8 Steps to Finding Your Next Hire Without a Recruiter

 If your company wants to recruit without the help of a search firm, you will need a careful plan to find the right one to fit your open position because experts in your specific niche are probably not actively looking or posting their resumes on job boards.


English: Message in a bottle I found the bottl...

English: Message in a bottle I found the bottle at Benacre, it wished me well and has an email address, this had faded. Also a number but of Great Yarmouth Origin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  1. First you need to know exactly what the problem is that the company needs to solve.  What are the skills that the company does not have that are needed to solve the problem?  Or is it a matter of needing skills you do have but that person or people simply are already overbooked?  Put all this in a full position description. Identify all the variations of the possible title.
  2. Then decide where this person with these skills would work.  Which companies are the direct competitors of yours for this position?  Compile the list.
  3. Identify each person at each of these companies who has the title that you are looking for and those who report to that title and may be ready to move up. Get each email address and, if possible, direct phone number or mobile phone number. Compile this list.
  4. Prepare an email advertisement for the position which is written from the point of view of the person you wish to attract – what is the “sizzle” – the most attractive thing about the role?  This is not likely to be the size of the salary for PhDs, instead, it will be the scope of the job, the therapeutic area, the science, the challenge, the learning opportunity or possibility of career development.
  5. Email each one of the people you have identified, call each one, leaving voice mail if you don’t catch them in. For each one that you do not reach, send at least 1 more email and leave at least 2 more voice mails.
  6. For each not interested response you get, follow up to ask for referrals.
  7. For each interested person, follow up to pre-screen against the problem and skills needed.  Get his/her resume, current salary information and the answers to any pre-screening questions the hiring manager wants before a phone or face-to-face interview.
  8. Write up the information and attach the resume and forward to the hiring manager or select only the best and send only those in one batch.


If all this sounds like just too much, consider hiring an executive search service.  Hampton & Associates has been doing exactly these steps for many clients for the last 15 years.  We have been keeping on top of the new tools for each step and can usually find 3-6 qualified and interested candidates in 6-12 weeks.


Process min time max time comment
Speak with or email with Client about new search 0.25 2 get company, title, function, expectations of client
Set up 0.25 1.25 pull together all tools and records, establish files, email folders, list of useful tools and websites
receive or work with client on position description and candidate assignment questions 0.25 5 Get or work up a position description that will attract the right people, understand exactly what we are looking for and what the soft skills/personal attributes are that will make the right candidate
Work with client on potential target companies 0.25 2 Identify the companies that are particularly attractive to the client, see if this is a national or international search, see what companies are NOT wanted.  See if the client is open to other companies not on the list
Fill out Target list, website, email rubric, phone numbers for appropriate sites 1 10 May be in my database, but may need to be researched from the internet
Search my DB for people with the right title at the target list companies 1 5 Put together an Access Query that will pull these people out of the large lists
same for online DBs 5 20 this takes longer as the interface is not as simple.  Get these new names into my Access Database for simpler and faster access.
find and verify email addresses for each contact 1 10 Use company rubric, verify with online program
write up email blast and postings based on position description and questions in a “What is in it for the candidate” manner 0.5 3 Use what client offers, but this is advertising and must be attractive
send email blast 1 10 using best practices and perhaps mail merge
do postings 1 5 using the appropriate sites, free and fee
clean up bounced emails/review each for correct rubric or google for person at different company 0 10 receive the bounded emails.  Check online for each person to see if they have moved on and told us about it.  Use new company email if client allows other companies besides those on the target list
resend to new emails 1 5 may be sent one at a time or multiples
send position description through LinkedIn if no email is available 1 5 This only works if I’m linked to them
respond to emails from emailed candidates and postings 1 5 Thank them for replying, add referrals to database, answer questions, If they send a resume see below
find holes in target list 0.25 1 Review list of contacts vis a vis the target list.
assign name generation 0.5 3 If we have no one from particular companies on the target list, send the name of the company and the various phone numbers to the sourcer/name generator who is most familier with this industry and this function.  Also send  contract and position description and/or email blast so that they really understand who we are looking for
Discuss assignment with NG Asssociate 0.5 2 make sure that they understand what we need
time for name gen 1 40 It usually takes 1 hr/phone number or site to get the contacts names and titles – this can be as few as 1/hr or as many as the whole department in less than 15 minutes
Once complete list is together, clean up, record 1 5 pull together all names, titles, companies, contact information and response if any.  Remove those who have already responded from list for CD Associate
assign candidate development 0.5 2 Choose Candidate Development Associate who has the most experience with this industry and function and level.  Send list of contacts with phone numbers and whether they have been emailed or not. Send new contract, list of names, position description and Candidate Development Assignment/Questions.  Answer any initial questions from Associate
Discuss assignment with CD Asssociate 0.25 2 make sure that they understand what we need
call each candidate, leave up to 3 voicemail messages, track responses, resumes & referrals, (for referrals add, email and call) 20 60 We aim for talking with people and leaving voicemail so that 8 people/hr are touched.   If we get lucky and many people actually answer their phones, this could go down to 2-4.  If no one answers their phone, it could be that 20 voice mail messges can be left/hr (60/3 minutes/vm and recording the call)
respond to emails and calls from sub contractors in NG & CD 1 4 answer questions from sub contractors
respond to calls and emails from called candidates 0.5 5 answer questions, re-sell the role, get referrals, record all of this, follow up if they leave me messages.
Review, save and forward resumes to client 0.5 3 If they send a resume, it must be tracked, saved and reviewed
keep track of responses from CD 0.5 3 When the CD Associates sends a report it must be input into Access and collated with the information we already have
Review resumes, write notes 0.5 3 Read resumes against the position description, write up notes about the candidate
speak with or email reports to  Client 1 5 Keep Client up to date with the progress of the search.  Send reports of the whole search as well as sending the resumes as they come in and are reviewed.
Decide with Client when my part of the search is complete 0.25 2 If the Client has received enough good resumes and will be doing the interviewing from here, we put the search on “do not call” status and only respond to incoming emails and calls for a certain and agreed amount of time.
close the search, keeping track of all resumes received, hours, costs, etc. 1 2 In order to have easy access to all this information for the next search and to invoice appropriately, various housekeeping details must be taken care of
Invoice This is not included in the Client’s fee
44.75 245.25 Sometimes we get lucky and find the right people in a very short time, but it usually takes at least 45 hours.



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