In today’s competitive job market, acquiring the best talent can involve a long and drawn-out process often resulting in the employer settling for someone who may not be the best fit, or not finding the right candidate at all.

Online job sites have helped employers reach farther than ever, which has benefits and downsides. The benefit is you can reach more people for less cost and possibly attract a candidate you would not have found through traditional postings in newspapers. The downside is, because of the digital process, more people who are unqualified are able to apply for positions, flooding the applicant pool and creating more work for the employer.

There are ways to improve the talent acquisition process, especially for high-level positions that require a unique set of skills and abilities to be successful. Outsourcing your recruitment efforts to a firm that has knowledge of your field and experience recruiting top candidates can be a great way to streamline your talent acquisition process. Positions such as CEO, CFO, controller, general manager and others often require a depth and breadth of skills which the general applicant pool may not be able to fulfill. Additionally, in those high-level positions, cultural fit is just as important as the individual’s ability to perform. Leadership roles require a complementary set of personality traits to those within the organization that can not only collaborate well, but also add value and unique insights.

Finding the candidate who is the right fit both technically and culturally can seem overwhelming to the employer or hiring board attempting the process on their own. Outsourced agencies can help with the process from beginning to end. Ideally, the firm the employer chooses to partner with would provide the following step-by-step experience:

1. Developing the recruitment strategy including reviewing customized compensation market data for the industry in which the employer operates as well as the position for which they are hiring. A third-party data-backed perspective often provides employers with realistic expectations at the forefront, helping to alleviate tension between candidates and the employer down the line when offers are made.

2. Reviewing and revising the position description to ensure candidates met the client’s expectations. This is why it is key the employer find a firm that understands their business and their industry to know how to properly screen the applications to meet these established criteria. At this point, it is imperative the employer communicate their needs in terms of:

a. Education: What skills and certifications are necessary to be successful in this position, and what certifications are perhaps unnecessary provided the candidate has the right experience?

b. Depth and breadth of experience: What is the employer looking for in terms of skills and abilities, and how many years of experience are they expecting not only in the candidate’s field but also in the employer’s industry?

c. Demonstrated ability: Can the candidate show their skills and abilities with concrete examples of success that demonstrate their acumen?

d. Cultural fit: How will the ideal candidate fit into the culture of the organization and will the organization be able to adapt to an ideal candidate’s expectations if needed? Skills and abilities are crucial, but cultural fit and personality can make or break a hire.

3. Drafting the external job posting. Outsourced firms have a knowledge bank of information on successful job posting advertisements that have drawn the best and most ideal candidates. For employers who do not hire high-level positions often, they can be out of touch with what the market is looking for. The firm they partner with for recruitment can provide the here-and-now needs of the workforce to ensure they attract the best candidates.

4. Recruiting multiple active and passive candidates. The ability to reach out to passive candidates who may not be actively seeking a new position is a unique service an outsourced recruiter can bring to the table. Those who are truly in tune with the community and region know who the key players are and what they are looking for in their next adventure. They know the candidates’ skill sets and cultural personality and whether or not they would be a good fit for a new organization.

5. Screening candidates for qualifications and organizational/cultural fit. Once the applications have been submitted, the recruiting firm will use the established criteria to quickly weed out the unqualified candidates as well as provide insight on those who would be the best cultural fit for the organization. It can be difficult for an employer to know the candidate’s personality on paper, but the recruitment partner can give the employer an idea of the culture of the candidate’s current employer, if they are happy there, and if the new venture would be a good fit.

6. Identifying top candidates for face-to-face interviews. Once the applicants have been trimmed down, the recruiting firm will present the employer with what they believe, based on mutual expectations, and is the top list of candidates for the position. Having this short list allows the employer to spend more time meeting with the candidates, getting to know them, introducing them to other key players, and identifying the best fit for the position.

7. Drafting the offer to the top candidate. Once the top candidate has been determined by the employer, the recruiting firm can help them make an attractive offer to the candidate, keeping in mind the candidate’s expectations. A third-party firm can be especially helpful in this position because they can help the employer see the reality of the expectations of the current workforce and the value in providing the top candidate with the best possible package.

8. Performing background checks on the top candidate. For high-level positions especially, background checks can be a very important missed-step for employers going at the hiring process alone. A partner recruiting firm will ensure the proper background checks are performed and the final vetting process on the candidate is completed.

9. Sending rejection letters. Eliminating this step is a huge burden off employers’ shoulders as they can focus on working with the new hire and acclimating them to the organization. The partner firm will take care of sending out all rejection notices, following hiring best practices.

An outsourced recruitment engagement can significantly simplify and streamline the talent acquisition process for nearly any employer in any industry. Finding the right partner is key, as they can alleviate much of the burden and tedious tasks that come with making a new hire from the lowest level to the highest.

About the author

Natalie Hoffmann is the president of leading payroll service providers HK Payroll Services, Inc. (HKP) and partner at Honkamp Krueger & Co., P.C. (HK). With over 30 years of experience in her field, Natalie has written for several publications on the topics of business, accounting and payroll technologies.