Strategies to combat a talent shortage

Published: 02/07/19

With many industries like supply chain management, manufacturing and technology continuing to experience talent shortages, what can be done?

Illustration of hands reviewing job applications, with text that reads "How to overcome a talent shortage."

In working with our clients, we’ve often heard the phrase “war for talent”, and that’s not an exaggeration. Finding talent for many industries such as supply chain management, manufacturing, technology and cybersecurity, or in regions like Silicon Valley is difficult.

So what can your company do to win this war over talent? Here are a few strategies to get you started:

Review your job descriptions

Be specific when writing your job descriptions. If your job descriptions aren’t specific enough, you can end up with unqualified candidates applying for your positions. Approach your descriptions as an outsider and ask “would I apply for this job?” There are several components to keep in mind when writing great job descriptions, check out our top tips. Beyond reviewing your own job descriptions, evaluate your competitor’s descriptions as well. Are they doing something differently to attract more candidates?

You should also take a look at the requirements listed for candidates. Are they realistic enough or are you searching for that purple squirrel? Evaluate which requirements are non-negotiable and which you can be more lenient with. For example, does your candidate need 10 years of experience or could you hire a candidate with 5 years of experience who is willing to participate in ongoing training? Could they work remotely instead of in the office? Of course you don’t need to stretch every requirement, but being flexible on a few could work to your benefit – and make your company that much more attractive to the talent you’re seeking.

Talk with current employees

If you don’t already measure your employee engagement, now may be a good time to start. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a large formal survey, but discussing with current employees to learn their thoughts on your company can help when recruiting new talent.

Be sure to ask questions like “what makes you stay with the company” and “what areas can we improve on” to learn not only your strengths, but your potential challenges as well. The answers you get about what’s important to your employees may surprise you. Having a holistic view of your company will help your recruitment efforts. Instead of promoting Ping Pong Fridays, lunch-and-learns may be a better way to find those candidates that will fit with your organization.

Evaluate your website

With so many recruiting tools and websites available, how do you know which ones are the right fit for your company and ideal candidates? Many companies tend to just post openings on the major job boards, but before you post on an external site, take a look at your careers site – after all, these external sources link back to your website. Even if you don’t have a full careers website, it’s important to provide enough information for candidates to learn about the company and your culture. And in today’s mobile world, having a responsive site is key to reaching more candidates. 

Try new tactics

Once your website is up to speed, then you can explore other outlets and platforms. We’ve seen the rise of both Facebook and Google in the recruiting world. Depending on your industry, there are even specific platforms available like Thumbtack or Upwork where many freelance or independent designers and developers visit when looking for openings.

Make the most of internal resources

Beyond hiring externally, there are internal options to consider as well. For example, many larger corporations have training and development programs starting early in an employee’s career to prepare them for management and beyond. You may not be a 500 person company, but internal development early on can help when you have an opening down the road.

Employee referrals are another option. Your own employees or clients may have an ideal candidate for your organization. Utilizing these networks can be beneficial.  Plus, your current employees are already familiar with your company and culture, so their recommendations tend to be a good fit – and that cuts your recruiting costs.

These are just the beginning. Want to discuss your current recruitment tactics and how we can improve your results? Get in touch with our team!