When you’re struggling with unfilled vacancies, it might be tempting to blame it on the talent shortage, but the problem could be right under your nose. If you’re rejecting a high proportion of candidates despite a large number of applications it might not be because there’s a lack in talent, but because you’re being too picky. Of course, you want The Perfect Candidate for your role, but by being overly critical or having a selection criteria that’s way too specific, you may be missing out on people who have the potential to add great value to your business. Instead of getting too hung up on a tick-box exercise, looking for that one candidate that matches your exact requirements, it might benefit your hiring strategy to broaden your focus. Here’s some tips to make sure hidden talent doesn’t pass you by.
Focus on soft skills & attitude
The saying goes ‘hire for attitude and train for skill’. Adaptability, being able to learn quickly, and showing motivation and enthusiasm for the role can be far more valuable than hiring a candidate who simply looks good on paper.
As long as a candidate has a positive attitude, a basic aptitude for the type of role, and a genuine interest and willingness to develop, you shouldn’t get too hung up on them being a perfect fit or having the exact specifications you require.
Make sure you’re rejecting for decent reasons
Unconscious bias is always a contentious issue in recruitment. Before you move candidates into the ‘no’ pile, check in with yourself to make sure you’re rejecting them for a decent reason. If you’re instantly rejecting people due to location, lack of degree, or job hopping you may be forming assumptions about the candidate’s commitment and skills without knowing the full picture – it’s always worth talking to them first to find out more about their circumstances and capabilities.
Measure your requirements against current employees
Do your current employees meet the requirements you’re looking for in a new hire? Your new starter isn’t going to have the same knowledge and understanding of the company that a long-term employee has, but given a chance they will quickly learn and develop within their role if given the right support and guidance. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to hire quality candidates who raise the standard of your business, but keep your expectations realistic.
Be willing to look beyond your industry
Just because someone hasn’t spent years within one particular industry, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be capable of working within it – everyone needs to start somewhere. Nowadays it’s the norm for job seekers to jump between multiple roles across different industries, to gain experience, learn new skills, and progress in their careers. As long as they’ve got enthusiasm and a desire to learn, then being new to an industry shouldn’t be a deal breaker. If anything, by considering candidates with varied backgrounds and industry experience, it opens you up to receive fresh perspectives and insights which can lead to greater creativity and innovation in your business.
The bottom line is, if you end up holding out hoping that the ideal candidate will eventually be found (if only you are patient enough!) then you stand to miss out on people with the potential to be nurtured into a highly talented and valuable employee. Of course, hiring the wrong person is costly and a pain to deal with, but so is having unfilled vacancies. If you see that raw potential in someone then sometimes it’s worth the risk!