All posts in: Executive Recruitment

candidate driven market

You may have heard the term “candidate-driven market” as it relates to today’s job market and strong economy. Because candidates are in higher demand than usual, recruiters and employers have to go the extra mile to attract the best talent. Candidates are currently in the driver’s seat and have choices when it comes to employment, whereas in 2010 they may have taken a less desirable opportunity because any job was better than no job. It’s not just about what a candidate can offer a company; it’s about what a company can offer a candidate.

Active vs. Passive Candidates

When it comes to filling an open position, there are two types of candidates: active and passive. Active candidates are professionals who are currently looking for a new job because of a variety of reasons: they are seeking career growth, wanting to relocate, unhappy in their current role or with their current company, or unemployed. In contrast, passive candidates are employed professionals who are not actively searching for new work, but may be open to a new position if the right opportunity presents itself. Often, candidates most appealing to employers are those that are currently working because their value is recognized by the mere fact that they are already employed by another organization.

Passive candidates may be attractive due to the fact that they are already employed, but can you convince them to leave their current situation? Active candidates already want or need a new job, thus garnering interest requires much less persuasion. Passive candidates do not have the same sense of urgency, even if they recognize that there is always room for improvement in their career.

Employer Branding

There are several ways to make a company appealing to a candidate. Having a strong employer brand is critical. A company may already be on a candidate’s radar because of their stellar online presence or reputation in their industry, and familiarity will be beneficial in the courting process. On the contrary, lack of awareness or negative perceptions will certainly discourage talent from even engaging the conversation.

Casting a Reel

Most initial correspondence with candidates is presented via email or LinkedIn. The way a message is crafted and what it includes is important in catching a candidate’s attention. With more candidates being approached on social media by recruiters, standing out with a tailored message is key. The time invested into creating personal messages catches attention by mentioning specific skills and a career path that is a match with the given opportunity. If they receive a generic message with no relevant connections to them or their expertise, candidates will be much less likely to respond. Discussing any relevant upward trajectory – such as increased responsibility, compensation, or proximity to their home, is also an attention-getter.

Reeling Them In

Once a candidate responds to the message and would like to learn more about the opportunity is the chance to build genuine excitement and interest. Yes, selling the specs and company perks is important, but a thoughtful method and approach is equally important. Sincere communication is essential to establishing trust and rapport. If candidates do not feel that their best interest is at heart, then they will be less likely to accept the risk of pursuing a new opportunity.

Taking an interest in all aspects of the candidate including their career goals, hobbies, personal life, and if they will be a good fit with the new company and new location, show them that the move is being fully thought through. Talking to a candidate as a caring and thoughtful human being rather than a robot looking to fill a position continues the personalization from the initial correspondence.

Career growth, salary, company culture, development programs, location, and employee recognition are some of the many factors candidates use to consider a new job. Modify the conversation according to the candidate’s motivations and aspirations. If a candidate is looking for a company culture that values communication and transparency, focus on that more so than the benefits package.

Lastly, reassure confidentiality to alleviate any concern of jeopardizing their current employment. Passive candidates are rarely entertaining other offers. Always present the opportunity at hand with enthusiasm and the right person will match the excitement at the thought of joining a winning team.

At the end of the day, a passive candidate will only consider a new job opportunity if it is what’s best for them and any family they need to consider. It is the role of the recruiter or hiring manager to not only share the whole story, but to also serve as a helpful resource offering guidance during interviews, salary negotiation, and offer acceptance.


This article has been updated from an original Bristol Associates post from 2016.

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; Hotels and Resorts; Travel, Tourism, and Attractions; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Restaurant; Hospital and Healthcare; and Nonprofit industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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Phone Screening Image - Business person holding up a phone and about to answer a call from another executive

Ever been contacted by a recruiter to schedule a 15-minute phone call? It’s a good sign to be selected for a phone screening. With the hundreds of applicants that they receive daily, recruiters will utilize their limited time and prioritize candidates who have the best chance to be considered for a particular job.

The phone screening is the first opportunity for the candidate to express who they are and why they are the best fit for the position. The recruiter will be highlighting the candidate to the employer based on the call, so it’s important for them to show the recruiter exactly what makes them stand out from the rest.  And if the candidate is unable to successfully explain to the recruiter why they would be a good fit for the role, then they may not submit their resume to their client, the hiring company. Remember, executive search firms are paid by their clients to attract talent and fill key roles.

We asked President and Executive Recruiter Ben Farber his perspective on how to have a successful phone screening experience.

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Recruitment Myth - Fact-Myth Teeter

When it comes to recruitment, people tend to have common misconceptions about the process for both candidates and clients alike. As a candidate or client, it’s important to understand the recruitment process in order to ensure that the practice is being utilized effectively.

We asked our executive recruiters to share and debunk recruitment myths they have come across while working in their field.

Recruitment Myth #1: All search firms are the same.

There are different kinds of recruitment firms that focus on specific industries, position levels, and types of work. It is important for candidates and clients alike to research if the search firm is a right fit for their experience and needs, respectively.

Simply put, if a candidate that specializes in the Casino industry tries to submit their resume to a firm that focuses in Healthcare, the chances of the recruiter reaching out to the candidate for career opportunities are slimmer. The same idea applies for a client who is searching for a specific type of candidate that may not be predominant in the search firm’s existing database.

