4 min read

The Real Reason Why Recruiters Can't Find Qualified Candidates

active candidates passive candidates

Do any of these statements typify the current state of your recruiting organization?

  • "We have plenty of job orders, we just can't find the candidates"
  • "The candidates we're finding are not qualified"
  • "There are no qualified candidates"the real reason why recruiters can't "find" qualified candidates
  • "We need better sourcing tools to find the "A" players"
  • "Another candidate interview, another interview bombed"

For months on end staffing CEO's and recruiting leaders have been living in this "pain." They go on to express their frustration with the lack of candidate submittals being produced by their recruiting team and their inability to consistently deliver qualified candidates. AND THEN THE QUESTION COMES, "Dan do you know of any new, innovative sourcing tools we should be using?"  This question and the fact that it is being asked is the root cause of the real issue for why recruiters are lacking candidate submittals and struggling to source highly sought after "A" player candidates.

In this blog post, the real reason why recruiters can't "find" qualified candidates, I'm going to share with you why sourcing and sourcing tools are NOT the reason nor the solution to sourcing passive candidates and increasing candidate submittals.  I'm going to share what the real, root cause issue is for why recruiters struggle to source and deliver highly sought after "A" player candidates.

Why Sourcing Tools is NOT the Solution to Increasing Candidate Submittals 

News flash, the highly sought after IT consultants/candidates your customers seek are currently employed. There is no secret social network in which all passive (or active), "A" player candidates are hanging out and there is no sourcing tool that is going to solve this challenge or give recruiters an advantage over their competitors. 

Recruiting is a sales job and I think many in the industry either forgot this or were never taught this concept in the first place. Regardless of the number of sourcing tools you use and how effective or ineffective those tools may be, there has never been and there never will be a substitute for a recruiter picking up the phone and calling on and recruiting passive candidates.  In fact, the last thing recruiters should ever want is technology that automates the task of recruiting passive candidates because if that happens, what do employers need to hire a recruiter for?  The recruiting profession will become obsolete.

If you're a recruiter struggling to source "A" player candidates or a recruiting manager leading a team of recruiters that is struggling to source "A" player (passive) candidates, this is your opportune time to further develop and enhance your skill set and improve your recruiting effectiveness.  Top performing recruiters never, ever say things like:

  • "There are no qualified candidates"
  • "I searched the boards and there are no qualified candidates available"

Recruiters who make these statements and use these excuses are not recruiters, they're sourcers because what they're really saying is that they can't recruit in a tight labor market, they can only source active candidates off the job boards.

Top performers on the other hand avoid these statements because they know there are always plenty of good, highly qualified candidates to call on if you're willing to call on passive candidates.  

The Real Issue with Increasing Candidate Submittals, Sourcing "A" Candidates

The real issue why recruiters are struggling with candidate submittals is because most recruiters simply don't want to call on and recruit passive candidates.  In fact, most recruiters are scared to death of calling and recruiting passive candidates.  This is a big problem considering research from CompTIA shows that unemployment for America’s technology workers just hit the lowest number ever recorded in history at 1.3 percent in May.  

The reality is there are plenty of amazing candidates in the market place, many of which are not happy in their current job, or happy with their current project, manager and/or employer but would be happy to explore the right opportunity. But you already know this which begs the question:

If everyone knows IT unemployment is at an all time low, why are so few adjusting their sourcing and recruiting strategy?

Peeling Back The Onion, Why Recruiters Don't Recruit Passive Candidates

Having consulted with hundreds of staffing and recruiting firms and trained thousands of IT recruiters I've come to learn that there are three primary for reasons why recruiters fail to recruit passive candidates, and there is a cause and effect relationship between each.

1.) Lack of Training:  Very few staffing and recruiting firms provide recruiter training that teaches recruiters how to recruit passive candidates.  They may talk about it, but they don't teach it.  I'm talking about teaching recruiters things like:

  • How to build a call plan for calling a passive candidate
  • What to say and do to open a cold call to a passive candidate at their place of employment
  • How to quickly demonstrate credibility and build trust with a passive candidate
  • What to say in an email and voice mail to get passive candidates to respond
  • How to respond to common candidate objections

The reality is most recruiter training programs focus on how to search for candidates on the job boards, and how to enter candidates into an ATS or VMS portal, and how to submit candidates via the ATS or VMS portal, and how to format a resume and other recruiting SOP's.  Very few staffing firms have recruiter training programs that include soft skills training designed to develop and reinforce the necessary sales skills; the skills recruiters need to recruit passive candidates.   Without proper training recruiters never develop the self-confidence required for calling on and recruiting passive candidates.

2.) Recruiting Leaders Fail to Model the Desired Recruiting Behaviors: From my experience I have found that there is a direct correlation between the quality of the recruiter training deployed by a staffing and recruiting firm and their recruiting leadership. If an organization lacks quality training than they likely also lack leaders who can model the desired skills and behaviors.  

3.) Inability to Hold Recruiters Accountable to Recruit Passive Candidates:  When an organization lacks leaders who can't model the desired skills and behaviors (walk the walk, not just talk the talk) then it becomes impossible to teach those skills and behaviors let alone expect team members to execute them.  When that happens the organization can't set standards for what "good" looks and sounds like which also means team members can't be held accountable to executing those desired skills and behaviors.

For recruiters to be successful in a tight labor market and successfully recruit passive candidates they need to be taught the necessary skills and behaviors.  Because recruiting leaders can only take their people as far as they've been, they too must also possess these skills so that they can model what "good recruiting" looks and sounds in order to set expectations and standards.  Until recruiters are properly taught and have internalized the necessary skills to become 'conversation ready' for recruiting passive candidates, they will lack the self confidence to consistently engage passive candidates.  

To learn more about sourcing, screening and qualifying IT candidates, download our eBook, Executing the Candidate Interview, Five Pillars to Effective Qualification.

Executing Candidate Interviews for Effective Qualification

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