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Recognizing Talent Goes Way Beyond Checking the Boxes


Recognizing Talent Goes Way Beyond Checking The Boxes

As Season 2 of our work life comic strip Dogged Decisions continues, we find that Tim’s ability to make connections has presented him with a new professional opportunity.  Making connections – bringing two sides together by confidently leveraging experience and relationships – can create new opportunities, and not always in the ways one might expect.

Connectors understand it’s about more than just getting the deal or filling the job opening. First and foremost, making successful connections comes from a strong desire to help. It comes from getting to know people on a deep level and the ability to find the best solution to the unique opportunity in front of them.  And sometimes, making the right connection means finding that something or someone that goes beyond the original request.

Recently, I helped a $150+ million organization with over 1,000 employees fill its Chief Operating Officer position. My team did what we always do – hunker down and learn as much as possible about the organization. Personally, I got to work understanding what the executive leadership team was looking for in a candidate in terms of background and experience.

While my director of research and team identified potential candidates from competitor organizations and companies with similar value propositions, I went to work reaching out to my broad network for talent – you never know where the best candidates will come from when sourcing top executives. While it’s true that quite often the hired candidate comes from the work of my research team, nearly half of our hires come from my personal network.

We found a somewhat unlikely candidate who was personally recommended to me by the CEO of a nonprofit organization. Though the candidate hadn’t yet reached the C-suite level, she had an impressive string of operational successes, and it was clear she was ready for the challenge. When I interviewed the candidate, I immediately saw her powerful potential, even though she was light on years of experience. With my knowledge of her skills and abilities, and my familiarity with the client’s need, I made the connection with full confidence that she would be amazing in the role if given the opportunity. I presented her to my client and they loved her. She was hired and is doing a fantastic job.

My awareness of people’s skillsets, leadership styles, and personal and professional interests enables me to see matches that others may miss by merely focusing on resumes and job requirements alone. I’m able to provide an additional layer of insight for my clients to help them see the potential in alternative candidates. Finding the right candidate requires a close connection throughout the course of the search. We build clarity around the position as I learn more about my clients’ needs and they learn more about how a candidate’s experiences and unique qualifications can help their team, and ultimately, their business.


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