4 Ways to Stop Wasting Time With the Wrong Candidates

Tired of wasting time with the wrong candidates while fiercely battling with the competition for top talent? Adopt these four techniques:

1. Focus on High-Probability Candidates

Like weak logs lying around in the forest, there are plenty of weak candidates in the market. Stay away from the lazy logs. There is a reason they are beating down your door – and they generally turn out to be underperformers.

Additionally, unless you're one of the top employers of choice in town and you exceed average selling and retention rates, don't spend too much time recruiting people who are the absolute best of the best – i.e., people who are on the way up within their own companies, have no reason to leave, have big egos, may not be team players, and could be difficult to manage. Instead, build relationships with these folks and leverage the relationships into resources. Ask these people for referrals. Primarily target the reasonable individuals who are not the classic job seekers but are great performers who have to be asked directly before they will consider another job. You have a higher probability of landing and retaining these candidates.

2. Identify Candidates' 'Career Chasms'

Prequalify candidates based on the gap between where they are now in their careers and where they would like to be in two years. You can identify where they want to be by using a short questionnaire or an interview. If the gap between where they are now and where they want to be won't be significantly filled by this job opportunity, pass on the candidate rather than disappoint them as an employee. Don't just throw an opportunity in front of a candidate before doing market research. You do it for customers – why not for candidates?

3. Spend Your Resources Where They Count

Develop a system to track your success rate in attracting and closing candidates. Based on your success rates of landing various levels of talent, allocate your time and budget resources toward the types of candidates you have the highest probability of landing.

4. Measure the Quality of Hire

Develop a system for measuring your quality of hire. Check to see which type of candidate performs best in each job. Use performance appraisals or rankings after six months and one year on the job to see which sources produces the best results.

Greg Ford, is the CEO and cofounder of TalentClickDr. John Sullivan is an author and HR strategist.