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Recruitment Tips: Hire Smart

This piece is an adaptation of a previous article written by Roberta Borer in 1995, who was a former SVP here at Bristol Associates, Inc. Roberta was in the executive search business for over 30 years and specialized in the healthcare industry.

The competition to attract, recruit, and retain employees is keen. As an employer, how do you make your job offer the one top candidates accept?

Before starting the hiring process, use the need to hire a new employee as an opportunity to examine the organization and the reason why past employees left. Take an objective look at the program and use this vacancy as an opportunity to correct or amend what can be done to benefit the organization.

Is this a “fill-able” job? If the company is experiencing high turnover, consider the following: Is the compensation offered appropriate for the position? Is the position the right need for the company? Is the company in a geographic location that makes it challenging to attract top-notch candidates?

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[image] businessman jumping over hurdles / recruitment challenge

A recruiter has the opportunity to interact with diverse candidates and clients, which can lead to unique experiences for each search. While it is the recruiter’s responsibility to alleviate the absence of talent for companies needing to hire, what happens when the recruiter encounters obstacles that can hinder the recruitment process?

Our executive recruiters share recruitment challenges often faced during the search process, and helpful strategies to overcome them.

Recruitment Challenge #1: Lack of Available, Qualified Candidates

With a low unemployment rate, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find candidates. Nearly half of U.S. hiring managers report that they do not see enough qualified candidates when they have an open position. Simply employing the same tried and true recruiting methods will be insufficient in the current candidate market.

In hiring environments such as this, recruiters should be creative and proactive in their sourcing methods to find the right candidate. Networking, industry-specific job boards, and social media platforms are all ways to find candidates. Many organizations still do not utilize these channels effectively.

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[Image] Employer and candidate negotiating with recruiter in between them

By Kelly Nelson

It is common for the client and candidate to seek the recruiter’s guidance when it comes to the negotiation stage of the recruitment process. The recruiter needs to develop a true trust relationship with both the client and the candidate.

While the recruiter must understand the objectives and limitations of his or her client company, they must also understand the various motivations of the candidate. This results in the recruiter’s ability to pull both parties together in any negotiation. The experienced recruiter should have the ability to form creative solutions that draw on these understandings and provide meaningful benefit to each party.

Negotiating For Clients

The recruiter must be able to suggest creative solutions to clients that provide unique methods of reaching closure with candidates. Oftentimes, the client company is unable and unwilling to adjust the base salary when asked by the candidate. There are many ways to solve this apparent impasse. We have assisted clients in creating partial guarantee bonuses, sign on bonuses, additional perquisites, more aggressive bonus plans, and enhanced relocation packages that result in narrowing the gap between the two parties’ negotiation positions.

Read More: Ask a Recruiter: What Company Perks Do Candidates Really Want?

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business woman with question marks over head thinking about executive recruitment questions

Looking to find the right candidate for the company? Hiring an executive recruiter can be beneficial to employers – not only does it alleviate the workload of the search process, but it also brings an industry expert’s perspective in filling the position based on the needs and desires of the company. Before fully committing to the idea of utilizing an executive search firm’s services, it’s understandable for clients to have questions, especially if it’s their first time working with a recruiter.

We asked our recruiters to answer client’s commonly asked questions regarding the executive recruitment process.

Q: Bristol Associates, Inc. is based in Los Angeles, CA. Do you manage searches in areas other than the West Coast?

Kelly Nelson, Sr. Vice President

A: We have been recruiting on a National basis for the past 30 years. There was a time when recruiters were geographically focused. The advances in communications, the internet, social media, and job boards have enabled recruiters to reposition on a national (and international) basis. We regularly conduct search assignments in the Midwest, East Coast, Southeast, and Southwestern United States. With that said, the question is appropriate as there are recruiters who have not adjusted their focus. Our national reach allows us to source candidates for key positions in all market areas.

(Click here to fill out Bristol Associates’ Employer Inquiry Form today!)

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Employers: Optimize the Recruitment Process

Thinking of hiring a recruiter to help find the right candidate? At Bristol Associates, our clients can expect confidentiality, responsiveness, professionalism, individualized service, and always going the extra mile. There are numerous ways for employers to work with the recruiter to improve the recruitment process for maximum results. Bristol’s Senior Vice President Peter Stern shares important advice and ways to utilize the recruiter throughout the recruitment process.

Stage 1: Finding the Right Recruiter

Thoroughly screen prospective recruiters. Not every recruiter brings the same level of recruitment expertise and industry knowledge – both of which are key to the success of the search. At Bristol, we specialize in recruitment in the casino gaming, food manufacturing, hospital and healthcare, hotels and resorts, travel and tourism, and restaurant industries. To determine if the recruiter is the right fit for the search, ask the recruiter the following questions:

• Which industries do you specialize in? Within those industries, which functional areas do you focus on?
• Can you provide examples of recently completed searches related to our open position?
• Describe your search process and methodology.

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Myth vs. Facts Executive Recruiters

Not all search firms are created equally. From how executive recruiters operate to what industries they serve or job titles they target, jobseekers need to understand the differences. Armed with that knowledge, candidates and recruiters can work together to achieve the most successful outcome.

Bristol Associates asked three of their recruiters for input on what they felt were the most common misconceptions about those working in their field.

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