How to Recruit Top Talent When They’re Not Looking for a Career Move


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There’s a shortage of top talent around the globe, and the hunt for candidates is keeping CEOs up at night. In PwC’s 2017 global CEO survey, 77% of CEOs said they see the availability of key skills as the biggest threat to their business. Considering today’s disruptive business world, it’s never been more important to employ exceptional people who can navigate through and thrive within this ever-changing climate. The question is: how do you find them when they’re not looking?

Many organizations struggle to fill key leadership positions because the best and brightest typically aren’t seeking a career move. So, if you’re posting on platforms such as LinkedIn, your chances of finding the top one percent of talent are minimal. While junior and mid-level management roles may make sense for posting online, filling higher-up positions requires something vastly different than keyword searches and filters. It requires a distinctly human element: communication and connection with the talent.

High-tech tools and experiences do have a role to play in HR, but as other industries are finding as well, people still crave a human connection. For example, TD Bank is reinvesting in its branch network, according to a recent article in the Globe and Mail. The article stated that TD Bank noticed that digital tools can only do so much, and for some crucial interactions, nothing beats face-to-face meetings.

On top of wanting a human connection, many people are also experiencing “message fatigue” on platforms such as LinkedIn, particularly with regards to untargeted sales messages.

Given these factors, it’s increasingly important for HR professionals to make their new opportunities stand out. However, finding passive candidates isn’t easy for most organizations. Here are some key steps for recruitment success:


Start the Conversation

While A-level talent likely aren’t scanning job boards, they tend to be open to having conversations about new opportunities. At Bedford Consulting Group, we search for the top talent in any given industry, whether they’re in the job market or not. This way, we get to know their career goals and skill levels, and understand what they want and need from their employers.


Tell Your Story

For today’s top performers, compensation isn’t everything, so it will take more than a higher paycheque for them to consider a move. Company culture is critically important, and that’s not something you can convey in a job posting. As recruiters, we play a key role in communicating—up close and in person—why an organization is a great place to work.


Ask the Right Questions

Bedford has a high success rate for engaging A-level talent not currently seeking new opportunities. The secret to success? Asking the right questions. By doing so, we uncover not only their needs and motivations, but also elements of discord employees have in their current roles. We can then leverage this information and present new options that offer potential candidates what their current job isn’t providing.


Understand Why They Stay

In addition to discovering what would make top talent head for the exits, it’s important to find out why they stay. Most organizations have a general idea of why their overall employee population stays, but not as firm an understanding of why their top 1% stays. At Bedford Group, we employ a process called “Why Do You Stay” when interviewing high-performing employees to find out what keeps them at their current company. That information can then be used with potential top-tier candidates to convince them the company is a good one to join. If you understand why you’re retaining high performers, you can leverage the insights to attract more of them.


Build a Relationship

The competition to win over top talent will only intensify, so it’s critical to build and nurture relationships with candidates until the right opportunity opens up. This requires time, continual engagement and deep connections. When you have a strong relationship with the talent, chances are you can win them over with a new opportunity. At Bedford Group, we are trusted advisors to help guide people to the right opportunities with our clients.