Finding Hidden Talent

Angela Pitts

I love the opportunity of visiting with other staffing professionals.  I enjoy hearing about what they are doing, how they have overcome obstacles, new lines of business they are pursuing and overall what is working for them.  In addition, I like to share my experience.  Prior to joining Avionté I spent over ten years in staffing and recruiting.  Although not an expert, I saw my far share of action and learned a lot along the way.

I had just been promoted to Assistant Manager when the company I worked for decided to start a direct hire division.  They had looked at several options, such as training internal staff to recruit for high level positions or bringing on a team that already had experience in recruiting and acquiring new orders.  This division would operate separately from the temp division, but we would share customers.

One of our customers that used us often for temporary positions contacted us about helping them fill a VP position.  This was one of the first big orders for our new direct hire division to work on.  The account manager and one of our owners went over to meet with the president and gather some information.  Upon returning to the office they shared the specs with me.  I had about one year in staffing and had mostly worked in light industrial at the time, although I had placed a couple of entry level engineers; which means that I really didn’t have much experience with this type of placement.  I scanned the information, and told them I had the perfect candidate.  My boss smiled at me, and explained that I probably didn’t completely understand what they were looking for.  I assured her that I did and I wanted to contact him and talk about the position.

At this point I should probably tell you a not so little secret about myself.  I am competitive, not just a little competitive, ultra competitive.  In high school my swim coach told me that I probably had the worst form he ever saw, but I did well because I wanted it more than anyone else in the pool.  If there is something I want, I’m relentless.  One of the greatest compliments I received while working an account was that I was a “bulldog”.

Since I knew this person well already, the initial part of the prescreen was pretty easy.  When we got to the technical portion of the interview, I was in a bit over my head.  I gathered up the information that I thought would do the best job in selling him to our client and e-mailed it to my boss.  She reviewed it, and agreed that I just might have found someone that would be a good match.  She cautioned me that most of the time clients need to see several candidates before they will even think about making an offer.     Just because that’s the way it normally happens, doesn’t mean it always happens that way.  They interviewed my candidate and made an offer within a couple of days.

There are a couple of morals to this story.  First, don’t under estimate someone who is passionate and motivated.   I figured I couldn’t lose.  We didn’t have anyone else in the pipeline, so why not take a look at my candidate?  Just because they didn’t come from one of our experienced recruiters didn’t mean they wouldn’t be a good match.

Good recruiters are simply good networkers.  Anyone can post an ad, dig through a database or ask for referrals.  Being well connected with others is what to look for in a recruiter.  It doesn’t matter if this person is filling six figure positions or entry level.  They have to know people, like people and remember people in order to be effective.  Of course you have to use all the tools available, such as the above, but having that network is the most effective.

When you find that person who shows an interest, encourage them!  After my placement I was given all sorts of tools to help hone my recruiting skills.

Who on your staff might be the next big thing in your company?  What are you currently doing to train, motivate and cultivate their talent?  You might be letting $$ slip away because you haven’t taken the opportunity to see what hidden talents your staff may possess.

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