Does finding your perfect hire feel a bit like a “Where’s Waldo” search? You’re not alone. With unemployment rates at rock bottom levels, most top talent is gainfully employed and not looking for new opportunities. Demand for new hires with technical skills, like internal auditing expertise, budget forecasting, and SEC/financial reporting compliance, is only growing, creating a supply-demand mismatch. Reluctant to compromise on requirements and determined to find that one perfect employee, hiring managers are at an impasse.

Whether you like this challenge of searching for Waldo, finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, or uncovering a diamond in the rough, you can’t rely on a “business as usual” approach to get the job done. And while a recruiter can be a valuable ally in the search process, we can’t create a perfect hire out of thin air. A little flexibility and willingness to consider outside the box candidates can help you uncover your Waldo. Here’s how:

Communicate. I recommend an intake call with your recruiter to discuss your hiring needs in full. This includes evaluating your company’s current market position, emerging threats and opportunities, and growth goals over the next two to five years. When I understand where your company is headed, I can communicate a compelling story to qualified candidates. I pitch them not just on the open position but also the opportunity to make a major impact on a company’s future, an exciting prospect that can pique a candidate’s interest and help your business stand out.

Prioritize. If you list ten critical requirements and I find a candidate with eight out of the ten, this candidate could still be a winner– assuming all the requirements are of equal importance. Of course, if the two missing requirements were also your two deal breakers, I’d know immediately that the candidate was not right. Try as we might, recruiters can’t read minds. Be clear about deal breakers up front so we can prioritize accordingly during our search.

Be open. As you prioritize your preferred skills, consider which of these skills can be taught through on-the-job experience. With low unemployment, stay realistic about what’s possible in the current market. You may not find a candidate who ticks every box, but if the candidate is eager to learn and takes initiative, some extra training upfront may pay dividends for years to come.

Commit. I get it: with the cost of a bad hire topping $240,000, no one wants to make the wrong call. But if you spend all your time debating which candidate to hire, your top choices will move on to other opportunities. Remember, candidates are fielding multiple offers. If you interview a perfect hire, be prepared to make a competitive offer as soon as possible. Your recruiter can work behind the scenes to understand a candidate’s salary expectations and ensure the offer you make is one they’re excited to accept.

Finding your Waldo in a tight talent market is possible but do your homework in advance. When all stakeholders align to the same hiring requirements and timeline, your recruiter can move quickly to identify talent and break through the hiring impasse.

Authored by: Debra Johnson