The long play: Our approach to hiring

Susie IsphordingStrategic Talent ExecutivePosted July 20, 2022

We live in an age of instant gratification. Technology has allowed us to have answers at our fingertips.  Communicating is as easy as a text message or post on social media. But whatever happened to “slow and steady wins the race?” Or, as I like to call it in recruiting, the long play. This is our approach to hiring great talent. 

The long play consists of a two-fold combination of being present in the moment and building relationships with others. This is relevant in recruiting because if misused, you could miss out on a golden opportunity to connect with a great person, even if they can’t fulfill an immediate job.  

At my first IT recruiting job, I was trained to “smile and dial.”  Make as many calls as possible in a day until I find the right person for the job. There was little to no emphasis on relationship building, and the main focus was increasing output. Ten months in, with no successful hires, I started questioning if this was the right industry for me. Once I decided to stick it out and give recruiting another shot with a different company, I quickly learned the importance of making every contact count.   

Fast forward to 2018, when I decided to join Agility Partners. I had thankfully remained in the IT space as a recruiter, and now I had the chance to join a company that mirrors my values as a professional.  Service with Purpose and Passion is my all-time favorite of our five core values. The reason being is that it challenges us to focus on the individual, not the job we’re trying to fill. We make it our goal to listen to what each person tells us and understand that we might not have the right position now, but we likely will in the future!   

One of my proudest moments professionally happened a couple of weeks ago, and it is the epitome of the long play at play (literally). A person I had spoken to in 2020 was (and still is) a total rock star of a candidate. Their personality is outgoing, personable, and unique, and their skills in IT are top-notch. I felt like I had the perfect fit for one of the jobs I was working on. However, they did not necessarily see it the way I did. I was bummed but understood. At other jobs, I would have been coached to either submit the candidate anyway to see what happens or just pick up the phone and move on. Instead, I listened to the candidate and vowed to keep in touch, which we did over the last two years. I regularly checked in, occasionally shared job opportunities, and even made several attempts to revisit the original position I had discussed with them. Then, one fateful day, this person reached out to me to seriously start their job search. I was ecstatic!   

They were in a unique situation because they had been with the same company for a decade. I shared several job descriptions and companies with this candidate, and we found the right match.  There was a little hesitancy to take the leap and go through with the final interview, but once they did, it was apparent this was the right move and an obvious career progression.  It was a quick turnaround, and I could get the candidate hired in a few days. Well... two years and a few days. I attribute all this to the long play and putting the candidate’s wants and needs ahead of anything else.  

At the end of the day, this candidate wanted to work with me not because I had the perfect job but because I took a consultative approach and maintained a 'no-pressure' demeanor. I am proud of the recruiter I have become even more proud to work for a company that supports the value of relationship building and providing our services with purpose and passion! 

Let’s start a connection and see how a relationship with Agility Partners can help you with your next career move! 


Susie Isphording Susie is a Strategic Talent Executive at Agility Partners. Her recruiting specialties include project managers, scrum masters, product managers, and project leads.