Best Available ≠ Best

When it comes to hiring great people for any organization there is a key distinction that needs to be brought to light. The difference between the best available and the absolute best. These two are simply not the same. With or without knowing it, many organizations have relegated themselves to interviewing and hiring the best available talent and left themselves exposed to a mis-hire or sub-par performance. In order to get to the root of the issue there are two factors that need to be discussed:

  1. What is the difference between best available and the absolute best
  2. What is the difference in process required to uncover, interview and hire each

The first category of candidate is the best available. The obvious question to consider is why are these people available? The odds are they are underperformers who are out of a job or will be soon. Sure there are always a few quality prospects who are happily employed but that scan the job boards just to see if there is something better, but that is the minority in this case. So in reality, the best available may not really be the absolute best.

The absolute best usually consists of individuals who are happily employed, not actively looking for a new job because they are too busy killing it at your competitors. These are the real superstars that exist in the space. They are ultra-high performers that can do the same for your company should you have the right process to reach them, interest them in considering a new opportunity and be able to land them.

So, the next question becomes what are the two different approaches to uncover, reach, interview and land these types of individuals. The same process that is used to find the best available cannot be used to find the absolute best.

An internal recruiter or an HR department armed with a premium job board subscription and an advertising budget will likely collect resumes of the best available. By posting job ads you will get what you pay for; the best available as described above. They are actively looking, probably for a reason.

On the flip side there are the absolute best candidates that are too busy excelling in their current role that they don’t have time to apply to job ads. It takes a different approach entirely to reach these folks. Penetrating the passive marketplace is usually best left to a specialist, one that has the connections and the ability to not only uncover but more importantly access the most difficult to find superstars.

The search industry in the United States alone is a $150 billion dollar marketplace ($400bb+ worldwide) and it seems that there is probably a very good reason the best organizations on the planet choose to enlist the help of expert search consultants to access the talent they can’t access on their own.

I’ll leave you with one final thought: is your organization capturing the absolute best talent, or just the best available?

Thoughts, comments or would like to discuss further please check us out at The Swan Group or email me at