Ooqio Spotlight: Recruiting in an Applicant’s Market with Business Talent Solutions

Dana Clemens Business Talent SolutionsThis week’s Ooqio Spotlight subject is Dana Clemens, principal and senior recruiter of Seattle-based employment agency Business Talent Solutions. Clemens has more than two decades of experience in recruiting and corporate training and leads her highly skilled team to deliver expertly selected candidates to meet her clients’ needs.

In such a competitive marketplace, one of the biggest challenges for hiring managers is scooping up great candidates before they’re snagged by someone else. But you rarely have this problem. Why?

We move lightning fast. As soon as we get a standout resume, we’re on the phone with the candidate within the hour—24 hours max. I have 20 to 30 resumes on my desk right now and I’ll go through them immediately. That’s our bread and butter.

That obviously means you have a sixth sense for stellar candidates since you can pick them out so quickly. What makes a candidate stand out to you?

Longevity. We work exclusively with long-term candidates—people who are looking for a permanent job rather than a temporary position—so a stable track record is key.

It’s easy to spot someone who’s hopped around from job to job, spending six months here, three months there. We know immediately that’s not going to be a fit for us.

They also have to have the right types of backgrounds on their resume. Our primary areas of focus at Business Talent Solutions are operations, administrative and accounting positions. So, if the person’s resume is filled with work experience that doesn’t relate to our market, they might be great at what they do, but they’re not going to be a fit for our clients’ needs.

So it’s almost like matchmaking; a candidate not only has to be awesome at what they do, there’s also a set of expectations on the client’s side that they must meet.

Yes, our clients’ needs are front and center.

Our most important goal is to understand what they’re looking for, and it also goes the other way as well. We have to understand what the applicant wants out of a position, because the last thing we want is to send someone on an interview and he receives and offer and then turns it down. It has to be a perfect fit on both sides.

Business Talent Solutions team

The Business Talent Solutions team

Makes sense. Do you ever tell a client, “I’m sorry but we can’t help you.”?

Absolutely. Being selective is what allows us to excel at what we do.

We’ve been in this market for 20 years. We know it inside and out. It’s an applicant’s market, so companies have to move quickly if they want to hire the best.

If we know that a company has a notoriously slow hiring process—for example there are tons of hoops to jump through and processes involved—we must help educate our employers so that they do not lose good applicants unnecessarily.

Managing expectations is so important. It’s something we talk a lot about on a personal level when it comes to happiness at a job, like considering “what if’s.” What if I were offered twice my salary somewhere else. Would I go? That sort of thing.

We use a similar process for our passive candidates—those who aren’t actively job seeking, but are interested in opportunities for advancement.

We use a thorough screening process to assess their expectations: what would it take for them to stay in their current role? What are they looking for in a position elsewhere? Are they serious about potentially making a career move? All of these are important questions to ask.

So let’s talk about the future. What are you looking ahead to in 2017?

We’re excited about our online avenues, like our social media channels, SEO efforts for our website and our blog (which is awesome, by the way. Read it here). We’re putting out fresh content every two to three days and our audience is responding really well.

We’re also receiving a growing number of referrals via online channels like Facebook and Yelp, particularly among college graduates. It’s a wonderful review and referral tool for us, so we’re excited to seeing that grow.

You can visit the Business Talent Solutions blog here, and check them out on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The team at Business Talent Solutions has specialized in permanent direct hire placement for the Puget Sound region since the early 1990s. For more information, visit BusinessTalentSolutions.com.

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