By Michael Matalone

The number one reason it is difficult to find top talent is because most hiring managers have a hard time clearly defining the role. And one of the reasons this is difficult, is because the job description is the tool most people use to accomplish this. Unfortunately, most job descriptions simply describe a bunch of tasks and desired behaviors and these will NOT help you find the talent you are seeking.


Finding talent is based on searching for Key words that are critical to the role and can be found in a resume or LinkedIn profile. You also need to identify the information that will help you create an email template and/or phone script you can use to motivate applicants to want to explore your opportunity. To help you with this, we created the:


The Position Profile

Questions 1-6 are designed to help you find the talent you’re seeking.

  1. Provide a brief position description.
  2. What are the educational requirements?
  3. What are the MUST have experience, knowledge and skills (do not include behaviors)?
  4. What are the NICE to have experience, knowledge and skills (do not include behaviors)?
  5. How would you define success for this role (hire 3 sales people by x date, implement customer satisfaction survey within 90 days, install new ERP system by year end, etc.)?
  6. List any Keywords that would be found on a resume and/or LinkedIn profile to help identify applicants.

Questions 7–16 are designed to help you motivate them to explore your opportunity

  1. What about this position and your company will really WOW a potential applicant and why?
  2. If a management role, how many direct reports?
  3. What training is available for this role?
  4. What is the compensation range for this position, and is the compensation at, above, or below industry standards?
  5.  Is this position open due to growth or turnover?
  6.  Who (title or role) will this position report to?
  7.  What advancement opportunity (if any) would a person in this position have within your company?
  8.  What benefits does this position offer? (Medical, dental, life, car, cellphone, uniforms, tools, etc.)?
  9.  Is there any relocation or incentive packages offered to someone in this role?
  10.  Is there anything about the company location that would interest candidates to move to the area?

No matter who is filling your pipeline, they will be armed with the appropriate information to conduct a highly effective search.


The Search

You need to post multiple ads on a variety of job boards. It is not enough to just post on one job board and wait for that to NOT work, and then try another. You need to run at least 2-3 at a time.

It is also important to understand that the top talent or the “A” players that you truly want on your team, are not typically looking for a job. They are happily employed somewhere else, so you need to seek them out.  This means that you must cast as wide a net as possible and includes a combination of running several ads to attract the proactive job seekers, and proactively searching the databases of several of the top boards like Monster, Career Builder, The Ladders, Dice, and others.  Most importantly you need to search on top site where over 70% of most candidates are found and that is LinkedIn.

The fees to gain access to the databases of these sites typically range from $3K to 10K for an annual agreement. Identify candidates also requires an investment in time. Plan on spending about 8 to 20 hours per search in the first two weeks identifying resumes that meet the basic criteria. So you need to have someone who can dedicate this amount of time.

As of January, 2016, we contacted the following job boards and asked them what and how they charge. The following is a breakdown of their responses:


As you can see, with the exception of Craig’s List, none of the job boards we contacted allow you to search for anything shorter than a one year commitment so if you are only hiring a couple of people a year, this may not be the route for you.

With access to these job boards, you can target the people/skills you’re seeking by using the key words identified in the Position Profile such as Java Develop, Project Management Professional or Consultative Software Sales etc. It is also important to consider that job titles are sometimes relative and that there are potentially different names for the same role. Mix up your search words and you’ll end up with a greater breadth of candidates.

This “do it yourself” approach will cost you about $15K to $20K per year for the resources and about $20-$30K per year for the person who will conduct the searches. If your hiring 10 or more people per year, you cost per hire is about $5 and decreases with each subsequent hire which is typically much less than most recruiting firms charge.


What you need to know about hiring a professional recruiting firm.

If you are going to use a professional recruiter to help you with your search, there are several things to understand to help you make a good selection. The first is to understand their fee model and what services you are truly getting. The two basic types of fee structures are:


Contingent firms who get paid a percentage of the annual salary and typically averages 20-30%. Since they take all the upfront risk in doing the search, they will typically only spend about 3-5 days of real effort before they have to move on to the next client search. This is why you will get inundated with resumes in the first week and then receive little to nothing after that. This model motivates them to want or need to place the first person they can find that matches the “basic” requirements of the role and the one with the highest salary requirements which equals a bigger paycheck for them.


Retained or Contract Search Firms: These firms typically include a fixed fee for the search, with an up-front retainer and the balance due when the candidate they provide you expects your offer. The good news about this model is that the motivation is on placing the most qualified candidate vs. the highest paid one and as a result, they will invest a lot more effort and resources to be successful. This also means it will take a little longer to find you top candidates.

In either case, you need to ask them what resources they will use (what job boards, dedicated staff, their skill level, etc.). Be sure that they have made the investments in ALL of the tools and resources to be successful so you know the value you are paying. That being said, and as I have mentioned several times already; please realize that eventually they are going to send you candidates that you and your team have to interview and select who the best one is and that means you need to be as good or better than they are so what then are you truly paying for?


The XP3 Talent Sourcing Solution:

If you are not ready to do it yourself, and don’t want to pay the expensive recruiter fees, and want the most effective solution available, then we can help you. We are experts in Applicant Sourcing and will generate more qualified applicants at a lower cost than most other sources available. Our process is based upon industry best practices, and the latest sourcing and screening techniques. We understand the psychology of active and passive candidates and how to find and motivate them. And our fees start at just $875 per role!

Your job is not over

Unfortunately, many people believe that success in hiring is predominately based on finding the right person, which is why so many companies are willing to invest so much in a professional recruiter!

But realize this: no matter who is filling your applicant pipeline, you and your hiring managers still have to interview and determine who the best person is for the role, and your company and this means that you and your hiring team need to be as good at this, if not better than the recruiter!

To learn more about this, download my e-book The Talent Gap: How to Get the Right Person in the Right Roles and sign up for a demo of the XP3 Talent System.