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Performance-based recruiting: how to hire the best candidate every time

By ZoomInsights staff

Adler spoke about the topic during a webinar hosted by ZoomInfo (check out the recording here).

According to Adler, in order to consistently hire top candidates, two things need to happen. First, companies need to believe it’s possible and provide the resources to make it happen. Then recruiters need to execute the plan – the system for hiring top talent – every day.

Look beyond the “active pool”

There is a pool of candidates who are actively looking for new jobs. “The active pool is overworked,” said Adler. He added that the active pool doesn’t always contain the best candidates. This means recruiters need to go above and beyond to bring in more tentative candidates, such as “tiptoers” – people who are reaching out to their networks to see what might be out there but are not ready to apply for a position – and even completely passive candidates.

“An active person is a candidate; wants to apply. A passive person, they want to talk,” said Adler. In order to entice a “tiptoer,” Adler said recruiters need to have “a better job than what [the candidate currently has] got.” To reach an “explorer” – someone who is not looking at all but would take a call from a recruiter – you will need to be able to offer a “career move.” But to reach a truly passive candidate, recruiters will need to be prepared to “offer them the sun and the moon.”

Just getting a passive recruit to agree to talk about the possibility of applying for a new job can be a long process involving multiple phone calls. Social media tools can sometimes play a role in helping this process along. “Web 2.0 can nurture passive candidates along the pipeline,” said Adler. By simply familiarizing your potential candidates with your company, a social media presence can help recruiters find those hard-to-reach candidates who are not necessarily looking to change jobs.

The recruiter circle of excellence
Description: photo
“I created the Circle of Excellence to suggest recruiters need to up their game,” said Adler. With 12 elements in the circle, from being able to accurately assess talent to being a social media “maven,” there is one core competency Adler feels is most important to great recruiting: knowledge of the job and getting the word out to people. “If they don’t know the job, they cannot recruit passive candidates,” Adler said. He also has other tips for recruiting success.

Some ways to win

If you have what Adler calls a “big brass brand,” many times your job will be easier. “There’s an assumption when you have a big employer band that there’s good jobs behind it,” Adler said. But most recruiters aren’t working with those companies. Being proactive is also a key piece of the puzzle. Adler urges companies to plan ahead, rather than starting to look when you’ve got an urgent opening. A proactive employee referral program is part of that strategy. Getting your employees to reach out to their contacts and help your recruiters find those great candidates who aren’t actively looking is a key part of hiring the best and brightest.

Ultimately, finding the best candidates is not always about the latest technology, though it helps. It’s about defining a process that not only works but is also repeatable.

For a more in-depth look at building a performance-based recruiting process, check out Adler’s webinar for ZoomInfo’s audience.


ZoomInfo Pro is a great tool for finding excellent candidates who aren’t even thinking of changing jobs. Learn more.