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Candidate Recycling Programs:

Four Networking Tips to Help You Find the Right Talent for the Right Job

Would you ever consider sharing talented but mismatched job candidates with the competition? Business consultant Scott Wintrip explains how launching a candidate “recycling” program will expand your talent pool and benefit your business (and others!).


When you run a business, finding top talent is key, but throughout your hiring cycles you will invariably run across great candidates interviewing for jobs that don’t suit them. When this happens, hiring expert Scott Wintrip offers a powerful networking strategy that ultimately pays off for your company, your job candidates and other companies as well: candidate recycling.


“Candidate recycling is a new approach to networking,” says Wintrip, author of “High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant.” “Instead of hoarding talent for themselves, companies pass along the job candidates they can’t use to other organizations that need them.”


But why would competitors want to share talent—their most important asset? Wintrip says it’s all about mindset.


“Competition really is healthy for business,” asserts Wintrip. “It is a signal that an industry is viable, creating enough business opportunities for everyone. Competitors who view the business landscape in this manner are frequently open to talent-sharing agreements—and these companies are successful because they help match the right talent with the right jobs.”


Wintrip explains that organizations can supplement their talent pool through candidate recycling efforts in a number of ways. They can set up sharing agreements between competitors, they can agree to “borrow” talent and temporarily loan out individuals to one another, or they can even compensate organizations for locating viable candidates. The point is, this form of networking allows the talent to flow efficiently and helps hiring managers staff their organizations better and faster.


To learn how to reach out to other companies and set up your own talent recycling program, follow Wintrip’s four simple steps below.


Step 1: Identify the types of talent you can recycle. Most organizations discover a pattern in the types of people they attract but are unable to hire. This talent, which doesn’t quite suit the needs of your company, could be perfect for another company you know of. (And certainly, the candidates themselves will appreciate being pointed toward other good businesses that are hiring!) When you run across talent that would be a good fit for another company you know—even your competitors—consider sending them over with a referral.


“I recently worked with an IT department that attracted lots of software developers who lacked the depth of experience they needed,” says Wintrip. “That same department also attracted lots of highly qualified network engineers—another role the IT department rarely needed. These two types of candidates are great examples of talent that could be recycled on to another company.”


Step 2: Find organizations that could employ your recycled talent. “You probably already know of other companies within your industry that could benefit from your recycled candidates,” says Wintrip. But if not, you can easily locate these businesses and build a networking relationship. A simple search on a job board or Internet search engine yields fast results.


“In the case of the IT firm, a web search really paid off,” says Wintrip. “They found more than 20 prospective employers as potential recycling partners.”


Step 3: Determine which partners are a good fit for you. “Candidate recycling is all about mutuality,” says Wintrip. “You share your surplus talent with them, and they share the types of candidates you need with you.”


Begin networking by reaching out to prospective partners, offering to share your recycled talent, and ask them to do the same. Wintrip points out that the IT firm he worked with found seven companies that were willing to share referrals in this manner. Remember, all you need to do is ask. Chances are, other companies are just as eager to share candidates—and find the best talent for their needs—as you are.


Step 4: Keep the talent flowing. “Every month, check in with your partners,” advises Wintrip. Discuss how your recycling program is going both for them and for you.


“In our IT example, these monthly calls to the seven partners kept the recycling arrangement in the foreground of everyone’s minds,” says Wintrip. “It also allowed all parties to make adjustments to keep the program running successfully. The IT department and their partners ended up swapping dozens of candidates. In fact, within five months, they made four great hires as a result of the program.”


“A key component of networking is helping others out,” concludes Wintrip. “Candidate recycling is a natural extension of that generosity, and it really pays off for everyone involved. When you have a group of businesses looking out for one another, you’re far more likely to get the talent you need as soon as you need it, and be able to fill your positions with more ease than ever before.”

Scott Wintrip has changed how thousands of companies across the globe find and select employees, helping design and implement a process to hire top talent in less than an hour. Over the past 18 years, he built the Wintrip Consulting Group (, a global consultancy. Wintrip, the acknowledged leader of the on-demand hiring movement, is pioneering improved methods for recruiting and interviewing job candidates. For five consecutive years, Staffing Industry Analysts, a Crain Communications company, has awarded him a place on the “Staffing 100,” a list of the world’s 100 most influential staffing leaders. He’s also a member of the Million Dollar Consultant Hall of Fame and was recently inducted into the Staffing 100 Hall of Fame.


“High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant” (McGraw-Hill Education; April 2017; ISBN: 978-1-2598594-7-2; $30) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.

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