Colorado’s unemployment rate just hit a 16-year low, dropping to 2.9 percent. That’s great news for job seekers who are receiving multiple, competitive offers, but not great news for companies struggling to source talent in this tight marketplace. The majority of Denver’s top talent is happily employed and not looking to switch jobs. This is creating a mismatch between market needs and availability: companies still need qualified applicants but traditional methods like job boards aren’t yielding the right people.

Yes, posting on job boards can still generate hundreds or even thousands of applicants. However, many of these applicants lack the necessary skills or experience and are not the right candidates for this position. Companies end up investing significant time and money reviewing this flood of applications, only to realize just how wide and shallow the active job seeker pool actually is. Posting an opening to job boards can generate great traction, but is unlikely to yield top tier applicants or real talent.

Companies seeking top talent in a competitive marketplace need to tap into a network of passive job seekers. These are individuals who are not actively looking for a new position but if the right person presented the right opportunity, these individuals might be willing to switch companies. As an Executive Search Consultant, that’s my job: I identify the right talent within my passive candidate network, I get talent excited about this new opportunity, and I minimize the risk for counter-offers.

Here’s how specialized executive recruiters like myself are helping companies in Denver’s competitive talent market:

Identify. Specialized recruiters work with a large passive candidate network of successful professionals. This network is already in place so recruiters like myself are not building it from scratch. We’ve worked with this talent over the years, understand their needs and motivations, and already have strong relationships in place. When a hiring manager approaches us with a specific talent need, we’re able to tap into our passive candidate network and immediately present a curated list of the most qualified individuals.

Sell. Successful recruiters do more than just identify talent: they know exactly how to get this talent excited about a new job opportunity. Thanks to our long-term relationships, we know exactly what motivates candidates to consider new career opportunities. We know which individuals are interested in more flexible work hours, want to learn a new skill set, or are motivated to work for a certain high-performing manager or company. We’ll frame the new opportunity accordingly so these individuals are curious and eager to learn more.

Close. With the unemployment rate so low, Denver’s companies are working extra hard to hold onto their talent. This creates two challenging scenarios. First, top talent knows their value to their current company and sometimes will pursue other opportunities in hopes of receiving a favorable counter offer. These individuals never intend to switch jobs. However, they lead on a hiring manager as if they will leave, causing your company to invest significant time and resources in recruiting someone who will never accept your offer.

In some cases, a second scenario will occur: the candidate truly does intend to accept your offer, but when her company counter offers, she decides to stay. Either way, you lose out on talent after going through an exhaustive recruitment process. By working closely with the candidate throughout the process, recruiters can reduce the likelihood of either counter-offer scenario. We’re experts at identifying “red flags” that signal a candidate is more interested in leveraging the offer for a higher salary, rather than pursuing a new professional opportunity.

Is your company experiencing challenges sourcing expert talent? To learn more about best practices for Denver’s competitive market, contact me at