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Searching For Unicorns

Searching For Unicorns

14 Jul by OnTalent

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It’s fair to say that some roles are a little easier to hire for than others. As a people leader, you’ll appreciate that it’s typically easier to find a capable Administrative Assistant than it is to find a new executive with exposure to your specific industry and experience with transformation projects. That’s where my team come in. When I describe my job as being a ‘Unicorn Hunter’, it usually raises a few eyebrows, but that’s essentially the role I play as Search & Engagement Partner at OnTalent. As a Strategic Sourcing Specialist, I lead a team to source and engage top talent for hard-to-fill roles, searching far and wide to find the best person for the job.

This is different to your traditional recruitment model of posting advertisements and then wading through applicants, trying to find ’the one’. We are the hunters, the seekers, the people that turn over the rocks to find the people you weren’t sure existed. We take the hope out of a job search and put in a method, a means and an ability to discover, attract and ultimately hire a stellar candidate.

Engaging a team like ours, whilst not unusual, can be really advantageous for a business which needs specific skill sets that can add significant value.

The Difficulty in Finding People

Finding people is easy. I know it contradicts the heading above. But it really is. They’re everywhere. Finding the right people however, with the right skills, the right requirements and the right cultural, financial and motivational fit is a different story. As roles become more senior, there is an expectation for candidates to possess skills that are often not apparent on profiles, such as executive level communication, team building, strategic and negotiation skills. Assessing the talent you’ve identified, attracting them to your role, and converting them to an active and interested party requires certain qualities, including empathy, conviction, persistence and strength to get the job done.

Understanding Your Requirements

People often use the “spray and pray” analogy to describe the recruitment industry, alluding to the fact that Recruiters approach as many people as possible that may be suitable for the role and hope with blind faith that we somehow stumble across the right candidate and are lucky enough to recognise it.

This is not the case at OnTalent, our structured and refined searching capability and mature sourcing techniques means we only approach a very targeted list for any one role. This enables us to develop increased personal connection and engagement with your future talent.

We cannot forget that whilst finding people is difficult, it is only the first step. Engaging with someone who doesn’t know you or the company, or share your passion for the role requires careful planning and consideration.

At executive level, confidentiality is of utmost importance and we ensure our integrity in this regard is always maintained. In fact, this is an area we pride ourselves on at OnTalent. We don’t send unsolicited InMails to people via LinkedIn, but construct a carefully thought-out strategy of the best way to approach each individual, including carefully crafted communication, whether it be via electronic forms or the telephone. This has resulted in OnTalent achieving a significantly higher than average response rate when contacting prospect candidates. We had a recent assignment where every single executive who was requested for interview by the client had been actively sourced by the Unicorn Hunting team, rather than responses to the job advertisement.

Value Add

With any business the most important aspect is adding value to your clients.

Whilst we believe finding the best candidate after exhausting the market from both sides (passive and active candidates) is essential, at OnTalent we take this one step further. In addition, as part of our strategic search, we like to provide our clients with an in-depth “talent map”. This is a valuable piece of intellectual property, which we are able to supply as an independent party to the client without bias. A typical “talent map” will showcase things like:

  • Market trends and analysis
  • Which candidates are in the market and where they are to be found
  • Competitor analysis, who is growing or shrinking and winning or losing big bids
  • Brand awareness, how the market perceives your organisation or people within it
  • Salary or rate awareness (including other non-monetary perks), are you competitive or paying under market rate?

We do this work and hand it over, our clients own the Intellectual Property. This allows us to consult properly to an organisation, to talk bluntly about the role, the challenges you may have attracting or even retaining staff and offer ideas to assist with any issues. Knowledge is power, we want to give our clients the power to know the market truth about themselves and then use that for future success.

Final Thoughts

Sure, there are many rabbit holes to search through and rocks to turn over, but our expertise, experience and technology means our team averages 30 days from accepting the client brief to the offer being given and sent, and we have a 100% fill rate on all retained assignments.

For a role that is hard to fill or imperative to the success of your organisation, utilising the services of an experienced Unicorn Hunter is something that should be seriously considered. To get a total map of the market and the talent available (or soon to be available) ensures the best person for the job to be considered. It is a specialist skill that not everyone can do.

If this is a service that sounds interesting, but you are not sure about how it will work alongside your current hiring arrangements, feel free to call the Unicorn Hunters here at OnTalent; we love talking about Headhunting and showing how it is the best option for a more holistic, universal search for your future talent.


 By Courtney Chambers