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Why you're not finding enough qualified candidates

We often hear from hiring authorities that they struggle to find qualified candidates. There are several possible causes and solutions to this problem:

Candidates gloss over your job post. The best talent probably isn’t sifting through the mounds of job posts on LinkedIn. They’re being approached by recruiters and selectively decide when to engage with a prospective employer.

You’re relying too heavily on LinkedIn. Some candidates don’t check their LinkedIn often, if at all. When they do, they often overlook messages from people they don’t know. Because Alt Protein Partners has a vast and deep network in the alternative protein space, we know many of the top talent personally and are almost always able to get warm introductions to potential candidates we’re interested in getting in touch with.

Your job post is boring. In our experience, something as simple as a compellingly written job opportunity can yield much more interest than one that reads like a checklist. A job post shouldn’t just be detailed, specific, and interesting, it should also sell your company and the opportunity to prospective candidates.  

There’s a disconnect between the hiring manager and the recruiter. It is paramount that the hiring manager and executive recruiter spend a substantial amount of time upfront aligning on the need and ideal candidate attributes, so as not to waste both parties’ time on irrelevant candidates.

Your recruiter is busy with other priorities. If your internal recruiting team is bogged down with other work and hiring is a priority, partner with an external search firm or put your search on hold until your team can dedicate their full attention to the search. Searches that drag on almost always result in a failure, and often tick off great candidates along the way. 

You’re working with an external recruiter that doesn’t fully understand your business. When the learning curve to understanding your business, the industry, or this particular role is too steep, external generalist recruiters may try to make up for their lack of understanding by inundating you with many candidates that sort of fit the job description, but aren’t exactly what you’re looking for. Moreover, they’ll continuously look to you for guidance rather than provide you with insights based on their experience in the market. 

Alt Protein Partners was established to be an expert in hiring executives in the alternative protein space. If partnering with a search firm that understands your business is important to you, we recommend working with us. 

Your recruiting team relies too heavily on applicant tracking systems (ATS). 

Applicant tracking systems can be useful tools for tracking candidates, however they are more biased than you think. Applicants, even the strongest ones, rarely know what keywords to use when they post their resumes, and therefore are often missed in a recruiter’s search. 

Online job postings aren’t well targeted. Try posting your job on relevant job boards and LinkedIn groups where your candidates are likely to be. For example, Alt Protein Careers targets professionals focused on jobs in the alternative protein industry, Idealist is focused on roles within nonprofits, Nosh is dedicated to jobs in 

the food & beverage industry, and ExecuNet is the top job board for executives.

You’re working with an external recruiter that isn’t prioritizing the search.  If you are working with an external recruiter who isn’t prioritizing your search, it is likely that they either accepted too low a fee or are working on contingency and have decided that there is a low probability of filling the search. 

You’re looking for a “purple squirrel”. Everyone wants to land the perfect candidate: the person who has the precise education, experience, and qualifications you need, isn’t too expensive, is passionate about your company and mission, fits your culture, and is ready to jump right in and handle everything right from the get-go. Too often, these candidates simply don’t exist. The recruiting industry calls these “purple squirrels”. 

It’s important to take a good, honest look at your job requirements (an external search firm can help you do this objectively) and understand what combinations are realistic. We could not emphasize more how important this honest reflection is. Failing to do so almost always results in costly delays, a frustrated hiring manager and recruiting team, and missing out on strong candidates.


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