After a couple years of radio silence from a client and most of my original contacts moving to other companies, I got a call from their talent acquisition team. They had found some notes in their system relating to past work performed.

They had a problem. More precisely, one of their internal clients had a problem.

The problem was a key contributor role in their financial reporting team. The person in the role left the company 355 days earlier.

And it still was not filled.

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355 days, 150+ resumes reviewed by the hiring manager, 30+ interviews, declined offers…still open.

Can you imagine working on that team with a reporting deadline pressing down on you? It must be right, on-time and no one really cares how many hours, weekends, weeknights, sleepless nights, holidays, vacation days, sick days or family events get missed.

Could we help? Yes! Did we? Yes, completed the search with the second candidate presented in less than three weeks from the first phone call.

That’s all well & good but something was broken, and it got me to thinking…Why did it take over a year to fill a mid-level role like that?

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There was a study in the Harvard Business Review that found only 23% of the total talent pool will either post a resume on a job board or apply to a job ad. Only 23% will raise their flags and say, “look at me!”

Most companies and contingent recruiting firms have similar recruiting strategies. Both post ads, with firms usually pasting their logo on a company’s description, on the same job boards. Both scrape their existing database. Both really work over that 23%. Both end up picking through the same Red Ocean of available candidates.

Here is what struck me. According to the same study, 79% of the total talent pool will take a call and listen to a recruiter if the opportunity is skillfully positioned. This is the Blue Ocean.

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This is a big reason why the decades-old recruiting model is not working like it did years ago. Recruiting firms are not incentivized to find the right talent at the right time. They are incentivized to be the first to present a candidate and to advocate for their candidate above all others. The truth is, contingent firms fill less than 20% of their job orders. If they cannot get candidates through the gate in the first two or three weeks, they spend their efforts on more promising jobs.

The truth is this, since there is a less than 20% fill rate, you can guarantee that a company’s preferred candidate is being presented to every other company that might have a similar role…because the recruiting firm must chase the transaction, any transaction.

But the market is evolving. It is time for the strategies Hiring Managers use to evolve with it. The odds are that your next best hire is in the 79% so why not target them instead of the over-picked 23%?

Ready to evolve your strategy and start getting the right talent at the right time?

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