So far in the new decade, the unemployment rate has sat at a low 3.6% and the labor force participation rate has continued to increase, currently at 63.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A thriving job market is excellent news, specifically for job seekers. It’s no secret it’s a candidate-driven market, meaning organizations are competing with each other to attract and retain top talent. In fact, according to a ManpowerGroup survey, attracting and retaining skilled workers has rarely been more challenging as 69% of U.S. companies report talent shortages – the highest in over a decade! Now more than ever, recruiting is absolutely essential for organizations.
At some point during the hiring process, you may feel as though there are no more eligible candidates to source – you’ve sifted through all the ‘qualified’ resumes. But in today’s hyper-competitive job market, when proactively searching for hirable talent to join your team, you need to be open-minded when assessing candidates. This means taking a chance on applicants who don’t check off every requirement you expect. As experienced Staffing Consultants, every day we tell employers to be flexible with their hiring criteria and consider looking at nontraditional candidates. Here’s why hiring ‘unexpected’ candidates can help solve your talent shortage and make your organization more competitive in the long run.
Hiring someone who doesn’t check off all your boxes and doesn’t seem to be a typical fit with your organization’s culture will actually make your team more inclusive in many ways. A nontraditional candidate may have an unusual professional background like working in a completely different industry or has a large employment gap. Or maybe they have a different academic background than what you usually hire such as having completed an online degree at a University. Someone who has an unconventional background may lack certain qualifications you are looking for but, they can offer new, unique perspectives and approaches to the team. In reality, you could be missing out on top talent by hiring the ‘safer’ choice.
If you are struggling to find candidates with a certain degree, try lowering your educational requirements. Rather than only looking at candidates who attended an accredited school, have a particular GPA, or specific degree, consider alternatives. The same goes for organizations that are looking for candidates who have knowledge and experience with a specific, sometimes rare, program or software. Ask yourself if this requirement can be taught through employee training or an online course. Don’t discount a great candidate if they are missing one skill that can be learned.
Remember, talent is picking you, not the other way around. When interviewing, broaden your talent pool and focus on the individual’s career motives and skills rather than their experience or a specific requirement.
Hiring the same type of people for your organization is a common practice by hiring managers and typically, they don’t even know they are doing it. Falling into this hiring cycle actually creates an environment where employees have more similarities than differences. Sourcing from untapped resources and hiring nontraditional candidates will diversify your workforce and you will hire goal-oriented, engaged employees. The next time you are hiring, be open and take a chance on these professionals!
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