Last week at 11pm I was sitting on the floor in my bedroom surrounded by socks. Late night laundry. Observing the massive pile of socks that lay before me I carefully determined the best course of action; set aside each sock until the matching counterpart was located. Only then would the pair be placed back into the drawer with the others. Some socks were easily paired, mostly those with distinctive patterns or logos. Others were not so easily matched. The all white athletic socks ranged in size and thickness, their more ambiguous state, proved a more difficult task to pair. As I neared the bottom of the pile the less distinct socks remained singled out in the area surrounding the pile. In the interest of time and wanting to get to bed before midnight, I was tempted to hastily pair them up and toss them back into the drawer. Instead I decided to stay the course until each pair was found. I hate wearing socks that don’t match. It just doesn’t feel right. It nags at me the whole day. It occurred to me that recruiting is a lot like folding laundry. Some searches are clearly defined from the start with well defined expectations, desired skill set and market experience. These are the easily identified socks, are you tracking? Others are vague despite a hiring mangers best intentions. A position may have a range of expectations encompassing more than one role in the traditional sense. This is more common in a small to medium sized company. We refer to this as wearing multiple hats. Or, the skill set desired may only be found in a select few companies making the candidate pool small and more difficult to identify potential candidates. Sometimes hiring managers are not entirely sure of what they want. They may have a conceptual sense of what they’re looking for, an outline, but have not developed a holistic sense of the person they need and want to hire. In these situations it’s my job to help the hiring manager determine exactly what they want. This is where discernment becomes critical. Piecing together the qualifications and personality to determine the best possible match is less than scientific and more about instinct. In these scenarios it’s not until after the first or second candidate is interviewed that the hiring manager is able to more accurately pin point the aspects of each candidate that they liked, or didn’t like. They begin to gain a clearer picture for themselves. This type of search requires more time, thought and again, discernment in identifying potential matches for the role. A fast food culture, the culture in which we live, the demand for "now" is ever increasing. The recruiter eager to make a quick placement fee at the expense of “fit” loses. A poor fit hurts the hiring company and the candidate both in the short term and the long run. Executive search isn’t about “filling a seat” there are plenty of staffing agencies available to fill that need, should your company decide to take that approach. Instead, the successful recruiter will take the time, ask the right questions and give careful thought to finding the proper fit. A strategic, well developed, customized, proven process is key while instinct and discernment are equally as important. Nobody wants to wear mismatched socks. The right candidate is out there, stay the course, find the fit. Consider the socks.
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