Recruiting Blog

Overcoming Technical Recruiting Problems: Case Study Part 2

technical and engineering recruitment is getting more and more difficult

2nd part of 3 part article on improving technical recruiting

As I shared last week in part one, this is a case study on both how to and how not to fill your employment vacancies. It is based upon a recent technical recruiting assignment with a major food technology company near Cincinnati, Ohio. It is instructive as staffing lesson not only for technical jobs, but also any type of job opening. In this second installment of three, I will show you how I got control over an out of control recruiting process.

Multiple Recruitment Agencies: A Major Cautionary Signal

As I shared last week, my client was seeking a combination Senior Scientist and Lab Director for their Research and Development laboratory.  Unfortunately, they never previously shared unsuccessfully employing 12 other recruitment companies before approaching me!

The caveat is more is not always better in recruiting. Especially in either technical recruiting or engineering recruiting, where we are currently in a war for key technical and engineering talent. As a result, quality is preferred over quantity. Additionally, scarce technical and engineering candidates become alarmed when multiple recruiters approach them for the same job. This leads to them to not even considering moving forward with the interviewing process. As a result, your staffing vacancies remain unfilled!

Needed To Quickly Get Control Over The Recruitment Process To Ensure Technical Recruiting Success!

As a lesson to both internal recruitment teams and outside executive recruiters, it is imperative that the internal or external staffing function you chose is respected and adhered to by your management team. As part of this, the recruitment professional may need to quickly get control over the client and the recruitment process.

In my case, I needed to draw a line in the sand on three occasions (and be willing to walk away from the search) to ensure that this technical recruiting assignment yielded the best possible technical talent in the least amount of time.

Line In the Sand Number One: Must Be An Exclusive, Retained Search!

Before we started this recruiting assignment, the client erroneously believed that more recruiters are better. This guided their misconception about employment of 12 previous recruiters and posted multiple advertisements. As a result, they wanted to again employ multiple recruiters and put all of them on a contingency recruitment arrangement in hopes that one staffing option would succeed in filling their job.

Once I learned that 12 other technical and R&D recruiters were previously used and none succeeded, I knew that I had to either: a) walk away from this technical recruiting assignment or b) demand an exclusive, retained recruitment arrangement. Initially, the employer balked, but when they saw I was going to walk away, they agreed.

Line In the Sand Number Two: Must Meet Key Executives Of The Company!

At first the president, top management, the direct hiring manager and key staffing personnel didn’t want to meet me. As a result, I needed to sell them on the relative merits to more quickly filling their key technical job with the best possible talent for their needs. Additionally, I had to once again threaten to walk away from the recruiting assignment to show them that I was serious. Though I was not able to get them to agree to meet all of the key management face-to-face, we compromised with video chat with their two key decision makers.

Though not as optimal as an in person interview of the key executives, I gained a lot of valuable information that helped me succeed during the recruitment process. The key is Information Is Power in recruiting especially technical recruiting and engineering recruiting. Therefore, the more information you can gather, the better job you can do surfacing Grade A talent during your technical or engineering recruitment process.

Line In the Sand Number Three: Must See The Recruitment Workplace!

The third and final hurdle I had to overcome was convincing the client to fly me in to see their facility. Once again I had to sell top management on the relative merits of such a trip.

Related to the second point, the more information you can gather during a search, the better job you can do quickly uncovering prime technical and engineering talent for your client.

The Result Was Quickly Filling This Technical Job With A Top Passive Candidate!

As you will learn in next week’s final installment, I was able to quickly uncover someone who was not actively looking for a new job. Additionally, related to the second point, the additional information I was able to gather helped me to convince this candidate to turn from initially not being interested in the job opportunity into being a viable candidate, eventually being hired and doing a great job so far!

Top Technical recruiter and Engineering Recruiter



1 Comment

Margi Marsh

September 12, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Hi Steve,

This is great. I had never thought about going to retainer for specific searches. I enjoy your insights and am looking forward to your 3rd installment. I do have some questions for you.

How did you know what to charge, time frames, etc. for the retainer?
How did you sell them on paying for your visit?

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