Think laterally to identify top talent


In an ideal world, employers recruiting for a new role would have the pick of the talented professionals and be able to select the ideal candidate every time. However, the reality can be rather different. There’s often a compromise to make about the skills, experience or qualifications of someone you’re hiring. But are there ways to make sure you don’t miss out on someone who could turn out to be an ideal fit with your company? We believe so…but it may involve some lateral thinking. 

Why does it matter?

We’ve noticed that when there’s a skills shortage, employers can sometimes miss out on talented professionals because they’re not flexible enough in their approach. It’s obviously helpful to screen job seekers and to put them through an effective selection and interview process. But if your criteria are too rigid, you may miss out on professionals who could add real value to your organisation. 

We surveyed 500 job seekers and over 700 HR personnel and hiring managers to find out more about what organisations look for in an ideal candidate and to see if a small shift in thinking could improve their chances of successfully recruiting the right person for the job. 

Our recommendations:

Be honest about the qualities needed

To increase your chances of finding and securing top performers, it’s important to be honest about what you’re looking for when you’re recruiting for a particular role. Once you’ve done that, the next step is to make sure that you are genuinely assessing job seekers based on the attributes that you believe are the most important.

This is essential if you’ve identified that attitude and potential are the most important attributes. In our survey, 62% of employers said they would hire a job seeker with great potential but not the right experience, while 73% said that attitude and/or soft skills would give one professional the edge over another who had similar levels of experience and qualifications. 

It’s understandable that you might be tempted to select those job seekers with CVs that exactly match your skills requirements – but that could mean you select a job seeker who is the strongest on paper but not necessarily the best suited to the role. 

Be flexible with your requirements 

It’s important to have a clearly defined job description, but you should also be able to be flexible about the skills that you need the professional to have now and those that can be developed once he or she is in the role. 

The ideal candidate doesn’t need to have all the skills from day one. And the more senior the role, the more flexible employers should be, as once a professional has reached a certain level, their basic technical skills should be a given. Instead, focus on the job seeker’s interpersonal skills, attitude and fit with your company. 

If a professional doesn’t have prior experience in the relevant industry, this could be an advantage as they could bring fresh ideas and processes to your organisation.

Trust your recruitment consultancy 

If you’re using a recruitment consultancy, you need to feel 100% confident in them and be willing to trust their recommendations. The most productive relationships (for our clients and ourselves) are those where we’re viewed as a business partnership and not just a supplier. 

The more we know about your business, its culture and what you want to achieve and the closer we’re able to work together, the easier it is for our consultants to offer high quality, tailored recruitment solution. 

Our professional recruitment consultants have a thorough understanding of the markets in which they operate and have exposure to a range of job seekers, which means they can spot potential talent for specific roles. So if you’re able to work closely with us, we can help you increase your chances of securing professionals who will develop into top performers.

Recruit for the career, not the job

For top performers to thrive in and remain loyal to an organisation, they need to have room to develop within the role they are being recruited for. So before you start the recruitment process, it’s important to consider and work out how you can provide potential career paths for the professional you’re recruiting. 

When we carried out research last year many professionals told us that the opportunity for career progression was a key consideration when changing roles, and a key contributor to job satisfaction. Therefore if you can ensure that the professional you hire has room to grow you will increase your chances of securing top talent for your organisation and will also improve your retention rates.

Read our full whitepaper. 

For more hiring advice, contact us.


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