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Talent Shortages Forcing Employers to Change Hiring Tactics, According to Robert Half

Posted on January 3, 2018

It is a great thing that unemployment is as low as it is (around 2% for college-educated workers), but there is a downside: employers are now facing a talent shortage of epic proportions.

Staffing firm Robert Half recently surveyed CFOs, and found that many are having to get creative with their recruiting practices.

"With skilled professionals in short supply, hiring strategies that worked well a few years ago may no longer be effective," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. "Smart businesses are retooling their recruiting practices to feed the talent pipeline."

Casting a Wider Net

To cast a wider net, 51% of executives are considering entry-level applicants for roles that historically weren't open to them, and an equal percentage are expanding their search geographically.

Other strategies include bringing on interim professionals, shortening the recruiting process and loosening job criteria.

Robert Half offers the following advice for employers:

  • Re-examine your hiring criteria. Identify must-have attributes and skills that can be taught on the job. Develop a strong onboarding program to help new employees get up to speed quickly and learn your company's systems and processes.
  • Amp up active recruitment. Long gone are the days when you can advertise a job opening and wait for skilled professionals to apply. Keep your eyes and ears open. No matter what type of event you are at, be ready to describe your company's exciting job opportunities.
  • Consider remote options. Give potential employees the option to work remotely, if the nature of the job allows for it. This flexibility enables you to tap a wider base of professionals.
  • Partner with a recruiter. Staffing professionals can help you quickly find and secure candidates you may not be able to identify on your own. They'll also handle other aspects of the hiring process such as posting job openings, interviewing applicants, checking references, extending offers and negotiating compensation.
  • Leverage employee referrals. Ask employees if they know people who would be good additions to the team, as your staff is more likely to refer candidates who they think will be a good fit. Implementing an employee referral program can also be a powerful recruiting tool.

Job seekers get rightly frustrated when they learn that employers are having a hard time finding workers. What’s happening is that employers need specialized skills, and there’s a real squeeze in some areas of the market. But the squeeze is getting tighter, and the number of job categories affected is getting bigger.

Hopefully, this all adds up to higher wages and a greater abundance of opportunity.