Unconventional Hiring Tactics in a Zero Unemployment Market

Tri-state area talent acquisition professionals recently gathered for breakfast and a highly informative panel discussion sponsored by the Talent Acquisition Knowledge Network (TAKN). There, a team of area talent acquisition leaders shared strategies on how they source and attract top candidates in today’s competitive market. Read on for tips to overcome these challenges or spark new ideas on tackling the persistent talent shortage in the tri-state area.

Re-Engineer Your Internal Hiring Model

Fishing in the same candidate pool for every new position ultimately limits your hiring potential. Reliance on job boards, referral programs, and even LinkedIn is waning as these strategies no longer produce the same results. Tri-state employers are re-evaluating their internal HR models, with some embedding internal recruiters within specific business units. This approach enables recruiters to better understand distinct business functions and hiring specifications, and in turn, coach hiring managers how to evaluate soft skills and convey why their company is a great place to work. Most importantly, it increases speed-to-hire when both functions operate cohesively.

Re-Prioritize Job Specs and Candidate Profiles

A willingness to reprioritize candidate profiles and job specifications can also expand your talent pool. Start by outlining the ideal qualities you’re looking for in each candidate. Then, look beyond their education and experience and focus specifically on their natural leadership, motivation, communication, and emotional intelligence characteristics. With that as a starting point, you can begin to accurately rank essential technical requirements for that role.

If an otherwise great fit has technical proficiency in the skill you seek but lacks certification, consider offering the chance to earn it as part of their compensation package. Recently, tech giants like IBM, Apple, and Google have eliminated the  4-year college degree requirement for many roles, opening up an enormous pipeline of potential candidates. For skills that can be quickly acquired, companies are enhancing their professional development initiatives, like lunch-and-learns, access to off-site seminars, conferences, and meet-ups. These enable new hires to learn required skills, while seasoned employees can further expand their knowledge base.

Re-Activate Previous Candidates and Employees

Remember that candidate who made it to the final round? Most likely they were equally qualified but bested because of a subjective quality or timing issue. These candidates are already familiar with, and have shown interest in, working for your company. As long as things were left things on good terms, you can leverage your previous discussions and reconnect about another role.

The same goes for former employees. Whether due to retirement, situational family circumstances, or even having left for a better offer, it’s worth reaching out to assess if there’s an opportunity or interest to return full-time or on a consulting basis. Either way, their existing institutional knowledge and skill sets will make onboarding a breeze.

Re-Imagine Your Campus Recruitment and Internship Strategies

Across the board, the TAKN panel stressed the importance of developing cohesive campus recruitment and internship strategies. These include everything from career fair kits and college candidate tracking systems, to multi-tiered internship programs that include theoretical projects, competitions, social opportunities, and of course, great swag! Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at how your company can capitalize on well-defined campus recruitment and internship strategies.

Re-Brand Your Candidate Marketing Model

The importance of both employer and benefits branding was another area the TAKN panel considered critical to talent attraction. Companies that offer meaningful benefits and a culture tailored to today’s workforce have a clear hiring advantage. Here’s what they had to say:

Many younger employees prefer to pay off student debt rather than contribute to their 401K. Smart companies are implementing plans that allow employees to divert employer contributions to either a student loan or retirement program within their specified enrollment period. Other employees look for generous parental leave programs that offer paid parental leave to both the mother and the father. Pay-for-performance models abandon traditional annual reviews in favor of a bonus or salary increase tied to exemplary performance. Another valuable tactic is branded benefits, including a branded web-based benefits calculator. There, both potential and existing employees can evaluate how much their benefit elections contribute to their overall compensation package.

Re-Use Your Resources

A final technique to capture talent is by utilizing existing resources to develop insightful content. Top candidates choose innovative employers who are knowledgeable and progressive in their markets. Consider developing new or curated content that highlights your company’s knowledge and innovation base. For example, gather your in-house experts and start a podcast where they discuss upcoming trends, industry news, or advice on a specific product or technology. Create a YouTube channel, post videos, or host webinars of pros teaching niche skills, explaining how to use certain functions, or conducting a product demo. When done correctly, quality content creation can boost your company culture, elevate its perception in the marketplace and serve as a powerful talent acquisition and retention tool.

Still struggling to uncover top IT professionals? Our team can help. Reach out today and let us know what you need.
TAKN Breakfast
Jennifer Saravay, Director of Talent Acquisition at Consumer Reports; Darryl Ramey, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition Branding & Strategic Partnerships at HARMAN International Industries, Inc.; Kathleen Gallagher, Director of Human Resources at Owl Cyber Defense

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