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The Roadmap to Recruiting Top Candidates

Highly-skilled workers will always be in demand regardless of the economy. When you've got a job open and there are very specific criteria and skills you need, it can be a bit of a challenge to find and land the right candidate. It's going to take some creativity and some flexibility on your part.

Here are some of the steps that can help you recruit and hire highly-skilled workers in today's environment.

Create the Profile

Often in job listings, employers ask for the perfect candidates. They list every item on their wish list. What that can do, however, is prevent qualified candidates that don't match every criterion from applying.

Instead, create your wish list and then pare it down to the essential qualities you must have in a candidate. When the items are non-negotiable, it stops those without the necessary qualifications from applying but opens up the potential candidate pool to more people. The wish list may help you differentiate between candidates and move them up or down your priority list, but if it's not something you absolutely must have, don't make it a requirement.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees started working at home for the first time or more frequently. Many will be looking for the same accommodation in a new position. When creating your profile, you'll need to decide whether you are going to allow remote work, flexible hours, or any other accommodations workers now enjoy.

Avoid Boilerplate Language

When highly-skilled workers are looking to change employers, you're going to have to do more than just list the qualifications you require. You're going to need to do some "selling" on your part to grab someone's attention and get them interested. If you are going to offer remote work, for example, that may be the one thing that gets someone to read your job listing. It might also open up your candidate pool from just local job seekers.

Highly-skilled workers have a unique skill set that's transferable to other organizations. For the worker, most jobs they look at will be similar in nature. How can you make yours stand-out from the pack? Examine your benefits program and perks that you offer that may shift the balance in your favor.

It's also important to be able to differentiate what's different about your company's culture. Highly-skilled workers want to work in the right environment that fits them.

The Best Highly-Skilled Workers May Not Be in the Job Market

When you're looking for employees in a high-demand field, there are two things to keep in mind:

  • The candidates that are seeking jobs will have plenty of options in where they work
  • The best candidates are too busy working to look for another position. They may be happy where they are or they haven't taken the time to explore other options.

To reach the passive job seekers, you've got to be aggressive. This means putting together an outreach program. Here are some of the approaches that companies find valuable:

  • Industry-specific job fairs
  • Social media
  • Mentorships and training programs
  • Referrals or offering incentives for referrals
  • Niche job boards
  • Industry associations

Because of the time and expense, many companies seek staffing agencies to help, especially when it involves high-profile or highly-skilled workers.

Targeting Passive Job Seekers

When targeting passive job seekers, you'll need to be able to quickly explain why you've got a better opportunity. Remember, you're selling them on your job and not the other way around. This means you'll need to have a better salary, culture, or benefits (or all three) to make your position attractive.

During the conversation with passive job candidates, it helps if you can probe for anything that they are not happy in their current position. This may give you an opening to discuss how your company addresses their situation. If you can uncover a motivating factor and provide a better alternative, it will open the door to further discussion.

It's crucial that you think these things through before starting to connect with passive candidates.

One of the difficulties in targeting passive job seekers is that they may be comfortable in their current positions already. You may not be able to follow the typical apply, assess, test, and interview process you use for other positions. Highly-skilled workers will be less likely to invest the time in your process, let alone take skills tests unless you've given them a significant reason to do so. The key to hiring passive highly-skilled workers will be flexibility.

Closing the Deal

When it's time to close the deal with highly-skilled workers, make sure your offer sums up everything you've talked about. This is probably not the time to lowball someone. Your offer needs to be competitive and, in many cases, better than the industry standards if you want to get top-tier candidates to switch jobs.

Highly-skilled workers know they are in demand. If they are interested in making a move, they'll do the research to understand their value and won't hesitate to use it to their advantage. Even if you've provided a great package in your offer, it's likely the best candidates will try to negotiate a better offer. If they're happy where there are right now, they have nothing to lose in trying to create the perfect environment for themselves.

Another thing to consider is that the company they work for now may not be happy to let them go without a fight. Their current employer may match or beat your offer to try to retain top talent. That's why it's so important to identify early on what's missing from the current situation than you can provide them.

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