"The Business of Recruitment" Series - The Matching Process, Who's a Fit and Why?



Matching candidates to opportunities is both an art and a science and if you have done your job “right” in “understanding & taking the job description” then you are ready to select candidates for your shortlist and “market” the opportunity to your candidates and "market" your candidates to your client.


In order to “match” candidates to your opportunities, you are going to carry out a selection process, based on the specifications given to you by your client or client contact. These are some of your matching criteria to highlight:





  • Based on your clients specifications what are the most important requirements, nice to have requirements and not necessary but bonus requirements and make sure to highlight them on the job description (when I say “highlight” I actually do mean highlight using a highlighter pen so that they stand out to you).
  • What are the other matching criteria as discussed with the client, personality type, number of years experience, soft skills, industry experience or specific industry technology, skill-sets.
  • Job Location, Job Title, Compensation expectations


These are your matching criteria and you will use these criteria to carry out your selection process, ideally starting with a larger selection of candidates and narrowing it down to your “top” five or so. You may be working in a "Core Market" which is considered a "candidate market" or in other words there is a greater proportion of jobs than suitable candidates(and yes for those who are experiencing economic slowdown, these markets do exist) in which case your shortlist may consist of 2 candidates if you're lucky. Most clients (I would actually go as far as saying all clients, have a wish list for a particular role (nice to haves) as well as the must haves for the role, its your responsibility if you are sourcing on a role to clarify which are which and why they are needed, ask your client and they will likely tell you, if your a candidate specialist then ask your account manager and they should be able to tell you, if they can't, then ask them to find out for you. I bet you if you ask the account manager the first time and they don't know and have to find out, the next time you work with them they'll be ready!! To carry out the actual selection process objectively:

  1. Review each candidate’s skills experience and attributes , remuneration expectations, logistics objectively against your matching criteria and also highlight the areas of "fit" on the candidate’s resume or CV. If you’re not certain of the degree of fit when comparing the job specification and requirements to the candidates resume or CV, then contact the candidate ask them to give you examples that justify a "fit" and references that can collaborate that "fit" but don’t guess, check and verify, checking and verifying will greatly, and I stress greatly, enhance your success in representing and finding the right fit in the short and long run. It may seem like an "extra mile" activity as it's quicker not to check or verify and just send the resume or CV to your client and let them worry about that, it's easier but not more productive so if it seems like an "extra mile" activity then you’ll do well to walk it. 
  2. If you work with candidates and job requirements whose experience and skills are highly technical in nature, like Information Technology, Engineering, Accountancy, Supply Chain, Manufacturing and other like industries, you have to pay special attention here, attention to the detail. You must understand what you are looking for from a candidate’s experience when you are carrying out the matching process, if you’re not clear, ask your client, a colleague, your candidate, research on the internet but find out it’ll help you immensely with your matching. In fact its very difficult to consistently find and present the right match if you don't make this a habit. 
  3. What are the specific technology requirements your client is looking for? Why does your client need this particular technology experience in this role? Is this a new technology and if so will they provide training for someone with less experience than they are looking for? These are some questions that you should have the answers for while matching candidates. 

With most opportunities that you as the recruitment professional will work on, you will be working to some target deadlines, the deadlines could be self set by you or as a result of the client looking to have the role filled before a certain date for internal reasons and if you are competing with other sources to present your candidates by this deadline (and most of the time we are!!!) then you have to learn how to match effectively and quickly so that your candidates are in the best possible position of being on the clients final shortlist to interview.

Ask and learn what your clients' “key” requirements are, the “must haves” and why they must have these skills and experience for each role you work on and look to fulfill these key requirements in your sourcing and matching and watch how your matching improves and much quicker too, it will go a long way in improving your, candidates presented to candidates hired, ratios, ie, how many candidates do you have to present for an opportunity before one gets hired by a client? You should know this number and work towards using these methods to improve it, if you don’t know, then answer it now so that you do, here’s the question again for you.


On a typical job opportunity that you work on for your client or account managers, How many candidates do you have to present before one gets hired?


This is a great number to track and improve upon, If you are commission based you can literally double your earnings by halving this ratio! and you're not working any harder, just better!!! If your numbers are higher than 5 candidates presented to 1 hired, then your numbers are high (even if you are on a high volume desk like on that places temporary receptionists) and you probably need to look at how you are carrying out your matching and make some adjustments, you should Ideally be between 2 and 5 candidates presented to 1 getting hired. You may be presenting one candidate for multiple opportunities that’s fine too, but aim to be between 2 to 5. If you’re not between 2 to 5 at the moment or you just want to improve these numbers and be better at your matching, then pay special attention to the parts of this "The Business of Recruitment" series that will discuss, Working with Candidates and make sure that you come out from reading them with some specific activities you will apply to your business right away.



If you are a manager or company owner reading this and are responsible for company productivity and your staffs’ numbers are higher in this regard then you need to provide avenues for your staff to improve so that your productivity will improve.

Gerard Ezinwoke is an award winning recruitment professional, trainer, recruitment coach, and strategist based in Toronto, Canada to individuals and organizations with experience working in Europe and Canada.

"The Business of Recruitment" Series aims to provide productive strategies for each aspect of recruitment & staffing for recruitment agencies and headhunters. These strategies are based on experience of high performing recruitment professionals across North America and Europe.

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Tags: #Networking, #Recruitment, #Staffing, #candidates, #linkedin, #sourcing


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