Five Ways to Win Top Talent in the Midst of a Shortage

Something significant happened at the end of 2018. For the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Labor recorded the largest gap between the number of job openings and unemployed people. While you might have missed the announcement, as an employer searching for talent, you’re likely feeling the effects of this condition. The near future doesn’t offer much relief: more than half of employers say they will increase headcount in 2019, but three-quarters are experiencing a skills shortage in their industry. As the candidate-driven market continues, what can employers do to win top talent in the midst of a massive talent shortage?

Grow your own

When top talent isn’t on the market, savvy organizations are growing their own talent, creating internal bench strength investing in training  and career development as well as increasing their hiring of people straight out of school.

Nearly 60% of employers have jobs that stay vacant for 12 weeks or longer. The average cost HR managers say they incur for having extended job vacancies is more than $800,000 annually, according to CareerBuilder research. Innovative education and training programs can help bridge this gap, helping employers build their talent in house.

Get on the road

“If you post the job, they will apply” doesn’t work in this job market. You may need to take your recruiting efforts on the road, attending trade shows, job fairs, and visiting colleges. When going far afield, you may need to consider offering relocation assistance to populate key rolls.

Millennials in particular are often willing and able to relocatemore than 85% of those 18-35 say they are willing to move to a new city for a job. Successfully recruiting millennials requires some creative tactics, read about some of them here.

Forego tradition

You may be limited your talent pool focusing on “traditional candidates.” Consider foregoing tradition, embracing talent that may not fall within your past conventions. For example:

  • Stop inflating requirements: Does the position really required candidates to have a four-year degree, for example?
  • Hire for potential: Rather than hire someone who held the same job at another company, consider hiring for an individual’s potential. This may mean offering assessment tests early in the hiring process to identify the quality of a candidate’s skillset.
  • Age up: Older workers bring a lifetime of skills, including the often-elusive soft skills like professionalism, written communications skills, analytical skills, and interpersonal skills. And at over 20% of the talent pool, you cannot afford to overlook 50+ workers.

 Reevaluate your runner-up candidates

Here’s a simple step that can save days or even weeks of searching: take a second look at candidates that didn’t quite make it to final round last time. Reassess their resumes, skills, and interview notes and see if they’re a good fit for another open role. These candidates have already made it through your screenings, so keep them as a first resource for future openings. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) makes this task even easier.

Keep the ones you’ve got

Once you’ve secured talent, you’ll want to ensure you’re doing everything possible to retain them. We’ve written before about the importance of employee engagement relating to retention rates, and one of the strongest engagement/retention factors relates to training and career development. Consider the following statistics:

  • 42% of employees say learning and development is the most important benefit when deciding where to work.
  • Offering career training and development would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current position.
  • 51% of employees would quit their job if training was not offered.
  • If a job lacks growth opportunities and avenues for leadership development, 67% of millennials would leave that position.

Successful employee recruiting, acquisition and training require long-term strategies, organizational commitment, and effective tools and resources. We assembled some resources to help you get started here.