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Recruitment Approaches in a Workforce Shortage: The Do’s & Don’ts

Erin Iafelice

The first several months of 2021 have left many TA professionals feeling like the boy who cried wolf. The current crisis is a workforce shortage, whereas a year ago, the trouble was finding the few top talents in a swelling sea of candidates. Nearly opposite challenges requiring different recruiting approaches, but both very real. Consider this: Organizations not only cannot find enough quality candidates they would want to hire, but they also cannot find enough workers even if they hired every single candidate who applied.

The news is filled with stories of organizations forced to increase compensation and offer signing or retention bonuses to hire the workforce they need to ramp up during this economic recovery. However, there are other recruiting approaches you can use as alternatives or as complementary strategies. Here are some do’s and don’ts that will help you respond effectively during this workforce shortage.   

Don’t Stop Using Pre-Hire Assessments

This is a common reaction to low candidate flow during a workforce shortage. The thinking goes that some selection processes narrow an already slim candidate pool and that the value of pre-hire assessments drops when the reality is you need to hire nearly every candidate. However, the fact is, when organizations stop using pre-hire assessments, they see the quality of hire go down and turnover increase. Plus, there is no guarantee that eliminating pre-hire assessments will impact candidate flow.

Instead of eliminating this critical step in hiring, make some adjustments. First, do lower or temporarily remove cut scores on assessments to increase pass rates. Next, do offer secondary “soft cuts” that require some authorization for areas with difficulty sourcing. Both strategies help you deal with low candidate flow without compromising on the quality of hire.

Do Identify and Eliminate Friction Points in Your Hiring Process

Examine every part of your hiring process to see where you could remove low-value, high-resource requirement steps, like a hiring manager interview, and rely more on validated tools such as pre-hire assessments. Less friction creates better hiring experiences for candidates and allows you to move them smoothly to the job offer stage faster. If you get pushback on adjusting your process, make your case for the value of a faster, data-driven recruitment approach in a challenging hiring environment.

Do Use AI to Reduce Bias

Part of your response to low candidate flow should be an objective evaluation of every candidate that’s free of preconceived ideas about that person. Modern Hire’s science-based virtual hiring platform leverages AI to eliminate bias in hiring. The focus is on candidates’ job-relevant core competencies and advanced predictive analytics to identify the candidates who will perform well on the job. The elimination of bias is a recruiting approach that works in every hiring environment – candidate shortage or overabundance – and can help recruiting teams build a diverse workforce. Learn more about how AI can create a fair, more transparent, and objective hiring process in this free downloadThe Future Is Fair: How AI Is Eliminating Bias.

Don’t Rely on The Usual Talent Sources

When demand outpaces supply, it’s time to increase your investment in sourcing and recruiting initiatives to widen your candidate pools. Here are several directions to think about:

  • Engage with military veteran networks and websites. Take time to understand how veterans’ competencies could translate to your work environment and work with your hiring team to build that understanding into your hiring process.  
  • Recruit qualified candidates with disabilities. Reach out to American Job Centers and community networks that serve people with disabilities.
  • Consider remote employees. Remote work has become the norm for many organizations. Could requirements for some hard-to-fill positions be changed to hire employees who are not in the local area?
  • Reconnect with college career centers. Many internships and graduate hiring programs were put on pause in 2020. There’s a pool of candidates out there eager to start their professional lives.
  • Give virtual job fairs a try. You don’t have to hold your own virtual job fair to try this recruiting approach. A Google search can bring up virtual job fairs looking for employers by state, by industry, and with specific types of positions to fill. 

Do Reduce Time to Fill

Don’t keep candidates waiting! Every delay in your hiring process represents an opportunity for candidates to accept a different offer. You can reduce time to fill by integrating tools like text interviewing and automated interview scheduling.

These recruiting approaches will help you adjust to the current talent shortage and create hiring experiences that keep candidates engaged until you’re ready to make the offer. For deeper insights into the causes of the workforce shortage and how candidate behavior is changing, download our latest white paper, Workforce Shortage: How to Staff During a Pandemic Recovery.