5 Tips on How to Find Best Fit Candidates
by Lee Skaalrud
May 31, 2018
A leading frustration for many professionals is locating best fit candidates for open positions. Employees are in the driver’s seat. Low unemployment rates have shrunk the talent pool, making the process of identifying candidates that are both technically qualified and that align with your organizational culture more challenging. How can professionals overcome the challenge of finding the best fit candidates for their job vacancies?
Here are 5 tips to improve the probability of finding high-quality prospects and building robust talent pools to draw from.
1. Create Detailed and Succinct Position Specification
We all know that without a destination, any road chosen will get you there. A strong and robust position specification will aid in sourcing the right person for the position, function, work group, business unit or enterprise. Ill-defined position specifications create a wandering path that adds unneeded time, money, and frustration to the process.
The position specification should include the following knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics:
- What people need to know: This includes the technical and/or professional credentialing needed to perform the job-related activities
- The skills people can do: The tasks performed on the job such as decision making, planning, and organizing, operating a CNC machine, business development, etc
- The abilities of a person: This includes intellectual capacity, psychomotor skills, intellectual curiosity and other hard-wired properties
- Additional Characteristics: Other characteristics include a person’s attitude, beliefs, personality characteristics, temperaments and values
The position specification now acts as your foundation as you build your search strategy, tactics, and campaign around it.
2. Identify the Transferable Skill Range
The person-job fit characteristics of the position specification (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities) can often lead to a trap. When translating from the position specification to practical search criteria, we can create unfillable job descriptions or descriptions that need walk-on-water candidates. This occurs when we create laundry lists of must-have criteria, leaving ourselves with the unenviable task of finding the needle in a haystack.
Broadening the elements of the position specification can be critical to search success. For example, if you’re looking for an operations director for a metal fabrication company that brings skills and experience in managing press brake, laser cutting, CNC machining, electro-mechanical assembly, and ultra-high vacuum welding, you’ll be lucky to find a handful of people in any geography that possesses relevant skills in all those areas.
However, if you narrow in on one or two skills and then rely on the individual’s capacity to learn the remaining competencies, you will be in much better shape.
3. Broaden Industry Scope
With decisions made on the transferable skill range, a determination can be made on how wide or narrow industry selection can be. For example, if you’re looking for a principal R&D scientist to develop optics measurement systems with ion deposition capital equipment, and you look for that specific industry experience, you’re in for a challenging search.
However, if you allow candidates with the optics expertise to come from a broader array of industries such as semiconductor, aerospace, solar, laser, metrology, etc. you’re still in for a challenging search but are affording yourself a fighting chance.
4. Select Target-Rich Areas
We have a general idea of where certain industries have a strong presence. For example, with semiconductors the West Coast, Texas, and Northeast regions are strong. In agriculture, the Midwest and upper Midwest have strong pockets of talent throughout the region. Of course, we don’t recommend relying on broad generalizations or assumptions, but knowing the trends can help you navigate your search.
Leveraging resources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercially available databases, and Economic Development Corporations’ publications, you can acquire the identification of specific cities and regions that can yield a precise talent mapping. When recruiting for very specific credentials, experience, and skills understanding where the haystacks are located makes finding the allusive needle easier.
5. Develop a Winning Plan
With the alignment of the transferable skill range, industry, and geography a meaningful project plan and campaign can be designed. The following are some of the elements that can be blended to create a focused and executable plan:
- Networking the opportunity: This channel takes time to bear fruit so starting off with networking the opportunity to colleagues, industry contacts, employee referral, friends, and family is a great way to launch a campaign.
- Posting the opportunity: From your career page to LinkedIn, Indeed, and Facebook, posting the opportunity to job boards and social media platforms can produce tremendous results depending on the role.
- Direct sourcing or head hunting: With very low unemployment levels, most positions you staff for are going to require support from headhunters. This can be accomplished by your staff or hiring a professional recruiter.
- Events: Job fairs, trade association meetings, campus recruiting can produce results for certain levels and job functions.
If the recipe is correct, finding the best candidate for your job opening is more likely to be realized.
Leverage these 5 tips to find best fit candidates and start building out robust talent pools today. For more information about attracting the best talent to your organization, check out our free guide: Inside the Art of Talent Attraction.
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