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Why this recruitment technique may be key for today’s market

Kathleen Duffy
Kathleen Duffy is president and CEO of Duffy Group, which sources and recruits candidates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Europe and Asia, and the author of the new book, Revolutionizing Recruitment: How Recruitment Research is Reshaping the Industry.

The latest jobs numbers are encouraging signs that the nation is emerging from the devastation of a once-in-a-century global health crisis.

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But with this good news comes a challenge: finding talent. The tsunami of jobs in the restaurant, hospitality and retail industries has been well-publicized, but quality, white-collar workers are in high demand, too. It’s not just because companies need to fill open positions. Experts project that employee turnover in corporate America will spike during the next 18 months. It’s all being driven by the new, post-pandemic workplace, in which workers are evaluating (or re-evaluating) their roles, their companies and, to a larger extent, their lives.

A case in point: Resignations, particularly among healthcare and high-tech workers, rose in March, which Visier, the global leader in people analytics and workforce planning, believes could be a trend starting to emerge. The same holds true for women. This is happening while HR and recruitment budgets are dwindling–at least for the remainder of the year.

The need to find top talent efficiently, effectively and economically calls for a re-evaluation of the recruitment process.

In my 30-year career, I have discovered a little-known but highly effective alternative to traditional recruitment approaches. That’s not to say that retained and contingent searches are inferior; they are not. But there is another model called Recruitment Research that bears consideration.

Recruitment Research defined

Recruitment Research is a five-step methodology that is effective, efficient and economical–saving companies up to 50% off of traditional recruitment practices. Drawing on skills that are equal parts detective and skilled salesperson, the approach harnesses market intelligence to unearth candidates who are the best match for the companies that need them.

The process starts by taking a deep dive into the company and its business and ends with a list of interested, qualified candidates.

At its core, Recruitment Research is about strategy so employers and their recruitment partners can target the best people for the job. It’s also about creatively telling your company’s compelling story in a way that makes candidates want to join your team. And it’s about looking beyond traditional channels and sources to unearth the best people for the job. Chances are, they are working somewhere else. In fact, a recent LinkedIn study showed that 70% of the global workforce consists of passive talent. As important, 80% of both active and passive candidates are open to new job opportunities.

Five key steps

The foundation of recruitment research is a sourcing strategy, with an in-depth situation analysis to understand the culture and personality of the hiring company, along with the job’s requirements, responsibilities and specific skill set needed. Using a comprehensive intake form, the recruitment team collects data about its clients’ recruiting targets, geographic preferences, salary and compensation levels, communication expectations and industry-specific vernacular.

Armed with this information, recruiters then begin the next step–name generation–to identify candidates whose backgrounds, education and experiences dovetail with their needs. This is where LinkedIn and other creative outreach tactics come in. Recruiters can identify those looking for new careers or some who may not be looking at all.

See also: What will recruitment look like after COVID?

List in hand, it is now time to contact and pre-qualify potential hires as part of the recruitment candidate vetting. Because getting people to return calls may be difficult, it is important to create sizzle around why potential hires should consider the opportunity.

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In addition to courting these individuals, this is the time to ask some all-important questions, including if they interested in relocating to a particular area, if they have the right education and experience, and if they have a genuine interest in the job the client is trying to fill.

At Duffy Group, we may search as many as 100 candidates for one position and then present the top three to five most qualified and fully screened candidates for interviews. These individuals are typically seen within 10-15 business days of the start of the search. That’s important, given that Recruitment Research’s model is based on billable hours, much like a CPA or an attorney. Clients choose from a menu of services that can result in a cost savings of up to 50% per project compared with traditional recruitment practices.

The final step of the process is presentation and reporting. This is when the recruitment team shares the database and comprehensive profiles of all candidates for hiring managers to consider if other positions become available.

Putting the approach into action

Let me give you an example of the process in action.

Colorado State University struggled to find an executive director of development. Fundraising was a critical component for the university’s viability, yet there was high turnover in the position. Competition for candidates was fierce, and at face value, this was made worse by the university’s location an hour from Denver, where housing was more expensive than in other college towns.

After contacting several higher-education fundraising professionals, we discovered that relocation would be an obstacle. Then we had an epiphany: Rather than focusing on the job title, we needed to focus on the skill set, tapping candidates who already understood all of the benefits of the location. We wanted candidates who possessed the specific skills necessary to raise funds for a university, and recognized that local candidates working in the nonprofit sector would demonstrate similar skills at development and fundraising.

Related: 5 changes for recruiting in a post-pandemic economy

As we identified key candidates, and then shared the university’s generous benefits and other advantages of being part of the CSU community, we developed a pool of talent who would never have been reached through traditional sources. Ultimately, this enabled the university to fill the vacancy with a director who had stellar fundraising skills and established relationships with potential donors.

It’s one of hundreds of cases where strategy and out-of-the-box thinking made a difference in the recruitment process.

But Recruitment Research is not just about hiring great people. Done right, it will also help companies build effective teams, identify leaders for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities, and reconfigure groups to advance a mission or achieve a specific goal.

Register here for the HR Tech Conference to learn the innovative ways recruiters are tapping into tech for a post-pandemic workplace.