How to Find Qualified Job Candidates

Finding Qualified Job CandidatesOne of the frustrating things recruiter experience is not finding qualified applicants.  An equally frustrating thing for qualified candidates is not getting their resume into the hands of a hiring manager.  Who is to blame for this situation?  In my opinion, the recruiter it to blame and the system or process they use to find candidates.

Most companies pass resumes through a series of filters.  Fine, the filters are designed to find that one gold nugget among hundreds and perhaps thousands of applicants.  However, what often happens is the filter produces more gold dust than gold nuggets.

The problem with electronic filters is they pan for candidates.  What’s wrong with that?  Well, if you really want to find gold, you need to locate a larger vein.  I know, the electronic filter is working overtime and now I want to add more.  No, that is not what I am suggesting.  Too often, recruiters are passive, waiting for the ideal candidate to land in their pan.

I find it ludicrous that recruiters can’t find qualified candidates.  The key word is “find.”  They have the best panning technology available but they still can’t find qualified candidates.  There must be at least one nugget among those thousands of resumes.  Electronic filters screen out more candidates than they screen in.  Think about that for a moment.  They screen out more candidates than they screen in.  Oh, that’s because those applicants are not qualified.  Really, I know many qualified applicants and you do too, that never made it past the first filter.  Is that a problem with their resume or the filter?  It could be both but I believe it is the filter.

It may be costly, unproductive, and anti-technology to have recruiters review every resume but how much is a gold nugget worth to the hiring organization.  As a senior human resource executive, my team and I combed through hundreds of resumes to find one or two candidates to hire for our executive training program.  These hires would be our future leaders.  The first time we did it we found four and hired them.  The next time we received even more resumes and we hired six.  Was this the best use of my time and my team?  That depends on how much a gold nugget is it worth to your organization.  Could an electronic system have helped?  Certainly, would we have hired the same number of nuggets?  I can honestly tell you we would have missed a couple.

There is a lesson here for job seekers as well.  Don’t send your resume down stream hoping it will land in the pan.  Make sure you use in your resume some of the key words and phrases contained in the employer’s description of the job and the qualifications they are seeking.  Remember gold weighs more than stones and other debris.  Translation, your resume needs to have some weight to it.

Tom Cairns has hired and promoted hundreds of executives and professionals. He is a career development and coaching specialist. He understands the job search process, knows how to create a compelling resume and build an effective network. He knows how to interview like a star and exploit internet resources. Tom is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Business Azusa Pacific University, former S VP HR NBC Universal and Presidential appointee as Chief Human Capital Office US Department Homeland Security. He has the ability to provide all you need to know to jump start or continue your career search. You may contact him via e-mail at Follow him on Twitter. His website and blog is:

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