Cast a Line, Not a Net: Finding the Ideal Candidate

The right ATS is an essential tool to help any recruiter build a database of qualified candidates.  With a few clicks and a single job post, one can reach thousands of candidates.  It’s a tried and true method: cast a wide net, and a worthy candidate will appear.  While this practice of recruiting may seem efficient, it may not always be the best route.  Rather than casting a net, try casting a line.  It’s important to remember that your job as a recruiter is not just to fill the position, it’s to fill the position with the right person.  

Start the process by establishing a dialogue with the employer.  Talk with them at length about their vision for the ideal candidate.  Work to understand their company culture and their expectations. Dig to unearth any underlying needs the employer may not have realized.  Get them engaged and excited about their new hire.  Agree on specific keywords, skills, or crucial experience.  It’s necessary to be on the same page and have a clear picture of the ideal candidate.

Once you know your target, cast your line.  Use the candidate database in your ATS, and optimize your search by mastering Boolean terms.  Remember to include the agreed upon keywords from your conversation with the employer.  Take further steps and utilize LinkedIn.  Connect with your established network, ask around, don’t hesitate to connect with anyone who can offer insight.  Dig in and do not give up.  Top level recruiters will not stop until the ideal candidate is found.

Once you have found them, set the hook.  Invite them to chat about a potential career opportunity, one that’s superior to their current situation.  Framing the chat towards an upward career shift is paramount; this takes the pressure off the initial conversation.  The money, the location, and the implementation can all be worked out later.  The candidate should be focused on an opportunity to further their career.

Finally, reel them in.  Ideally, you should bring three to five candidates through to the next phase.  You have already energized the employer, and your candidate has their curiosity sufficiently piqued.  This method ensures candidate quality.  The reality is: a job posting may attract 150 candidates.  Of those 150, perhaps ten are qualified for the position; of those ten, maybe one is ideal.  Maybe. That is the crux of the wide net method. It is better to avoid uncertainty.  Understand the ideal candidate, find them, highlight the career opportunity, and then connect the dots.  Be the best recruiter you can be.  Cast a line, not a net.