If you are an employer competing for high-impact talent, particularly in areas of engineering, accounting, healthcare and the STEM disciplines, it can be hard to find the right candidate.

What can your company do to gain a competitive advantage in a tight talent market?

Many of the best candidates simply aren’t (and never will be) in the job market. These candidates are focused on exceeding expectations for their current employer, so they rarely respond to passive recruiting methods such as online job postings. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in a potential change. It’s just that these candidates won’t come to you, you have to go find them.

“We’re going to have a different candidate pool than other folks might have. Hopefully, we’re going to take a more thoughtful approach and look for the right skills that are attached to the right person, who’s going to fit well in that corporate culture.”

Make sure that your recruiting partner is a search firm, not an employment agency. Strange as it may seem, many companies who call themselves recruiters rely on the same passive methods to attract candidates that employers do. The best search firms spend most of their time networking with trusted referral sources and developing relationships with top-performing candidates.

Good recruiters will understand what a candidate wants to accomplish with a change, which helps you in finding high-impact talent who might not know you otherwise. For top players, I’ve often found that money is pretty far down the list. It might be quality of life. They may want to be with a smaller company where they can have a more personal impact. Or they might be looking for growth potential.

An executive I worked with was motivated because he was with a company that didn’t value people in the same way he did. He wanted to be somewhere where he could have an influence on the culture, and motivate results in a different way. A talented player may be looking for a different organizational approach.

Your recruiter should be spending time with you to find what you want to accomplish and to understand your values. I only take on search engagements for companies that I can sell to candidates with enthusiasm and conviction, and there is no way I can do that without getting to know key decision makers and hiring managers with my client companies.

“We look for companies who will help us look under the hood so to speak, to understand what’s unique about them, what’s their identity, what kind of people are successful in the environment, what does success look like in their world.”

Understanding the nuances allows your recruiter to quickly identify candidates that will be a strong fit, both technically and culturally.

Many things are important to the success of the business — processes and intellectual property, for example. But most leaders realize that people drive results. They can’t afford to make mistakes with key hires. Investing in a process where you can recruit high-impact talent in a tight job market can create long-term value for both you and the employee.

When do I use a recruiting firm?

    1. Internal resources to focus on recruiting are limited.
    2. The skillset or experience desired will likely make the position difficult to fill.
    3. The search is confidential (position may be occupied by an underperforming employee).
    4. The applicant response to internal efforts has not been satisfactory.
    5. The time to fill the position is critical and engaging someone with focused contacts can expedite the process.

LBMC Staffing Solutions, LLC, recruits the RIGHT talent that makes good businesses BETTER. Our affiliation with Tennessee’s largest professional services firm provides access to a vast network of highly qualified candidates. Our tenure and work experience in the disciplines we recruit allow us to listen to your needs and bring valued market knowledge. This combination enables us to recruit, qualify and make better matches for both our clients and candidates.

Walt Morgan is a manager and search consultant with LBMC Staffing Solutions in Knoxville. Many of Walt’s placed candidates have remained with the same company for 15 years or more.