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Talent Talk: To Recruit A-List Employees, Map the MarketTalent Talk: To Recruit A-List Employees, Map the Market

There is a mathematical component to finding top talent — let’s do the numbers.

Paul Sturgeon

November 15, 2021

2 Min Read
standout employee
Image: Panther Media Group/Alamy

Last week we discussed the first step in recruiting A-players — establishing a job scorecard. This week we move on to the next step — identifying the talent pool that most closely matches what you have laid out in the job scorecard.

Before I get to the specifics of how to do this, let me talk about the effectiveness of job postings in attracting top talent. A recent study by LinkedIn showed that 18% of all candidates are actively looking at any given time. That was pre-COVID, and while that number spiked briefly in some sectors, in today’s plastics manufacturing space I can assure you it is more like 10%.

Whatever the actual number of people who are actively looking, I think we can agree it will not be the all-star team. That means a job posting will not be very effective in attracting the person you want. Does that mean you shouldn’t try? Not necessarily, and for certain roles you may find some good people that way.

There is a mathematical component to finding top talent. The precise number can vary but typically you want to start with between 100 and 200 people. At my company we call it mapping the market. Using a variety of tools like your own network, LinkedIn, Boolean searching, and so on, you want to create a universe of the top 100 to 200 people who comprise the upper echelon of available talent for your specific role. There is an art to this — the goal is not perfection — but if you are very skilled at doing it, and diligent, you can identify around 90 to 95% or so of the top talent pool.

If you want an A-player, stick to this list. There are exceptions to everything, but this is the rule. Now you have your scorecard, you have your target candidate list, and the entire hiring team is on the same page. You are ready to start recruiting, which is where we will pick up next week.


paul-sturgeon-150.jpgAbout the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at [email protected].

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