Ask Barb: Tough-To-Find Talent

Dear Barb:

It is getting more difficult to find the talent our clients want to hire. Even though the market is changing, my clients are as demanding as ever and haven’t reduced their hiring standards or demands. Is there a resource that you find reliable that you’re willing to share with me?

Joe C, Wilkesboro, PA

Dear Joe:

Why should your clients reduce their standards or demands, especially if you expect to earn full fees or high margins? Most clients don’t provide us with easy positions to fill. They want us to find the top talent they can’t find through their own resources and often give us their hard to fill positions.

Article Continues Below

I’m going to provide you with a resource that will double or triple your candidate flow starting tomorrow. Take out the applications forms of individuals you have interviewed since the first of the year. Call their last place of employment (not their most current) and ask for them. You will then be transferred to their replacement – someone who has similar skills and credentials. If you want to triple your candidate flow, go back two jobs and again ask to speak to your candidate.

If you are told the person you have asked for is no longer there, provide them with the name of their supervisor, department and title. Ask them to transfer you to the department in case someone stayed in touch with your candidate. You are now transferred to a department where you can recruit similar talent. This is one of the easiest techniques to surface top talent!

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Would you like to Ask Barb a question? Email her at Each month in The Fordyce Letter print edition, Barbara Bruno answers questions from individuals in the Recruiting Profession. We will bring you some of these Q&A responses from Barb each week on

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email


2 Comments on “Ask Barb: Tough-To-Find Talent

  1. I hate to say this but that may have worked 30 years ago, but nowadays you get an automated system and then if you do get an operator, that person doesn’t know who took the person’s place and they don’t have the same phone number as the previous person. Receptionists and operators have been cautioned to listen for recruiters calling in and fishing for names, too. At least that’s the way it works in Silicon Valley.

    1. Shubbart is right. This is an excellent technique, but it can only be employed with certain environments. Most of the time the gatekeeper does not know who the person is, or can become uncomfortable (bc why would someone call and ask for that?), and then you are simply transferred to the director for the department.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *