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Hiring Mistake # 2

Using a Surplus Hiring Strategy when a Surplus of Talent Doesn’t Exist

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Mistake #1

Mistake #2

Mistake #3

Do you know what your hiring strategy is?

I’m not talking about the tactics you use, but the strategy required to identify, attract and close the best talent. 

Most companies unwittingly adopt a surplus strategy because it’s easy.  The logic goes like this

  • There is a lot of good talent out there  - A surplus!

  • We’ll just place an ad on LinkedIn or Indeed.

  • All we have to do is gather a lot of relevant resumes and weed out the weak. 

  • We’ll then be left with the good ones and can choose the best of those who apply.


If you happen to have a globally recognized brand like Google, Amazon and Facebook or if there truly is a surplus of great talent – this approach might work.  However, if there isn’t a surplus, this strategy is fatally flawed. 

In our live workshop, I ask participants to write on the white board all of the positions they are currently trying to fill.  Then I ask them a simple question, “Is there a surplus of top talent for these types of positions in your market?  Are the streets literally filled with fantastic software developers, sales people, teachers, finance people, or customer service people AND nobody wants or needs them so the demand is low? 

OR, are we in the fight for our life to get our unfair share of the best people?   The answer is almost always a resounding NO!

If a scarcity of talent exists – the process to attract that talent has to change.  The surplus talent strategy will NEVER produce top talent in a talent scarce market place. A talent scarcity strategy recognizes the following key assumptions:

  • The best talent is ALWAYS in short supply

  • The best candidates are fully employed and not looking for a job

  • Most of the best talent won’t see my job ad, so I have to proactively seek that talent out using multiple sourcing channels.

  • Top talent must be targeted, recruited and convinced that the job is a true career move.


These assumptions change the entire face of the recruiting process.   





To figure out if you have a talent surplus or talent scarcity hiring strategy you need to evaluate the following:

  1. First, for each of your evergreen positions you need to determine if there is a talent surplus or a talent shortage.  You can do this by simply searching for the number of jobs posted (of that type and in your geographical area) compared to the number of candidates you can find on LinkedIn in the same geography.  If the ratio of candidates to jobs isn’t 6:1, you’re in a talent scarcity market.

  2. Research where your best candidates come from?  (Hint – if your primary source of candidates is people who apply to a job posting – you’re using a surplus strategy.)

  3. What’s the mix of candidates interviewed?  (This is tougher to figure out if you don’t have the metrics.  We use a 40/40/20 sourcing approach.  40% of finalists should come from networking,  40% from direct marketing and employee referrals, and only 20% from ads.  This is the right sourcing mix to support a scarcity strategy.) 


Getting to the bottom of this issue is the first step to understanding how to fix it.  This is what we cover in our Performance-based Hiring course. 

Are you ready to take action now? Fix all your hiring challenges in a Performance-based Hiring Workshop.

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Does your company have more than 500 employees or 10 recruiters?

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