Imagine that you have been charged with the responsibility to recruit team members for the next Olympic Games. If your goal is to find the best, most talented athletes in a particular country, would you rather be recruiting on behalf of China (population – 1.3 billion) or on behalf of Slovakia (population – 5.4 million)? Based on these 2012 population figures, China has 240 times more people than Slovakia so it should be no surprise that China returned home after the 2012 Summer Games with 88 medals compared to Slovakia’s one silver and three bronze.

The simple explanation for China’s markedly better result comes from the size of its talent pool – the bigger the pool the better the chance of finding top notch performers.

The search for senior level employees and employees to fill roles of strategic importance is no different than the analogy above; nor is the probable outcome.

Relying solely on candidates who respond to job ads omits a large pool of potential candidates who are not actively “looking”. Good candidates may come from your industry and general geographic area and may respond to your ad; however there are many potentially attractive candidates who are not be unhappy where they are and not motivated enough to constantly check for new positions, but they could be interested in a new opportunity – if only they knew about it.

In addition, it sometimes may be necessary to move outside of your immediate geographical area and perhaps outside of your industry to seek candidates who have the skills and experience that you are looking for. For that, you may need a different approach than the old “post and pray” method of years’ past.

Solution:
Be sure to supplement your recruiting advertising program with a direct calling program that gets at the pool of passive potential candidates. Include competitors, companies in similar industries and companies in industries that are dissimilar but have the job function which you need filled. Research tools such as industry directories and social networking sites are excellent resources for identifying contacts who might become candidates.

Undoubtedly this involved approach takes considerable time, effort and resilience but as a business owner or a senior manager with hiring authority you already know that the companies who put in the extra effort and focus on building a great team are more likely to be rewarded with improved business performance than those who leave their employees (often representing the single largest line item expense) to chance.

A single senior level hiring event which fails will, on average, cost a year of progress, recruitment and severance costs and have a negative impact on the organization’s goodwill as perceived by other employees, customers, shareholders and outside agencies. In financial terms, a fair estimate of the cost of replacing mis-hires is approximately two and a half times the person’s annual salary.

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