4 Tips for Hiring During a Talent Shortage

In an economy that’s experiencing record-low unemployment rates, it’s no secret that finding the perfect candidate for the job can be a feat for modern hiring managers. The dreaded “talent shortage” is impacting companies across the nation, and many believe nothing can be done. After all, many job reports confirm that there just aren’t enough qualified applicants in today’s hiring pool to fill the plethora of open job positions—plain and simple.

But the phrase “talent shortage” is scaring some companies into practicing unwise, last-resort hiring methods, such as hiring the first candidate who has qualifications even remotely similar to the ones the position requires. And what’s the sense in acquiring employees who really can’t get the job done?

Hiring During a Talent Shortage

In reality, there are a lot of smart-hiring practices that your business can follow during a talent shortage to find those evasive top-talent candidates. So don’t let the talent shortage lead your company to a smart-hiring shortage—start adjusting your process so you can attract the qualified applicants you’re looking for.

Here are four tips for re-strategizing your hiring techniques in a talent shortage:

1. Speed Up the Hiring Process

Businesses who take too much time completing their hiring process are quickly losing out to competitors who prioritize flexibility and quick response times. Make sure you’re not falling by the wayside in a talent shortage just because you aren’t dedicating enough time to making a hiring decision.

Reduce the time it takes to hire a candidate by making each step of the process quicker and more efficient. Make a recruitment calendar so you can pre-define your timetable for reviewing resumes, interviewing applicants, and making your decision. Be flexible and accommodate the needs of the candidates by offering a wide range of available interview times and responding to phone calls and emails as soon as possible. Don’t wait to notify candidates when you have reached a hiring decision.

2. Try Divvying Up Responsibilities Between In-House Talent

While some positions may require you to seek outside hires, it’s worth exploring whether or not existing employees are qualified to take on new roles. By offering training and educational opportunities to your current staff for a chance to acquire new responsibilities, you may not need to hire additional employees at all. This way, you’re investing in building top talent instead of hunting it down.

You might also look for opportunities to transfer employees from one business location or department to another where they are more needed. This allows you to use the resources you already have to meet needs that are not currently being serviced, and some employees may even welcome transfers if they are looking for a location or department change.

What’s more, when you explore the possibilities of your in-house talent to fill new roles, you can save money by offering bonuses or raises to current employees instead of paying another salary completely. Plus, existing employees are already up-to-speed on company values and practices.

3. Reevaluate How Drug Testing Factors In

It may seem strange that you might lessen the degree to which a candidate’s drug use affects their employment eligibility, but the legalization of marijuana in 35 different states makes for a changing hiring environment. For example, some states such as New York and Maine have even prohibited screening for marijuana in pre-employment drug testing. Now may be the time to decide whether marijuana use really is an absolute no-go for your candidates.

Of course, if any candidate’s marijuana use poses a safety concern for a specific position, employers are obligated to include marijuana test in their drug and health screenings. In addition, some employees—regardless of which state they live in—may still be subject to drug testing both pre- and post-employment under federal law. However, if legal marijuana use will not affect candidates’ ability to perform the position you’re looking to fill, you may want to reassess whether or not to factor in a positive marijuana test to your hiring decision.

4. Consider “Second-Chance” Hiring

Right along with reevaluating how drug testing will impact your hiring decisions, you might also revisit your policies on hiring candidates with criminal records. Legislative action has encouraged this practice through “ban-the-box” laws, which prohibit employers from looking into a candidate’s criminal records until later in the hiring process so as to give ex-criminals a higher chance of reentering the workforce.

Though it may seem instinctive not to hire someone with a criminal record, you are severely (and perhaps unnecessarily) reducing your potential candidate list by not considering second-chance hiring.

One good solution is to conduct accurate criminal background checks that provide more information about a candidate’s crime, including when they were convicted, what they were convicted for, and any details that might affect their ability to perform the position for which they are applying. Understanding these specifics can help you identify whether someone’s criminal record is really worth passing on them as a potential employee. Their crime may not bear any impact on the position, and their skill set may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Dealing with a talent shortage can be stressful, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up on looking for top talent to fill empty positions. By considering other avenues such as hiring in-house or reevaluating the bearing of drug use and criminal records on a candidate’s eligibility, you expand your hiring pool and increase your chances of finding the right person for the job.