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Recruiting & Candidate Development

Apple Orchard Method of Candidate Development - the advantage of networking

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Recruiting can be difficult, thus finding a softer easier way, allowing us to make less calls but still obtain better targeted candidates is often crucial for many of us  freeing up more time to be more constructive with management of our daily tasks, or maybe even to spend with family. ** (see give away below)

We all want to find ways to recruit better profiled passive candidates, with less calls, better targeted calls, which will give us more focus, more time to spend being able to close..

Some of the more successful recruiters agree: you don’t have to lie and cheat to be successful.  You just have to know how to best use the human and information resources that are available to you.


We all want to find ways to be More effective in sourcing for our clients, for ourselves. To waste less time on dead ends, identify candidate that will be better qualified, and when you call them you will have much more effective conversations with them.

Yes, it can be done.  It takes some investigative work, and a little time. But it can be done in a way that brings value to us and our clients


Lets try to draw a picture here -

Let’s say there was an apple cider competition – the mission is to find a bushel of apples, the one who brings back the sweetest, biggest and the most wins

Due to lack of knowledge, or maybe due to familiarity - Contestant No 1 immediately goes for the obvious.  Targeting the low hanging fruit, which is rarely the sweetest or biggest, and often the most raided, as it is the same fruit that all the competitors are also going after.  Soon the Tree becomes Barren and doesn’t produce.

The First Contestant grabbed the yellow pages, called into the orchards to find out who was the best.

Not a good idea

Contestant No. 1 learns the down side of low-hanging fruit.

Some of The Apple Orchards had been slammed by calls – by other competitors calling in.  They are scared of being raided further, and are very protective.  They need their product to sell for apple sauce and Juicealt

Some of the orchards were not being very protective, and the company was raided, unfortunately it takes a few hours checking every tree to verify this.  Other orchards weren’t doing well, they had not been looking after the fruit, and the best had been picked dry,   the fruit that remained may be better used for Cider or Vinegar.

With time running out, Contestant No. 1 decides his mistake was using the Yellow Pages. Obviously, everyone else was doing the same. And even the worst orchards are in the Yellow Pages.

Contestant No. 1’s research skills are lacking.

So he decides to use Google, looking for an orchard not listed in the Yellow Pages that has a really cool web site.  Google returns 1.5 million hits, so it takes a while to go through the first 10 screens or so looking at websites.

It was another wasted trip.  Time that could have been successfully spent elsewhere.

Time’s run out on Contest No. 1 and he’s failed.

Contestant No.2 wins with good research & networking.

Contestant Number 2 picked up the phone, went beyond the obvious.  Looking at the apples for the trees.

  • She went to the Fertilizer Companies (a good orchard spending money on good fertilizer will mean apples would be sweeter and healthier)
  • She went to the Boxing/packaging and Container Companies -  the ones that she knew were popular with the apple orchards – lot’s of business means more production which would signify better apples
  • She also went to the Apple Juice and Sauce Producers – the ones noted for the Sweetest Juice and the Best Apple sauce.
  • She contacted the Grocery Store Produce buyers.

She knew that these companies would know more details about the orchards, who the contact persons are.  They don’t mind sharing these names, they are not in direct competition with these companies.

By the time she‘d made three calls, Contestant No. 2 had a list of several orchards which the three sources.  And she had at least one contact name for each orchard, with permission of the sources to use their name in initiating the contact.

She also had a list of five other sources, described as very knowledgeable about the local apple industry, including a past judge of the contest and the president of the State Apple Growers' Association, who gave her additional information on the judges’ preferences and best orchards.

Contestant No. 2 then quickly visited the websites of the top contending orchards on her list, and moved a couple higher on her rank-ordering based on information such as past awards, commendations, and customer list.


With lots of time to spare, she picked a quick bushel  or two from each of the top 5 orchards, confident she’s found the apples the judges will like the best.

All this from a few quick calls and focused Internet browsing, while the other guys were all chasing each other around the same "low-hanging fruit" orchards!

Information and personal contacts are the keys.

What worked for Contestant No. 2 in the apple competition can also work in your  competition for candidates


The key advantages Contestant No. 2 had was -

  • They Started with knowledgeable third parties (suppliers, buyers, etc.) who -had no reason not to provide information
  • They obtained Qualified referrals, not just names
  • With these referrals they were able to name-drop, making initial contact much easier
  • Through the research they obtained better understanding for the industry allowing them to successfully and quickly target the candidate
  • They also Had better information on the industry, allowing the to understand more about   the position for the clients, to better relay back to the candidates gaining more trust.
  • When they contacted they confident it would be worthwhile going to (speaking to) the Orchard (candidate) based on information gained by the  referrals.


The method used by Contestant No. 2 was network-based.

It starts by backtracking, by thinking about who would know the type of person you’re looking for and contacting them. This is much better than going directly to competitors because people will more openly refer a good person to you if they're not working in the same company, or if they know of the person in a non-work related way.

Not only will they direct you to the Candidates you are seeking, but quite often they will give you the contacts they work with..

Wow – Qualified Referrals, and contacts to get past the security where you need to go pick those apples. And all from a few calls!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!

Research Works– you will find that you will be able to pick better fruit, more fruit and win the competition in less time and less effort.

Happy Harvesting


 ** Courtesy Gift From HireCentrix 

FREE PDF Give Away






Karen Mattonen started a career in Human Resources when she served as a Recruiter for Snelling Corporation. Leveraging her tenure with Snelling, Karen founded Advanced Career Solutions in 1997 focusing on the  HVAC and Mechanical Construction industry. Her reputation for excellence is echoed in the satisfaction of clients and candidates she has worked with nationwide. Furthermore, Karen is esteemed for sharing her expertise in Recruitment Education, Ethics and promoting self-regulation for the Recruiting industry.  Karen has a new and future oriented vision of what recruiting can and should become: a profession we can be proud of for its ethical standing, professional conduct and ability to build great organizations.  

Karen was a co-creator of the landmark webinar event – "EEOC Discrimination Debate." This event featured senior members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and staffing industry experts discussing and debating difficult issues about discrimination in today’s workplace environment. Company executives, hiring managers, recruiters, and human resource professionals from across the United States were invited to participate in the free Webinar and live panel discussion. Karen also served as one of the panelists on the discussion team in the March, 2006 event.

Outside of the HR community, Karen Mattonen has been cited by Microsoft as a resource in how to use Microsoft Outlook as an ATS. She has also served as the Marketing and Public Relations Director for the 3rd largest city in Utah.

Her passionate and tireless advocacy has led her to create HireCentrix - The Pulse of H.R, Regulation, Retention, Recruiting and Risk Management  Hirecentrix is a company dedicated to providing training to the HR, recruiting and staffing industries, which includes a special focus on the ethical and legal dimensions through offering a full service resource for individuals to share and communicate, obtain current and accurate information, acquire and provide education and learning within the quickly expanding, diverse and rapidly changing Recruiting and Human Resource climate.

Karen has achieved accreditation as a California Accredited Consultant (CAC) through California Staffing Professionals. She has also gained her Certified Staffing Professional Certificate (CSP) through American Staffing Professionals. (

Click here to reach Karen via email.


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