The WSJ ran a piece yesterday on ‘unadvertised jobs’ as if this was news or a newly discovered sinister plot.
On any given month, we might place a quarter of our candidates in roles that were not posted. There’s a number of reasons why a job might not be posted and I’ll be the first to say that posting jobs is a laborious screening task where you are literally screening out chefs who applied for a CIO role and who knows what else.
There may be legitimate reasons for posting a job– you may need to do so because of a contractual obligation, the article cites federal grants. Or because your employee base thinks there’s too much nepotism or an ‘old boy network’ at play. Or because you just don’t know people in a newly opened market.
But doing so because HR thinks that’s a good policy is a dated approach that should be reconsidered.
We generally work on four types of unadvertised searches:
- Confidential. This generally means that the incumbent is leaving, or a new role is being created, but the company isn’t ready to disclose this. Could be the person is retiring, taking some time off, going to another job, has an illness or, of course, isn’t performing. Could be that a new initiative is being launched. Keep in mind one of the best competitive intelligence techniques is to review your competitors job postings.
- Pipeline Recruiting. The scenario here is a very limited talent base where the company has a ‘perpetual’ need for a certain, very precise and special skill. In this case, we may be ‘trolling’ for a particular skillset all year long, and do not want to entertain ‘everyone’ who applies.
- The Network Hire. There’s simply nothing better than hiring someone you know. If they worked for you before, you know their strengths, their warts, their ambitions. In that case, why pretend that others have a shot when you know you want to bring in your former Rock Star.
- The Surgical Hire. We ‘headhunt’ for a very precise skillset and aren’t open to looking at a wide range of contenders. There may be a hundred people in the country who qualify for the role and we approach them.
Today’s world is more competitive than ever. Moving decisively and quickly on talent with a targeted approach separates the winners from the losers.