In an economy where unemployment is at its lowest rate since the 1970s, finding great candidates is getting harder.
But by taking the time to get to know candidates and look beyond their CV, it’s possible to find people who may not be an obvious choice but who do have the skills and attitude you’re looking for.
We call these candidates, ‘hidden gems’ and we have plenty of experience in finding them!
What is a Hidden Gem?
Our ‘hidden gems’ are candidates who don’t, at first glance, tick all the boxes or meet all the on-paper requirements, but when we get to know and learn more about them, we find that they could be a great fit for some of our clients.
Cathy is one of our hidden gems who was overlooked by other agencies. Due to family circumstances, Cathy had been out of work for some time. She lost confidence after being rejected by other recruitment agencies for her lack of recent experience.
We took the time to get to know Cathy and worked with her to help boost her confidence.
As we’re also committed to understanding our client’s ethos and values, we knew immediately that she would be a great fit for one company in particular.
Cathy excelled in her temporary position as a part-time receptionist and when nominated by her employer, she won the Temp of the Month Award!
See career gaps as a positive not a negative
Employers often frown upon career breaks or long periods out of work, and when a CV has glaring gaps on the date front, it can be tempting to dismiss them straight away.
But to find the gems, we consider career breaks in a different light and take the time to get to understand the story behind their CV before writing a candidate off.
Someone who has taken a career break has potential advantages including:
- Time out to go travelling can develop a range of life skills including a confident demeanour and the ability to adapt to unfamiliar environments
- A career break to raise a family shows commitment and dedication
- Being made redundant and waiting to find the right position shows gravitas and someone who does not make decisions lightly
- Undertaking temporary or volunteer work in any sector shows a strong work ethic.
Over-qualified should not mean out of the running
A candidate may have had a high-powered job in the past, but it doesn't mean they are looking for the same position in the future. If a CV hits your desk for a part-time role, or a position that is way beneath someone’s previous pay-grade, consider the potential reasons for this.
Many well-paid, highly-qualified individuals decide that their work-life balance is more important that the number on their pay cheque. These are real hidden gems, as they can bring serious skills and high-level experience to a business without demanding hefty wages or positions of power.
We first met Paul when he was in a senior role for one of our clients, so we were his first stop when his company relocated and he started looking for a new job. He decided his new role should be better suited to his ideal work-life balance. Once we knew he was available, we didn’t even wait for a suitable job to come in, we proactively found him one!
Because we know our clients really well, we decided to speculatively present Paul to one in particular even though a position wasn’t currently on offer and on paper he was over-qualified for a role as a supply chain supervisor in manufacturing and distribution.
It turned out to be a great match for Paul’s needs and our client jumped at the chance of having someone with Paul’s vast experience and expertise on the team - a win-win result!
Mature members of staff are a welcome resource
All too often it is easy to assume that lower-paid positions are only attractive to younger workers at the beginning of their career. However, more mature candidates may be looking for roles that better suit the work-life balance they are looking for and may value that over pay-rates.
Look outside your area
Many candidates will be prepared to take on long commutes or even relocate completely if the position is right for them. It’s important not to assume that a candidate’s location make them unsuitable for the position.
Consider company culture and brand
Sometimes the best fit is not the candidate with the most relevant experience, but instead the one with a passion for the job, eminently transferable skills and a personality that’s a great fit with the company’s culture and ethos.
Don’t dismiss candidates who don’t tick all the boxes at first glance, hidden gems need to be sought out and could be just waiting to be found!
If you don’t have the time to hunt for and find candidates who are hidden gems please get in touch, we’ll be very happy to help.
For more Recruiter Advice and tips, follow us on LinkedIn and download our short guide for recruiters, How to Create an Awesome Candidate Experience.