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Recruiting: Speed vs. Quality

Are speed and quality mutually exclusive concepts in recruiting?  Can you find the best candidate in the shortest possible time?

The answer depends on what you are seeking.  Many employers are content to have readily available applicants (active job seekers) as the only candidates for certain types of jobs.  However, in some cases, employers prefer to recruit “passive” candidates – those who are employed and not looking for a new position.  It is widely presumed that the people who are NOT seeking new employment might be more highly skilled than those who have been let go or are actively in the job market.  Right or wrong, the desire to pursue passive candidates does take more time.  Why?

Active job seekers answer calls, return calls, and can set up interview appointments right away.  Passive candidates are busy working, on business travel, or otherwise occupied, and don’t always take initial calls or return them quickly.  They may not have a current resume.  It can take 4-5 phone call attempts to reach passive candidates, and then to set up even a phone screen can be a few days off.  Scheduling face to face interviews can take weeks if a candidate is busy or traveling.

Many of our clients call us after they’ve been attempting to recruit on their own.  It is not unusual for a client to report that they’ve been searching for 3-4 months, interviewed 5-6 people, and still haven’t found the person they want.  So, when they ask us how quickly we can submit people, we wince or we chuckle, but it isn’t really funny.

Employers also think that we instantly possess a database of passive candidates that we can immediately tap into, and present people instantly.  The reality is that most good retained recruiters start sourcing from scratch for new assignments, to be able to present people who are a precise fit.  Sourcing is done quickly – usually within a week.  It is connecting with people that takes longer as described above.  A search for precision fit, custom sourced passive candidates takes 3-6 weeks.  The quality is worth it every time.