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You Can Find the Talent You Need

We’re getting this question more frequently: “How is it that Standish finds the right people when good people are so hard to find?” Here’s the short answer: It’s because we know the market intimately.

We know that:

  • It is a candidates’ market. The economy is driving business growth and attendant hiring. The house of cards created by filling each opening drives another two-to-three turnovers in sequential back-fills. Add the extraordinary bubble of 10,000 daily retirees, and the competition to fill the burgeoning openings this has created, is staggering.

  • The talent pool is stressed. And there are business owners and leaders who, while running their companies, are also trying to counter the executive recruitment challenge on their own.

  • Building an internal talent bench to get ready to meet these needs could be the best solution. But that’s an expensive investment, and the talent needs are imminent so this process of patience is moot. This ship has sailed.

We know where the talent is hiding and how to engage them, even when faced with a shrinking talent pool to fill expanding job openings.

Here’s what we can tell you:

Active job seekers are the most receptive external audience as they are anxious for a change or they’re between jobs, but they constitute only about 20 percent of all potential candidates in any given category. As they cruise the various networking and job sites, they’re the people easiest to find. Still, there aren’t that many of them.

Passive job seekers aren’t making a new job a priority and they aren’t motivated enough to truly get into the hunt. They may be curious about alternatives but they’re generally satisfied with where they are. Compared to the active job seekers, this group is an even smaller subset of the population, estimated to be about 10 percent of the talent pool.

Trying to lure prospects from these two small groups alone would have us fishing in just 30 percent of the pond.

Non-Candidates make up 70 percent of potential prospects—the large majority that is generally uninterested in a job change, or in embracing the attendant uncertainties. Working to stay staffed with talented people has companies swimming against the tide of a historically tight labor market, while leaving 70 percent of the chance for success untouched.

This may help explain why good companies can’t find good people.

Standish Search employs a different model that can help you find the “un-findables.” We have a methodology that can find you the right candidates, even in a tight labor market. If you are in this situation, it’s definitely worth reaching out to me at


Stan Davis is the Founding Principal of Standish Executive Search, a New England-based firm that advises business owners, executives and boards who are positioning their companies for accelerated growth, change or succession.

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