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The All Too Often Neglected Pool of Talent

This is the first post in a series of guest posts on the HiringSolved blog.
Thank you to Jeffrey Shapiro for jumping in as our first writer!
To learn more, connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn!

Lately, you’ve inevitably been hearing and reading the term unlearning a lot. Today I’m going to challenge you to think about rediscovery.

Now you’re asking yourself, “How or what do I need to rediscover, Jeff?”

Well… what if I told you you’re unknowingly sitting on an untapped pipeline of talent that too many in our industry have forgotten about? These are the humans that have been cast away or stuck on the high shelf, for a myriad of reasons: bias, resentment, anger, ignorance, etc.

Before we dive in, let’s take a look at the word rediscovery:

The action or process of discovering again something that was forgotten or ignored.

What sticks out to me in the definition is the usage of two words, forgotten and ignored. In the world of Talent Acquisition, this means its data YOU ALREADY OWN but have overlooked. Now ask yourself why? Back to that previously mentioned “untapped pipeline.”

Buckle up and get ready to Earn Your Scars.

I’m going to create three buckets. Each of which you should be evaluating (emptying/refilling) monthly and engaging quarterly.


Every manager has lost an employee or two they’d love to have back. It crushed them when they put in notice; they did everything they could to “save” this person but ultimately ended up separating from the organization. This happens for countless reasons: compensation, career growth, benefits, commute, etc. What is stopping you from contacting these people? See how things are going, check-in with them on their new gig and inquire, “Is the grass truly greener on the other side? Would you be open to coming back?”

Fun Fact: When you hire a Boomerang, you’re quietly showing current employees two things:

  1. We care about our current and past team members.
  2. The grass is not always greener.

Previously Declined Offers of Employment

Now ask yourself, “Why aren’t I doing this regularly?” This is a person that went through your entire interview process and received an offer of employment. For whatever reason, they turned it down. That doesn’t mean their situation hasn’t changed and, I can promise you, you’re only feeding their ego when you reach out and let them know, “We haven’t forgotten about you.”  If they’ve declined your offer, you should safely assume it was for 1 of 2 reasons:

  1. They accepted a counteroffer from their current employer.
  2. They accepted a competing offer, most likely for money, maybe work scheduled, commute, or benefits.

Let’s talk about #1: the counteroffer. Accepting a counteroffer has always reminded me of the childhood playground bully. Bully picks on kid. Kid tells a grown-up. Bully is forced to say sorry and promises not to do it again. Kids continues to play with bully. Bully behaves for 15, 30, 60 minutes… but ultimately guess what is bound to happen? Bully resorts back to their old ways and picks on kid again. Kid picks up their toys and decides to seek a new playmate.

Onto #2: So, this person accepted a competing offer. What do you have to lose (besides 15-20 minutes of your time) by calling them and stroking their ego? Reach out to them 90 days down the road. “Hey (insert name), we haven’t forgotten about you and just wanted to see how things are going with your new gig? Are you happy? Great! Anyone you can think of from your previous position that we should talk to? The job is not what you expected? Well, would you be interested in very quietly reconnecting with us?”

Previously Applied

Maybe you’re new to your organization. Maybe you’re working a req that doesn’t field a high volume of organic applies. Why aren’t you pulling all historical data your employer already owns? Review all those HUMAN BEINGS (let’s not lose sight of the fact that a resume represents an actual human) who physically took the time to fill out an application in the past to this job title you’re having a hard time with.

OMG 3 years ago someone applied for job X, but they were a new grad and the req I’m working on right now calls for someone with 3 years of experience.
1) You’re welcome.
2) Remind your hiring manager: Years of experience DOES NOT equal experience level.

Now think about those strategies I’ve been discussing. Did any of them require you to ask for approval to spend money? Do they cost you anything besides your time?

If you do this quarterly and the efforts were to produce just 1 hire, ask yourself…. Was it worth your time?

Now I want to quickly prepare you for the PUSH BACK you’re likely going to face from the hiring managers.

They are going to throw hurdles and roadblocks at you in the form of;

  • I already met with them, pass.
  • They left us once, they’ll do it again. Pass… and I don’t care that “they’re eligible for rehire.”
  • Why should I meet someone who declined our offer in the past? Clearly, we aren’t where they want to be.

To which you will reply, “Are you the same person you were 1 year, 3 years, 5 years ago? I know I’m not.”

Moral of the story: Stop disqualifying applicants who’ve; applied in the past, interviewed with you before, or have even worked for the organization years ago.

Knock It Off. Do Better. Be Better.

While I still have your attention. Don’t forget about your employee referrals and campus recruitment initiatives. Which are both F-R-E-E… FREE!

About the Author

Jeffrey is an experienced Talent Acquisition Leader who deeply believes in challenging the status quo.

His professional philosophy is rooted in possessing a bias to action in conjunction with anticipation of customer needs. Jeffrey has spent 15 years in healthcare and currently works as the Director of Talent Acquisition with a publically-traded organization consisting of 8000+ employees from coast to coast.

Even after 15 years in Recruitment, Jeff’s passions for people, strategic thinking, and decision making are infectious. Teaching the importance of innovation and accountability, his team took it upon themselves to create a Jeffrey Shapiro mission statement: Adapt, react, project, plan, implement, make mistakes, learn…Repeat.

He believes just because something has ‘always been done’ that way does not make it the right way. Jeffrey is a ‘man in the arena’.