It was Red Adair, famous oil well firefighter from the Gulf War, who said: “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur”. I have earlier referred to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, who reports that only 16% of all employees are actively looking for job. The balance of 84% is the part of the work force that you cannot reach through ads in the paper or on the internet job boards. The simple reason being that by definition passive candidates are not looking for job.

Over the years I have asked many top executives what the number would be in Thailand. I heard numbers between 10% and 30%; that’s the percentage of the labour market which executives believe are actively looking for a job. We know that new graduates will be as high as 99%. But would it be fair to claim that for top executives the number actively looking may be as low as 5-10%. 

I have always been amused when client companies choose to work with recruiters whose only search and catchment strategy is to post an ad on an internet job board. Let me tell you that shopping on the internet is not executive search; hunting people in the real world is!

Why anyone would pay money to third party recruiters who just place a vacancy announcement on an internet job board of active candidates is beyond me. If you want to see who they are, check out the leading job boards in Thailand and see the names of these recruitment companies. I say, pay the 5,000 Baht and do it yourself.

So you ask yourself what you can do to access the passive part of the work force. Simply put, only a very personal approach on the telephone, voice mail or email may yield a result. The only way you can get through is to know them, or know somebody who can lead you to them. Don’t believe that easy-to-find also translates to easy-to-hire. Not so.