Searching for the perfect hire can be a bit like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, especially if your company has a very specific or unique set of job requirements. As a Senior Partner and hospitality veteran, I’m no stranger to challenging job searches. Recently, a company approached me for help filling a highly specific position. Not only did they have a very clear idea of their required hire, but their commitment to satisfying every job requirement meant that near-perfect candidates had to be ruled out– making for an extremely challenging search process.
The company, which was opening a new branch of a popular global eatery, needed a candidate with multi-outlet experience including retail, fine dining, casual dining and private events– a fairly standard request for high-end eateries. Here’s where things became more challenging: the candidate also needed a genuine passion for all things Italian, including the country’s culture, food, wine and hospitality, and had to be either fluent in Italian or a native-born Italian.
Challenging? Absolutely. Impossible? Not in the least. Here’s how I fulfilled the company’s “impossible” wish list– and how specialized recruiters like myself can help your company do the same.
1. Listen. No hiring manager wants to be presented with a laundry list of “almost” acceptable candidates– I need to deliver that one candidate who is the right fit for my client’s needs. To do so, I start by asking the client detailed questions about the position and corporate culture. For my recent client, this consultative approach helped me fully understand the company’s reasoning for their job requirements, enabling me to refine my search process and zero in on a candidate with the right experience, passion, and outlook.
2. Identify. As a specialized executive recruiter and industry veteran, I work with a large passive candidate network. This includes top professionals who are not actively looking for a new position, so they won’t be found on job boards or LinkedIn hiring searches. However, should these passive candidates be contacted in regards to a new position, they might be willing to consider an interview– as long as they’re approached correctly.
3. Approach. Imagine receiving a call from a recruiter out of the blue: how would you respond? Part of your response hinges on whether you take the recruiter seriously. Does the recruiter speak the “industry lingo” and converse intelligently about industry trends? Candidates call me back even if they “never work with recruiters” because they trust my professional background. By staying at the forefront of industry developments, I know how to present career opportunities in a way that gets candidates curious and eager to learn more.
4. Vet. Vetting candidates is an exhaustive process that goes beyond simply verifying credentials. I take the time to understand a candidate’s thought processes, business approach and professional goals. I then assess whether this candidate will be the right fit for my client.
Part of my responsibility to my clients is to look beyond their immediate needs. In this challenging search, for example, I came across a second candidate who wasn’t quite ready for the top spot, but I knew could play an important supporting role. The client agreed and decided to bring that person on board, too.
Is your company experiencing challenges sourcing that “impossible” hire? Share your experience in the comments below.