Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Stop! You’re Overlooking the Best Candidates in Your Talent Pool

“Some of the best candidates are not the most obvious hires because they’re hidden in plain sight.”

This is what Shally Steckerl from The Sourcing Institute shared when we asked him why some of the best candidates in your talent pool are often not the most obvious hires. His response takes a minute to digest.

What does “hidden in plain sight” really mean?

For most hiring experts, it means taking a step back and getting out of your own way. While the “perfect” candidates traditionally have the right amount of experience and skills, they may not be the best fit overall. Instead, hiring pros should fill their talent pool with people who fit into their tribe, as Steckerl puts it.

Go out and recruit the way you network in your personal life — find people you like. Look beyond the obvious job description skills and dig deeper into soft skills, future potential, and cultural fit. That is when you’ll start filling your talent pool with candidates worthy of your tribe.

Read on for the full transcript and all of Steckerl’s advice for finding your tribe and filling your talent pool: 

So, the question is, why do I think some of the best candidates are not the most obvious hires?

Look For Soft Skills

Well, I think some of the best candidates are not the most obvious hires because they’re hidden in plain sight. What I mean by that is, we very often overlook people in the talent pool who have macro commonalities that are similar to our needs and that meet our needs.

We focus too much on the very overt skills and other requirements that are in the description.

For example, the hiring manager says they want somebody who has the ability to do x, y, and z. We’re looking for those obvious keywords and presence on someone’s profile or resume. But, the reality is that, when hiring for experience, what someone has done in the past doesn’t necessarily predict that they’re going to be able to do it again in the future, in a different environment.

Focus On Future Potential

Keep in mind that what we are able to do in the future, doesn’t really have much to do with what we’ve done in the past. Some of the greatest paradigm shifts and discoveries have come from people who are outside of an industry.

For that reason, sometimes we need to find people who are talented but haven’t done exactly that job. However, they do have the potential of growing into that job. And, those are going to be much better hires than people that have already done it and may not necessarily be interested in doing it again.

Also, they might be looking at things from a very different angle and bringing new ideas to the same problems as before.

Find Their Tribe

The question is, how do recruiters uncover those hidden talents: people who are hidden in plain sight, so to speak?

Well, here’s my secret. Find the tribe and you find the talent. In other words, people like what they like — and like attracts like. So, just do as we do in real life.

In person, in flesh and blood, we tend to hang out online with people who share the same proclivities as we do. For example, in modern day social networking, you’re likely to identify with a particular group or even a type of social media platform and be more comfortable using it.

That’s why some folks are on Facebook, some are on Twitter, some are on Instagram, and some are on Pinterest. That’s also why there are so many different flavors. There’s not just one single flavor of social networking.

Nowadays, we have to first ask the question, where is the tribe? Then, we can go to that location rather than trying to attract the talent to come to us. We can go to where they are in their native habitat.

We must identify where they hang out — know for sure whether they’re on Twitter or Facebook or on LinkedIn or wherever. That’s how we can figure out how to source for our talent pool from that location and how to attract people on that location and talk to them in a way that they want to be spoken to.

Think About Macro Commonalities

To find the unobvious hires, we have to go back to those macro commonalities. Macro commonalities are, for example, people who have a certain affinity for say, problem-solving.

I’m a sourcer, I’ve been a sourcer for over 20 years. I know what it takes to be a sourcer and I like to do things that other sourcers also like to do. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to necessarily be doing the same job.

For example, you may know somebody who is very good at lateral thinking and problem solving and has a tenacious attitude, doesn’t give up, and will continue looking until they find something.

These people might have jobs like a librarian, a journalist, or an investigative journalist. And, these are people who have the skills inherently because of their aptitude to do the job of a sourcer even though they may not be doing it right now.

So, for me, I can find other sourcers for my talent pool in all kinds of other professions and train them on how to become sourcers because I know what it takes to do the job without necessarily having done it already.

We encourage you to connect with Shally on LinkedIn.

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.