Employing Contrary Logic to get “Mr. / Mrs. Right”

January 22nd, 2009 by The Imagination Factory

Gary Eastwood, Beck/Eastwood Recruitment Solutions, NPA 6770

One technique Beck/Eastwood has frequently employed as a best practice over the past 10 years has been to utilize contrary logic in order to pinpoint what exactly a client is looking to employ as a skill set for high level positions.

Huh? I know, it sounds bewildering. For us, it works like this:

When we take on a new assignment (we often work across the board in every discipline for our best clients) we ask for and receive the company published job description. This is one of the least helpful documents in talent acquisition in my humble opinion.

While reading through this totally generic document, typically, we scratch our heads; often we compare the duties, tasks and chores of other positions in the same organization and it appears most of these a. criteria b. duties c. expectations are virtually identical, whether a finance, operations, sales or IT executive is being sought.

So who will they actually hire? The fee and placement rest on successfully answering that question. How does the plucky recruiter get that information?

One way is to ask. Often, the hiring manager will attempt to answer that question. However, in our experience, there are very important chunks of info NOT included in their answers; which surface after the short list has been submitted, interviews have been set and much briefing / prepping time has been investedor wasted. Too often, the actual qualification of the job begins at this point, which by all rights should be the middle to tail end of the search.

Another way is to employ contrary logic. My approach is to explain that the Beck/Eastwood method is to beta test’ anywhere from one to three trial balloon resumes, based on the initial information, to test our understanding of what they’re looking to hire. It’s important for us to place the onus of misunderstanding on ourselves, so as not to alienate or second-guess the client.

The net result for us has overwhelmingly been one of two responses to our trial balloons; they either want to set interviews immediately, even though we informed them that we were not in contact with these individuals and would need to pursue them, as they aren’t active candidates for their job.

OR. . . . they inform us exactly how wrong our impression of what they were looking for was. Bingo! Exactly what we’d hoped for! By talking about real people’s real resumes, so often the nuggets of gold we needed to professionally qualify people for their job come rolling out with every narrative line on those beta test’ resume is reviewed.

When this process occurs before you’ve spoken to even one candidate prospect, imagine the time you’ll have saved everyone. You can safely disqualify all non-contenders, even if their resumes match the stated requirements, as laid out in that initial position description.

Offer, acceptance, invoice to follow. . . .

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