You’re Looking for Top Talent in the Wrong Places. 4 Best Practices to Follow When Hiring for Your Business

by Jason Harris on June 15, 2021 in Candidate Recruitment, Hiring


You’re Looking for Top Talent in the Wrong Places. 4 Best Practices to Follow When Hiring for Your Business.

Are you struggling to find qualified candidates for your open positions? Maybe you’re searching for specialized, in-demand skills or looking for someone with significant on the job experience. Often, finding the perfect employee with all the experience and skills you want is nearly impossible. That’s why, instead of assessing candidates based solely on a list of job requirements, it can be more efficient to search for qualified professionals who will be able to learn on the job and grow into the role.

When you’re searching for candidates for your next open position, consider these four best practices for hiring top talent for your business.

1. Prioritize the skills that matter most

You probably have an extensive list of skills you’re looking for in a future employee and, while a long wish list of qualifications is fine, it’s important to start your search for talent by prioritizing the skills that matter most. What skills or experience are absolutely crucial for a candidate to have? Which skills are nice to have but not essential to job success? And what skills can be taught or learned on the job? By focusing on the skills that matter most for your open role, you’ll be able to narrow your search to candidates with the background and experience you need most.

Next, consider a candidate’s soft skills and willingness to learn. What non-technical skills are important in your organization? Soft skills such as teamwork, communication, time management, critical thinking, and adaptability can be very valuable when searching for qualified candidates who will be a good fit for your business.

Now that you have a list of hard and soft skills that matter most for your open role, ensure your hiring process aligns with what you’re looking for. A recent survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation reported that 74% of HR leaders required the submission of specific credentials when hiring, but only 26% actually used those credentials in evaluating candidates. This can discourage candidates who might not have the credentials required from applying at all, meaning that your business could be missing out on great applicants with the skills you need simply because of the hiring process.

2. Ensure a cultural fit

In addition to job skills, you’re also searching for candidates who fit your company culture and values. Ensuring that job seekers are a good match for your business involves looking beyond the resume. As we’ve noted, you can usually train someone on the job in skills they might be missing.  You can’t exactly give employees a new personality, so hiring for cultural fit from the start is important. How can you determine if job seekers applying for your open position are a good match for your company? Here are a few ways to assess cultural fit:

  • Ask thoughtful interview questions about the candidate’s values, approach to work, and long-term career goals. Do they align with your company’s stated principles, mission, and work ethic?
  • Tell candidates what your company values are at the start of the hiring process by sharing important pieces of culture in the job description, on your website, in social posts, etc. This will help you attract great candidates who have shared values and want to work for your business.
  • Consider what a candidate might add to your company culture. Cultural fit doesn’t mean uniformity. What new ideas or fresh perspectives might a potential employee bring to your business?

3. Consider the long-term unemployed

As of April 2021, the U.S. unemployment rate was 6.1%. While this is a notable improvement from pandemic peaks of nearly 14%, the unemployment rate is still higher than it was pre-pandemic and a large number of people who lost jobs in the past year continue to search for work. When hiring for your business, it can be tempting to focus your search on candidates who are currently employed. However, you might be missing out on great candidates who are part of the long-term unemployed. The long-term unemployed can be workers laid off during the pandemic, but might also include parents who stayed home to raise children, candidates with significant contract work experience, and people with backgrounds in areas like elections and politics that have seasonal peaks.

Instead of avoiding candidates with gaps in their work history, consider these benefits to hiring job seekers who have been unemployed for 6 months or more:

  • They can start immediately and are more likely to be able to relocate if required.
  • An experienced candidate may accept a job at a lower level in order to rejoin the workforce, giving you a highly qualified employee with more skills and experience.
  • They will work hard to prove themselves and could be eager to learn new skills that will help them rebuild their career.

4. Review overlooked talent pools

Like the long-term unemployed, there are other groups of job seekers that get overlooked but might have exactly the kind of skills you’re searching for. For example, consider veterans, diverse generations of workers, and candidates with disabilities, all of whom can bring unique skills, experiences, and perspectives to your team. Increasing diversity in your workforce has proven business benefits and helps your organization better compete for top talent in the long run.

Another option for accessing pools of qualified talent is to partner with schools or training programs that help candidates develop the skills you’re seeking. By working with these programs, you can be part of creating pools of qualified talent and you’ll get early access to candidates who would be a great match for your open roles.

Last, consider working with a staffing partner who can introduce you to talent pipelines and networks of candidates you don’t have access to. A staffing partner will get to know your business and does the work of identifying and sourcing high quality candidates for your open roles, allowing you to focus on what you do best while they find great talent for your team.

Ready to start your search for high quality candidates with the skills and experience you need? Contact 1 is here to help! Reach out to learn more.


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