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If you love your profession in life, it becomes an art form. Recruiting is a space that encapsulates everything from temporary staffing to C-Suite search, and the industry is as broad as the day is long. What I do every day is Executive Search. Perfecting my technique in the hunt for the right fit is something that, like an artist, I will never stop doing.

On a regular basis, we search for the candidate who is trying not to be found. Who we are looking for is not found on the job boards or LinkedIn. They have an old, dusty resume in the closet and are well hidden from the job market. We are as much personal investigators as we are recruiters. Finding these hidden gems or “purple squirrels” can be rigorous. We have to get creative and dig in deeper, learn what the core of your client’s needs are for this role and find someone who exceeds that expectation.

The daily hunt to find these individuals requires a creative edge, a unique thought process and instinct that cannot be easily taught, only learned over time. After years in this space, I still find myself at dead ends trying to discover new avenues to find who we are looking for. We have to reinvent the wheel consistently to produce the high level of results that we hold ourselves to. This means looking for old resumes, checking conference attendance lists, calling home phone numbers and getting the right referrals. Most importantly, outside of the internet and our databases and resumes, this means listening to the candidates.

Every conversation you have with a candidate is an opportunity for you to learn. Ask open ended questions and let them tell you what you and the hiring managers do not know. Be willing to pick their brain. Even if they are not the right candidate, they will point you in the right direction. Referrals are what will uncover the passive candidates, they are our golden ticket. Regardless of what new websites or technologies are in the recruiting space, nothing can top a firsthand referral.

Being open to learn new techniques and listen to your candidates is what it takes to make a difference for your client. The end result is not filling a role; it is completing a masterpiece that is your client’s team and being able to take something from that. We are obligated to succeed; that success requires us to learn and forces us to grow as professionals.

Nicole Tascone, Senior Consultant