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Creative Ways to Overcome Talent Shortages

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Tech. Sales. Engineering. If these terms make you cringe, you’ve probably been dealing with talent shortages. Manpower’s 2016-17 Talent Shortage Survey found the hardest roles to fill are those in the skilled trades, sales, IT and engineering and it’s all because of skills shortages.

To bridge the gaps, staffing firms have to seek out new strategies to find qualified candidates. Here are a few creative ideas to help you deal with talent shortages.

Skilled Trades: Use Social Media

Chances are, your social media game is already pretty strong, but you may not be targeting the right candidates with it — and that can hurt when you’re looking for people in the skilled trades.

One of the biggest reasons it’s hard to source skilled-trades workers is demographics: Economic Modeling Specialists International says almost 19 percent of all skilled-trades workers are nearing retirement age, and more than half are older than 45. There’s a shortage of workers anyway, and many of them aren’t in the top demographic for using social media. With these candidates, staffing firms may be more likely to rely on phone contact and other tactics to source them.

But demographics can work the other way as well: Younger candidate pools tend to be more socially savvy. As millennials finish apprenticeships or trade-school degrees, they’ll be looking for jobs online and perusing social media for opportunities. Ensure your social recruiting includes skilled-trades targets to cast the net as widely as possible.

Tech: Look at Portfolio Sites

Finding people with IT skills is a perennial challenge — IT staff ranked second on Manpower’s list of hard-to-find candidates, and any staffing firm knows that dealing with these talent shortages is a major issue for clients. One idea is to go where the candidates are — and it’s not always where you think.

Instead of using traditional sites like LinkedIn, some people with strong technical skills congregate in specialized communities where they can showcase portfolios of their achievements. GitHub, for example, is an online community where software developers share ideas and show off their skills. These specialized sites can be a great place for recruiters to source highly skilled IT candidates.

Sales: Build a Pipeline Before You Have a Need

As part of your creative strategy, dedicate some time to looking for candidates when you don’t need them. This may seem counterintuitive — after all, you need candidates with skills now — but it’s important to spend part of your time building a bench of solid candidates to prepare for future needs.

This is especially useful for sales. A survey by Bridge Group says more than a third of currently employed salespeople will turn over in the next year, which means a sizable chunk of now-employed salespeople are likely to be available for your candidate pool when you need them down the road. Cultivating relationships over time will ensure you’re the one they call when they want to move on.

All Roles: Dig Deeper

We know an applicant tracking system is often seen as the best source for candidates. But are you doing the right searches to find what you need?

Cross-referencing your ATS with social networks, search engines and talent communities can show you candidates’ updated skills and experiences. And don’t eliminate candidates just because they’ve gotten a new job recently — it doesn’t mean they’re happy with it. According to Gallup, 40 percent of employees aren’t engaged during what’s supposed to be a “honeymoon” period — the first six months of their work.

Tech tools and building relationships are always a key part of sourcing candidates. By refocusing these tactics and widening your scope, you’re likely to be more successful in sourcing hard-to-find skills.

Are you in the process of planning your sourcing strategies for 2017? Learn how your staffing firm stacks up and use data to set your growth strategy for next year and beyond.