Inventive Recruitment Strategies for a Challenging Marketplace

Inventive Recruitment Strategies for a Challenging Marketplace


Whether your company is undergoing a growth spurt, replacing employees who have elected to pursue other opportunities, or simply looking for some short-term expertise on a new business endeavor, recruiting quality talent is an ever-present need. In today’s tight labor market, however, employers must adapt their recruitment strategy to fit the needs of job seekers and attract this in-demand talent pool.

According to PwC’s 20th Annual Global CEO Survey, 77% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skill sets in the market, and their fears certainly aren’t unfounded. While employee retention is certainly an important component of the equation, finding and hiring new workers is essential to the future growth and success of your organization. In our candidate-driven marketplace, you will need to leverage available resources and exercise some creativity in order to differentiate your company from competitors. Here are some outside-the-box ideas for busy managers who are looking to inject some new blood into their talent pipeline. 


Consider Untapped Markets

As of August 2017, we maintained a low 4.4% unemployment rate. This percentage, however, conceals some of the larger unemployment numbers that exist among certain classes of individuals – those who do not possess a high school diploma, Native Americans, teenagers, and African Americans. Many employers either overlook these reservoirs of talent or do not have the manpower to explore these groups of people. There are certainly instances where this tactic won’t be applicable – case in point, a lawyer will hold a degree - but tapping into these networks should be one of the strategies in your arsenal of recruiting methods.

Incorporating veterans and immigrants into your hiring initiatives will also open up new areas to scout talent. Vets have the work ethic and leadership skills proven for success and helping them transition back into the workforce is a great way to support your community. If journeying down this road sounds like it could be a fit for your company, visit the Department of Labor for assistance with hiring qualified vets. Likewise, many communities have dedicated service centers for recent immigrants or refugees that can serve as a valuable resource for finding new job seekers. 

Broaden Your Efforts

Expand upon your typical ‘go-to’ recruitment tools and spread your focus across multiple channels. If you ordinarily use job boards as the sole vehicle for advertising your open positions, try branching out and posting on social media. Whether you decide to attend weekly networking events, setup a booth at a local career fair, or host a continuing education class for individuals in the industry, shake-up your usual recruitment methods.

Don’t forget to seek out referrals from your staff members. Try targeting your efforts to a specific field or type of individual that you’re looking to recruit. If your business is largely seasonal, for example, and you typically employ teenagers, connect with employees in this age bracket. They will be able to help you uncover ways to find and attract more teenagers that adhere to their particular interests and habits.

Client Referrals

On a similar note, reach out to your network of customers. Not only do they have a robust understanding of what your company does, but they can also act as brand ambassadors for your business. Use your company’s newsletter or deploy a targeted email blast to help spread the word. Get creative - devise a small contest where the prize is free products or services, or hold a small luncheon for valued clients where you can discuss the company’s expansion plans. You may even discover that one of your clients is interested in hearing about job opportunities themselves. Just be sure to tread lightly here, as you would never want to jeopardize the business relationship that you've built with their firm.

Stop Neglecting Employment Gaps

Way too often, a resume is instantly thrown in the ‘decline’ pile due to an employment gap. Of course, there are a multitude of occasions where this may be warranted, but there are many talented individuals that get overlooked without the opportunity to discuss their hiatus. One plausible explanation is the candidate took an extended leave to care for their newborn. Stay-at-home moms and dads shouldn’t be barred from candidacy. In fact, many employers are beginning to incorporate reintegration strategies into their hiring process.

Additionally, after the economy was ravaged by the recession, it changed the way many individuals approached their job search. Procuring a job was extremely difficult during this time and even qualified job seekers, who would’ve easily landed a new role under normal economic circumstances, were being turned down. This left people feeling discouraged and forced to seek opportunities outside traditional employment standards. This doesn’t make these individuals inferior – especially in such a tight labor market where employers cannot afford to be overly picky.

Modify Required Qualifications

When applications are flooding your ATS, you’re able to select the candidate with the highest level of education, most applicable work experience, and once interviewed, the most infectious personality. However, when applicants are trickling in like a broken faucet, you’re left with slim pickings. To help boost applicant flow and widen your reach, it may be time to reevaluate your requirements for the position. Is a master’s degree really critical to the success of the role?

Take time to sit down with your team and reassess your ‘must-have’ requirements versus what can be downgraded to a ‘preferred’ or ‘nice-to-have’ qualification. This doesn’t mean you should completely alter all of the job requirements at once. Make a small revision and then monitor how that change effects your candidate flow and quality.

Always Keep Your Eyes Peeled

The workday may end with the setting sun, but those with a recruiting or sales-centric mindset know that the hunt never really stops. Whether you're picking up a gift at the mall, depositing a check, or traveling on public transportation, you never know when you may unexpectedly stumble across someone who electrifies you with their charisma. These individuals may be viable candidates. That's why you should always be evaluating skill sets and never rule out a chance encounter as a recruiting opportunity. 

The skills gap appears to be a trend that will impact the American workforce for quite some time. Retiring baby boomers, Generation Z carrying a much smaller percentage of workers into the job circuit compared to their Millennials predecessors, and our economy's projected continuation in growth will bring about many hiring challenges. Employers should regularly revamp their recruitment methods in order to remain competitive and adhere to the demanding needs of the marketplace. 


Interested in learning more about how to navigate the current labor market?

Recruiting in a Tight Labor Market