Unemployed A-Level Players: A Hidden Opportunity for Recruiters

As I stated in my previous blog post, it's becoming more and more difficult to place the unemployed. Some companies are omitting them from the job search process, sight unseen, to the point where they're telling job seekers not to apply in their job posting and description.

But as we all know, not everybody has lost their job for performance reasons. In actuality, hiring managers know that, too, in most cases; they just don't want to take the time to sift through a mountain of resumes and applications. There are recruiters who are taking this approach, as well.

What it boils down to is this: companies still want the best of the best, but they don't want to expend the energy and effort necessary to find them among the ranks of the unemployed. Make no mistake about it, there are superstar candidates who currently do not have a full-time job. Either they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, they made somebody angry that they shouldn't have (extraordinarily bright individuals often have ideas that don't mesh with those of upper management), or they've decided this is a good time to work for themselves as a consultant . . . or perhaps even as a contractor.

Question: when do hiring managers use the services of a recruiter?

Answer: when they need to find superstar, A-level candidates, but they don't have the time, energy, or resources to find those candidates themselves.

By and large, hiring managers don't have the time, energy, resources, OR desire to find A-level candidates among the ranks of the unemployed. Do they want to see these A-players? If they're worth their salt as a manager--and as a company--they certainly do. They just need somebody to go find these candidates and present them.

With that in mind, the question becomes this one: do you, as a recruiter, have the desire to find and present A-level players who are unemployed? Or do you find it more desirable to identify and recruit superstar candidates who are currently employed?

On the heels of that: is it a good idea to present an unemployed superstar candidate to your client when the hiring manager has indicated that the unemployed won't be considered? If you know the candidate will be a valuable addition to the company and make a significant impact on the company's bottom line, do you view it as your duty to present this candidate and in essence "sell" them to the hiring manager?

All questions to ponder, but unemployed A-level players represent a hidden opportunity for recruiters. How much of an opportunity depends upon a number of factors, most of which are specific to each recruiter's individual situation (client base, industry or niche, and business model).

However, there's placement income to be found among the ranks of the unemployed. You just have to know where to look . . . and have a desire to look there.

Are your clients considering the unemployed for their open positions? Have you placed unemployed candidates recently? I welcome your feedback and comments regarding this topic.

(Matt Deutsch is a writer for Top Echelon's Recruiter Training Blog.)

Views: 79

Comment by pam claughton on June 17, 2010 at 3:50pm
My clients only care that I send A candidates, not whether they are employed or not. If they are an A, they are an A. That's all that matters.
Comment by Heidi on June 17, 2010 at 4:50pm
The problem here is that when you have preconceived notions about people, your judgment is clouded right out of the gate. It becomes difficult to effectively evaluate people when your judgment is clouded thus you are not giving people a fair opportunity.

Furthermore, if you do not have a smart sourcing and hiring strategy to identify quality candidates then you have an issue. Simply having a multitude of resumes does not constitute qualified candidates.

In other words, if you are searching for a manager in Dallas, Texas and history has proven that sourcing at certain locations or certain boards produces a low rate of qualified candidates, then why would you continue to use that source?

Remember your goal is to find the most qualified person for the job. It's imperative that you factor out pre-judgments about people, so that the decision making process is not overly bias. It is a balancing act where your role is to fulfill the need based upon qualifications. While you keep an open mind, you're still strategically focused.

In addition, strategic companies are always recruiting: in other words they are constantly talking to potential candidate even when they are not hiring thus they are building a pipeline. When you have a pipeline, you can keep open flows of communication. When you fail to have a pipeline it becomes a crisis for recruiters.

When you have a good hiring process that incorporates a contingency plan, you are being strategic and smart.

For Example:
A) You're always networking and recruiting
B) You have trained and qualified people to fill the role
C) You have a pipeline of quality and high performing entry- level people who can be trained for growth and promotion.

Smart recruitment is about building a strong workforce by sourcing and attracting well qualified people who have a demonstrated ability to perform the job. When you are so focused on senseless characteristics that are not rooted in whether someone can actually perform the job, you take your eye off of the ball (the” qualified") thereby missing the mark.
Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on June 18, 2010 at 5:50pm
Without even referring to the originating article or job posting that started all of the recent controversy, this has been a hot topic in my immediate network lately. I've had several job seekers (more than usual) ask me if this was true... First time they had heard such a thing was possible - especially if they've never been unemployed at all or for an extended period of time. Unfortunatly, there always has been a bias against the active job seeker population (unemployed or not).

As you've noted, there are so many valid reasons that unemployment should not be a filter. But the reality is that closed-minded people continue to perpetuate the myth that those with jobs are superior to those without...

I'm glad you chose to say something that to me is quite obvious, but never actually stated: "Make no mistake about it, there are superstar candidates who currently do not have a full-time job. Either they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, they made somebody angry that they shouldn't have (extraordinarily bright individuals often have ideas that don't mesh with those of upper management)."

I think the only way we will get past this limited thinking is if every person - who holds the opinion that the employed are more talented - becomes unemployed long enough to get first hand experience having to rebuild and defend their reputation as a "job-worthy" professional.


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