11 Tools for Recruiting Hard-to-Fill Jobs

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11 Tools for Recruiting Hard-to-Fill Jobs

Recruiting for new, specialized, or highly technical positions requires a different approach than past years. Some of these jobs didn't exist 10 years ago, while others require such specialized experience or specific technical skills that older recruiting methods don't suffice. In any case, the need to find talent for these hard-to-fill jobs is forcing many employers to consider using other recruiting strategies beyond job boards and advertising.

Employers that excel at recruiting hard-to-fill positions have moved beyond traditional recruiting techniques like job boards and advertising by tapping into their existing employees' networks, building online strategies, and uniquely targeting their marketing to prospective candidates. Their recruiting methods are more strategic, sales and marketing-based, and make greater use of existing employees as talent scouts as opposed to just recruiters and HR staff.

Based on research we've conducted on how employers successfully land talent for hard-to-fill jobs, here are 11 effective tools to recruit hard-to-fill jobs.

1. Referrals.

Employers consistently say that referrals are their best source for talent. Employees' online and personal networks of friends, past coworkers, and family allow organizations to tap into thousands of potential employees. While incentives and bonuses can help motivate referrals, successful referral programs often have a strong cultural basis in which employees are expected and want to help build the organization's talent base.

Customers are also an ideal referral source, though more underutilized. Customers already know the organization, are likely engaged, contain numerous passive prospects, and are easy/cost-effective to access.

2. User Groups.

Networking with local user groups in specific technical fields is a key way that some employers are finding technical talent. User groups exist for specific programming languages and systems (i.e. Java groups, etc.) to provide a support system for technical users, but can also be beneficial for employers. They provide access to dozens of professionals with specialized knowledge.

3. Niche Communities.

There are many niche communities, websites, and job boards online which can serve as databases of potential job candidates. These not only exist to post jobs, but also to help professionals network and remain relevant in their field. For very specific positions, niche groups, websites, and staffing firms can be helpful in finding the right candidate.

4. Content Marketing.

Content marketing for recruiting captures job seekers' interest in your company indirectly by creating and distributing unique and interesting content that matters to your prospective job seekers. This content can build your reputation as an employer of choice, generate interest in your organization or the careers you offer, and help applicants find your company easily when they search online. Holding events or continuing education opportunities is also another way to establish content and get to know/recruit talent.

5. Contests.

Sponsor a creative contest related to your business which can help you access talented employees. A contest can help your organization receive PR and also drive applicants. An added bonus is that you can evaluate prospective candidates' abilities in the process. These contests may also help you solve a complex work-related problem for a minimal cost.

6. Social Media.

Network in LinkedIn groups and post jobs, establish Twitter "Careers" accounts, use job-relevant Twitter hash tags, create Facebook pages, and develop YouTube videos and/or a blog to recruit, network with, share information, and post visual elements of your company with candidates.

Also, encourage not just your recruiters and HR staff to use social media to find candidates, but all of your employees. Provide training to certain employees, especially functional hiring managers, on how to build online social networks and use them to network with other talent online.

7. Networking.

If you don't already pay for your employees to participate and network in industry groups, conferences, and related events for their own development, you are missing out on opportunities for them to network with other talent. Also, consider sending employees to events that are not just job fairs, like industry meetings and community fundraisers.

8. Youth.

Many employers that succeed in filling hard-to-fill positions have targeted youth and young adults early in their careers. Their strategies include implementing job shadowing programs for high school students, creating internship programs, conducting college recruiting, and hiring entry-level grads.

9. Non-Traditional Marketing.

Where are your prospective applicants? What do they do in their spare time? What are their hobbies and interests? What do they read? Collect this biographical information from your current and/or prospective employees and advertise/market where your ideal job candidates are likely to be.

10. Job Ads.

Instead of highlighting the facts about the job (like the job description) in your job ads, try using more attractive language that showcases the benefits and rewards of working at your organization. This will make your ad stand out from others and emphasizes aspects that are most important to job candidates like the perks of working at your company or the interesting and challenging projects candidates can expect to do.

11. Total Rewards.

Last but not least, make sure your salaries and total rewards are in line with what is offered for similar types of talent. Gather information from salary surveys, competitors, and the general labor market. Competitive or above average compensation is a leading attribute that talent seeks in their job search.

Use feedback like exit interviews, interviews with candidates, and employee feedback to shape compensation and total rewards. This information may suggest that you need to take a second look at what you are paying and offering to people. Several top employers take this feedback into consideration and use it to create a lucrative compensation and total rewards package.

While finding qualified job candidates for hard-to-fill positions is no easy task, these methods are effective ways to help enhance the prospects of landing the talent you are seeking.

Additional Resources

Staffing & Recruiting Services
ERC partners with several local organizations dedicated to staffing, recruiting, and hiring talent. Our Preferred Partners provide various staffing services to ERC members at discount rates.

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