Four Places to Find Overlooked Talent

As the economy added 263,000 jobs in November and unemployment was at 3.7%, it became clear that hiring defied expectations of a slowdown. There is still a demand for experienced candidates, so how do we find skilled workers in this quest for talent? A successful recruiting strategy starts with acknowledging that you won’t solve your current hiring challenges by applying the solutions of the past. Most companies compete for the same narrow set of candidates, but you can gain an edge by hunting for talent where others are not.

What are the less common sources of talent?

New college grads
Every year scores of new college grads hit the streets eager to start meaningful work and find their career niche.  They are often met with resistance from companies due to lack of experience.  Historically, many businesses didn’t take a chance on new graduates believing that their contributions would be minimal.  These fledgling workers are trainable, resilient, and able to master the skills needed for the job. Employers can team with colleges and universities, go onsite to assess the talent pool, and start internship/recruitment programs to get grads into the organization while they are still in college. It could pay dividends to the corporation’s talent pool, expertise, and succession planning.

Older workers
AARP reports that workers age 50+ comprise a commanding 37.3% of the U.S. essential workforce. Yet even with strong representation in corporate America, surveys show that 3 in 5 older employees have experienced age bias in the workplace. This group was also hit harder by Covid-related layoffs than their younger counterparts. Today’s older worker is an irreplaceable asset of industry knowledge, skills, and qualifications. They have a command of workplace mechanics and have achieved numerous accomplishments through decades of shaping organizations. They already have a wealth of business acumen, so why not consider them to add value and improve results for the company? With thoughtful planning we can hire and cultivate qualified employees regardless of age.

Candidates reentering the workforce
Many people choose an absence during their career for any number of reasons. Some leave the workforce to care for children, parents, or pursue other interests in entrepreneurship.  As priorities change and they reenter the labor market, they often are met by reluctant employers because of their gap in service. Fortunately, the vast majority of these workers can pick up the skills and know-how easily with a little training and education, and typically provide a new perspective as they enter a company. In the past, gaps in résumés spelled doom for job seekers, but now many businesses are having success repatriating skilled labor back into the market.

Second chance hiring
It is estimated that 70 million in the U.S. have a criminal record. 1 in 3 people with a criminal history will struggle to obtain meaningful employment. In recent years, many corporations have changed their hiring practices to give nonviolent offenders a second chance. Building pathways for the formerly incarcerated helps not only those individuals, but also eases the organization’s workforce deficit. Most companies say that employees with nonviolent criminal records perform just as well.  Second chance hiring can make a significant impact on workers, employers, and the community by reducing unemployment and the rate of recidivism.

Leverage your brand
There is power in your company brand.  Organizations need to be active in the local communities where they live and work – charities, professional associations, webinars, and networking events are effective recruitment tools and provide visibility.  People applying for jobs at your business should understand what your brand means. You can be sure that they’re doing their research on Glass Door and other sites. What do the reviews say about your environment? Ensure that your values stand out in a positive way.

Challenge conventional methods
Nearly 41% of organizations say labor challenges are having a negative impact on their company’s operations. Businesses need to become resourceful in attracting talent. They must challenge their prior recruitment methods and consider candidate sources that are often overlooked. What unlikely sources will you consider to find the right employees?

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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