DaXtra Blog

Using search and analytics to identify a specialist

Posted November 25th, 2013

The value of having a specialist skill is well known and professionals working in any industry or sector strive to hone their skills in specific areas whether as a result of personal interest or professional gain. What matters is that people are acutely aware that having a specialism will separate them from the crowd when looking for a promotion or alternative employment. However, there is growing unrest that businesses are diluting the need for specialist skills and as a consequence, existing employees are becoming concerned.

One in three professionals (33%) are concerned that their company is not hiring enough specialists and even more (38%) believe that the lack of specialist skills in their company is placing unnecessary pressure on them to meet customer demands. This is surprising because candidates with specialist skills are typically easy to identify in recruitment agency databases as a result of having a specific specialist skill in the first instance. This can be done through a simple keyword-matching search. Where the difficulty arises is when recruitment agencies begin to broaden a search outside their database and begin to scour the Internet. This is where good recruiters begin to shine.

The probability is that the majority of specialist candidates are currently employed and, typically, are not actively seeking employment elsewhere. These are what can be referred to as ‘passive’ candidates. If a corporate organisation or recruitment agency is in the hunt for a passive candidate with a specific set of specialist skills, then an intelligent search technology will make the task a lot easier.

By their very nature passive candidates do not want to be discovered by recruiters so their online profiles may be very restricted and contain very little public information. Intelligent search technology can help recruiters discover specialist candidates by providing the capability to search outside a CRM or central database, expanding the search to approved job boards or Internet networking sites. Recruiters can submit a single query to selected sources, retrieve the top-ranked results from each and display them in a single window for direct review and comparison.

In-house recruiters face a different challenge

For those in-house recruitment teams who want to discover and recruit specialist candidates, the situation is even more difficult because the tools they have at their disposal are not as powerful as those of their agency counterparts. Granted, in-house recruiters will most likely have a more refined database of relevant candidates, but if they cannot find the correct candidate then they have to widen their search to external sources. This is when headhunters and search agencies become involved and costs increase accordingly.

Is external talent the answer?

Not necessarily. There is nothing to say that specialists cannot be nurtured internally at an organisation. Employee development can be achieved through effective succession planning and through managing an existing employee talent database. Large corporate organisations have the chance to use analytical tools to gain greater understanding of their existing talent pool. They can monitor career progression and identify specific employee potential or any gaps where extra training might be needed. The outcome is that large corporate organisations can make informed decisions as to whether they have the existing talent to fulfill business development requirements or whether they have to look externally for specialist candidates.

However, it would be wise to remember that specialists do not always have to come from an external source. Those organisations with a diverse talent pool should use information analytics tools to search internally to see if any existing employees fit the bill. A concern that specialists are not being brought into the business can be easily countered by strong examples of existing employees rising to the challenge to drive innovation and creativity, sending a positive message that the organisation values and is committed to fostering specialism.

Tags: DaXtra Blog, Search & match