first step is to look into your network. Ask yourself if any of the people you have met during the course of your career could be likely candidates. Maybe you’ve come across someone over the years who impressed you to the point of wanting them on your team. It could be as easy as that. If there are some then do not be hesitant to ask them. Often we will come up with many reasons why they will not want to move, you will create your own mind scenarios about how happy they are with their current position and that you will look like a schmuck for asking them. Forget that. Almost all of the time people are flattered to be asked and more often than you think they will say something like, “well it doesn’t hurt to talk” and you get your shot at convincing them to join your company. It could be as simple as that.

While we are on the subject of using your network, if you cannot think of anyone you personally know then reach out to your extended network. In the spirit of six degrees of Kevin Bacon someone you know might know someone you know who will fit your ideal customer profile. Share your search and your ideal profile with people in your network, they might just know someone they can introduce you to.

The best people from your network to ask are people who get around, like your vendors for example. Your vendors can be a true resource when it comes to recommending someone. Their job is to visit and service all the companies in your area in your industry, they talk to a lot of people, so they see a lot and they know a lot. And the best part is that they want to please you, their cherished customer. They want to get on your good side. They want to do both your and the person they recommend a favor, so this approach can work out for everyone.

Extend your search to unexpected places like the organizations you belong to, even your church. You might already know someone in your Rotary club who could match your ideal candidate profile and you just never thought about them before. There could be a super saleswoman you see every week at your Kiwanis club who might not be selling what you’re selling now, but who has all the qualifications you want in a great salesperson. Remember you can teach the product, but you can’t teach passion, the person has to have that already. If a person has passion the rest will come.

Linkedin is a great source when you extend your search beyond your network, when you start looking for candidates you don’t already know. And since you already have developed your ideal company profile you can use it as a template to guide your search for the right candidates. Just go to the Linkedin search  feature, plug in the characteristics from your ideal candidate profile and you are going to be surprised at the number of names that will come up. And you will also be pleasantly surprised at the amount of information you can glean from each person’s profile. If you are not connected to the person then connect to them if you are already connected to them all the better, send them a message. 

I have found that most of the time, almost all of the time in fact, people will answer you especially if you come bearing the possibility of a job offer.

Of course, there are also the paid search engines like Indeed and and they can be very helpful in some instances but not always. They don’t work that well; they are too broad with too wide an audience to the point where you can get bombarded with resumes of unqualified candidates that you really do not want to waste time wading through.

There are also paid recruiters. They run from very expensive to reasonably priced so make sure you get a good one. The best recruiter to sign up with is one who is familiar, very familiar with your industry. A person who can even help you with your ideal customer profile when you’re putting it together. A recruiter who is familiar with your own industry will likely already have some likely candidates in his or her network that they can call on.

The most important thing is to make use of all of these resources to find the right people for your company. And one more thing remember the old adage: hire slowly, fire quickly. It is much better to spend your time conducting a good and thorough search to get the right candidate, even if it takes longer than you’d like, than to just try to get it over with and hire the wrong candidate, a mistake you will pay dearly for in the future. It’s only common sense.