hiringDo you have difficulty in recruiting and hiring talent for your KEY Positions? How do you find the talent you need when you need it and do so in an  effective manner?  HINT: it isn’t with job boards. 

I hear comments from hiring managers that they can’t find the talent they need for KEY positions as PeopleSoft Developers, PeopleSoft Analyst, software developers, project managers, tech sales or other key employees for DIRECT HIRE in their local area. I learned that their positions have been opened for months without many good prospects even though many candidates were interviewed.  An unfilled open position can be costly due to the cost of contractors performing the function or in missed opportunities.

Is there a shortage of tech talent or just something wrong with the way companies recruit? I think a little bit of both.  There is always a shortage of good resources because the good candidates are always in demand. And they are always hard to find because GOOD RESOURCES ARE NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB. Companies would be more effective in recruiting key employees if they relied less on job boards and always kept the hiring manager engaged in the process.

How to find and hire the talent

  1. KEY talent is always in demand
  2. KEY talent has to be recruited beyond job boards
  3. The hiring manager’s ownership is crucial
  4. The case for a SPECIALTY RECRUITER


Talent for key positions is always in demand and thus one might say there’s always a shortage. This talent can be found and recruited to fill a company’s need with the proper effort.  Most tech positions are key positions because candidates working within areas of technology have specialized skills. Just as in the general population, there is also differentiation in the range of tech talent based on skills, intelligence, passion, output capability and cultural fit for any company. Most companies will want to hire the best candidates they can afford for any KEY position. The difficulty is in expanding the talent pool to get at the best candidates and being able to attract them to your operation.


Job boards are a mainstay in the fast-paced Internet connected world and we are glad they exist. Job boards allow companies to market their openings and candidates to market themselves. They are successful in filling many positions but by their nature are rarely successful in the recruitment for KEY positions.

Companies using job boards to fill key positions are rarely successful because GOOD KEY POSITION CANDIDATES ARE NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB. For the most part the candidates responding to job postings are unemployed, unhappy in their current positions or have to make a change due to circumstance. Some very good candidates are found on job boards but they may be overlooked due to the way their resumes are written or the screener’s inability to recognize their talent. (see article on writing resumes http://peoplestaff.com/write-a-better-resume/ ).  The talent pool of candidates responding to job board postings is limited and does not include the excellent candidates who are not looking for a job. Aren’t the people you wish to hire for KEY positions probably employed, happy and not looking for a change? When you are looking for talent and good employees why limit yourself to a pool that may not include many of either?

If you engage Contingency recruiters who only post on job boards you are little better off. Contingency recruiters are paid when they make a placement. Because they work for free until the placement is made they are very sensitive to the amount of work they can do versus the reward they will receive. When multiple recruiters are engaged on the same assignment the risk of not getting paid is extremely high so the amount of work that will be done is much lower. Utilizing multiple recruiters will generate more candidates faster but because they are often accessing the same talent pool of job seekers from job boards, the results for key employees will not be much better. In addition, working with multiple recruiters will often result in duplicating submittals of the same candidate because some job seekers have learned how to write resumes to be selected.

When you start with a limited talent pool you will get limited results. If you have a KEY position to be filled you must look for ways to include as many KEY employee candidates as possible and take the time to recruit and select them. This is the best way to satisfy your talent needs even though it might seem slower and less productive because you won’t get high candidate flows.


Recruiting is a creative process that is time-consuming and requires hard work. All creative processes require incentive to be completed. The person with the greatest incentive for a successful hire is the hiring manager. Hiring the right people for the team is one of the most important tasks for every manager. Hire the right people and you have a good chance of reaching your objectives. Hire the wrong people and your success may be in jeopardy and you will have many management headaches.

Many managers start the recruiting process with the intentions of being involved but become discouraged after reading many resumes and interviewing a few candidates who just don’t pan out. The manager knows what he or she needs but the candidates being looked at just don’t have it. Candidates are lacking the skills, the passion or appear to be a risk so they are not hired.

Unable to keep the effort up, the recruiting process may be delegated to HR. It is not that HR doesn’t do good work, but delegating the process away from the hiring manager with the strongest interest and expertise will degrade the process unless communications and understanding is high. It often isn’t. HR reps have a lot on their plate and just typically don’t have the expertise or incentive of the manager. When you remove incentive and expertise from a creative process like recruiting you may not get the results that were desired.

The best, most efficient and successful recruiting processes are those that have the hiring manager involved. If there were some way to minimize exposure to marginal candidates and maximize exposure to good fit candidates, the hiring manager would see the value of the process. The best way to do this is to expand beyond the job board talent pool.  This can be accomplished with internal or external research professionals, dedicated recruiters, or the hiring managers own networking efforts. The search for great KEY employees can be improved by reaching out to candidates that may not be reaching for your job.


Specialty recruiters can make the recruitment of KEY employees more successful because they recruit beyond job boards and have talent knowledge and motivation similar to the hiring manager.

Specialty recruiters have access to top candidates and know how to treat them to get their attention for your KEY position. They will deliver candidates you won’t find any other way. Their market knowledge has been developed over time by talking to hundreds if not thousands of candidates and hiring managers learning about their careers and opportunities.  They are often professionals looking out for the best interest of clients and candidates alike. When you consider their advice and approach to recruiting you are more likely to have a good hiring experience.

Working with a Specialty Recruiter can:

  1. Extend your limited talent pool beyond job board candidates
  2. Develop local markets to reduce your risk, time and cost to hire
  3. Eliminate exposure to low or marginal candidates
  4. Deliver good candidates that can’t be found any other way
  5. Reduce the effort, time and cost of the manager while keeping him or her engaged.
  6. Help make good hiring decisions to improve your team and reduce turnover


My belief is that the majority of the best talent for any specific for job IS NOT LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB because he or she is happy, productive and busy doing their job. Test this statement by reflecting upon your own situation. Are you looking for a different job now? The only way to hire the best and brightest is to get access to the full talent pool which means going beyond the job board talent.  It takes work to identify and attract KEY staff for the right positions but the value should not be overlooked.

America’s industry cannot afford to overlook great hires.


Author: Rick Zabor

Engineer / Scientist / Researcher turned Recruiter in 1987. Interested in the best way to do things and mixing with people who have passions for life. Writes on topics important to building winning teams and personal growth and accomplishment. Connect with me on Linkedin. Lives in Atlanta, GA.