Back to “Old School” Recruiting 

The purpose of this post is to write about ‘old school recruiting.’ It’s something I always say to clients, applicants, people I’m training and quite frankly, anyone who will listen to me. 

What it means is — I take it back to the 90’s when I started in this business. Before the mainstream recruiting culture relied on job boards, email, and the internet. 

The way I recruited was a very hands-on approach. I did this business full life-cycle and I feel that it’s extremely important to recruit in that capacity because it gave me the stepping stone to really qualify a candidate. I was never recruited by a boolean search. I never recruited by sending resumes before interviewing the person first. 

In other words, I get it. 

What I mean by that is, if a candidate comes across my desk and I submit them to you, that candidate is either getting the job or coming very close to it. If my candidate doesn’t come in second or first place, I look within and say “I must’ve done something severely wrong” because at the end of the day, I pride myself on two things — saving you time and saving you money. That is my job. 

My job is to interview ten to fifteen top candidates, figure out who the best one is and send them to you. 

What’s the result? You get the best quality candidate and you shine for making that great hire!

That’s what you pay me for. 

So, old-school is not allowing a database to match a candidate; it is interviewing and really getting to know a candidate personally and professionally before submitting them.

Old-school is matchmaking and understanding the hiring managers requirements as well as the company culture.

It’s selling your company as if I’m an employee — and not just selling the company, but the manager and the manager’s ideologies. 

That’s what I feel is missing today — the extensive, hands on approach. It seems most firms these days are pushing paper. There is a huge loss in that person to person interaction — being able to really stand behind somebody and put your stamp of approval and reputation on the line for that person. 

Allow me to illustrate: 

The search for our client’s Network Infrastructure Manager required finding a candidate who possessed the right mix of humility and leadership, while being sophisticated and aggressive enough to drive multi-million-dollar projects. 

This person needed to have a solid track record of working with and influencing a diverse set of stakeholders, while also being capable of and willing to manage a diverse project portfolio from small budget projects to over $200M. 


Finding a Network Infrastructure Manager with hands-on experience, working with low-latency/high performance computing, along with multicast  in a tight job market proved to be exceedingly challenging. Adding to the complexity of the search were many factors that had to be taken into consideration: it was a private-sector position with a restricted budget, salary subpar to market, and multiple stakeholders weighing in on the hire. In addition, the successful candidate would be stepping into some very large shoes as the departing Network Manager was well-loved and leaving on very good terms. With so many IT  jobs in the country, recruiting someone to move to a smaller city in North Carolina where the opportunities are not as ripe was not an easy task. I couldn’t bring someone in that was a big city slicker because the client was a small town firm. I couldn’t submit someone from Goldman Sachs, arriving in a BMW to an office with 80’s wallpaper and a parking lot of Toyotas. The successful candidate would need humility and a broad range of skills and wisdom gained through many years of experience in the field to handle the position and diverse range of stakeholders. The ideal candidate would be someone who has a love for the tech, as well as the willingness to join and nurture a brand new team of people with different personalities and lifestyles.  


The client initially began the recruitment process on their own. Realizing they weren’t getting the results they were looking for, they hired the recruiting experts at IT Accel. After reviewing the clients results, the IT Accel team designed a search strategy that would be much more effective and decided to start anew. Many potential candidates could not be found with typical recruiting methods of today, making the search challenging for present day search “experts”.  My senior recruiter would be tasked to come up with a creative solution for finding qualified candidates which required “old school” recruiting. 

Through passive recruiting methods like networking and referrals, the talent was identified.  By reaching out to different contacts and resources, including the stakeholders themselves, the recruiting team was able understand the needs and requirements on a granular level.  This enabled the recruiter to become an effective and passionate brand ambassador for the client, helping potential candidates understand the incredible opportunity to live and work in a vibrant, growing, affordable, and up and coming city. 


A large pipeline of candidates was identified that could be tapped into for this, as well as future searches.  Approximately 50 people were contacted, interviewed, and vetted, identifying 15-20 potential candidates.  Of these 15-20, there were 3 who were not just the right technical fit, but the right culture fit that we felt comfortable enough to present to the client.  

Once those three hit my desk, I began my own digging process. After asking deeper questions that figured out their level of experience in managing a network team in a production and trading environment, it turned out that of those 3, 2 of them only worked with low latency trading in an equities division. Of the two candidates submitted, one previously worked for a similar client for 8 years, making him an expert in reducing latency.

The client quickly extended an offer to one of the two, and is ecstatic with their new hire. The new hire is happy with his new position, and IT Accel is honored to have been involved in setting the appropriate strategy and finding the right person to help the client meet its diverse set of short and long-term goals.

True matchmaking and deep digging are two key success factors for getting the attention of your extremely busy recruiting targets that are not actively looking for a job. If you’re a hiring manager, supplement your digital approach with unique recruiting approaches that garner attention. Even though it is old-school, direct phone calls, in-person interviews, and sending paper messages should be part of every team’s recruiting arsenal. 

If you need help unloading this time-consuming process, reach out to a team member at IT Accel today!

— Kristina Marino