How Staffing Pros Deal With Prospect Droughts

Posted November 23, 2019 by Dan Moore in Human Resources

photo by Damien Polegato

In the recruiting and staffing industry, one of your crucial responsibilities is finding candidates for open positions in your business who have all the skills and experience necessary to succeed in those positions. But what if you’re going through a drought? What if all your prospects lack some critical skill, or you can’t find enough people who fit a given position?

There are several approaches that can help you, whether you are an internal staff team or a staffing and recruiting company.

Set and Understand Your Staffing Priorities

First, you need to spend some time reviewing and understanding what your staffing and recruiting priorities are. In an ideal world, you’d be able to find a candidate who has all the right skills, years of experience, a willingness to work for your company starting immediately, and a price tag that’s well within your company’s budget. If the skills you seek are rare or hard to find, this becomes a nearly impossible dream.

At some point, you’ll need to optimize your strategy for some of these categories over the others. For example, are you (or your client) willing to pay more for a candidate who’s willing to start right away? Or are you willing to wait for the perfect fit? Can you accept someone skilled yet inexperienced? Or is the preference for an industry veteran who’s missing a couple of skills? Outlining and documenting these preferences will help you find the perfect candidate for the current situation.

Review the Market and Set Realistic Expectations

It’s also important to take a look at the job market, and set healthy expectations accordingly. If you feel like the skilled people you seek are in short supply, there’s a chance you could be looking in the wrong places—or there could be an industry-wide skills shortage. For example, AI developers are in high demand, but there’s a critical shortage of people who actually specialize in AI.

If there’s a noticeable lack of people who have the skills you desire, you may need to come up with some alternative strategies. For example, you may need to consult directly with the specific department whose position is open and discuss which skills are truly necessary. You may also discuss whether it would be better to fill the position quickly, even if the skills aren’t a perfect fit, or wait until you find the perfect candidate.

Get the Right Staffing Software (Custom-Built)

Every staffing problem gets easier to solve when you have the right software tool to assist you. The right software can help you take a data-based approach, analyzing the data on thousands of potential prospects and helping you numerically measure which prospects would be the best fit for your position. It could also automate some of your most tedious tasks, doing most of the heavy lifting so you can focus on the human connections that make recruiting successful.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of staffing and recruiting software products already on the market, but purchasing an off-the-shelf app isn’t always the right decision. Your staffing firm or staffing department has unique needs and unique specialties, which are best handled by a unique tech solution. For many businesses, the best approach is to hire a software and app development company like Vaporware. If you do this, you’ll work together to understand your key needs, design a loose prototype to test its functionality, and build the software product alongside your specific needs—so you can use it to find candidates who are a better fit for your open position. Companies, such as Vaporware, can also help you integrate off-the-shelf software into your solution, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel on everything, saving time and budget when it makes sense.

Explore New Staffing and Recruiting Options

If you’re struggling to find people with a specific skillset or who otherwise meet your ideal qualifications, it could be a problem with where you’re looking. Many recruiters get stuck in a rut of only considering one channel, such as only finding candidates via social media. Instead, branch out and explore some avenues you haven’t yet tried.

If you’re looking for someone technically skilled, consider attending technical meetups, workshops, and conventions. If you’re looking for someone who may currently have a job in the industry, consider networking in person to get closer to the person you need. By utilizing a combination of different approaches, you’ll reach a wider range of prospects, and hopefully, find a candidate close to what you’re looking for. Don’t forget to reach out to you contacts, including people you have placed before, as they’re often your best advocates. If you do use a referral, be sure to thank them by sending a gift and keeping the relationship human.

Be Open to Providing On-the-Job Training

Consider or recommend to your clients the option of providing on-the-job training. Recruiting gets much easier when you have some flexibility in the skills and knowledge your prospects currently have; it’s typically much easier to hire a candidate with most of the necessary skills and train them up than it is to find a candidate who seems perfect all-around.

This approach does have an important caveat, however; you need access to someone who can provide the training. Sometimes, this means having a team leader who already has this skill. Sometimes, it means investing in a training firm. One of our clients, Set and Service Resources, provides value training to make sure their customers are getting the best associates for their company values.

Build Your Staffing Strategy Around Rare Skills

Chances are, many of your prospects have at least some of the skills you’re looking for—just not all of them. There may be one or two rare skills, or a single area of specialty that seem to be hard to find. If this is the case, it’s in your best interest to build a strategy around this rare skill or area of specialty.

For example, you might attend events or browse forums where this skill as a focal point. You can also review prospects you might otherwise not consider due to a lack of experience, so long as they have the elusive rare skill in question.

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about the current state of the recruiting and staffing industry, and how the right software can drastically improve your results, make sure to read our latest case study! You’ll learn all about Scoutr, a custom-built software tool that ranks and matches candidates for positions automatically. Learn how they’re placing elusive positions at top companies by matching based on company values and candidate needs. Their behavioral scientist has developed a custom algorithm to support long-term placements and a 12 month placement guarantee.

We’re passionate about finding people work and the future of work, so stay tuned for more on this topic.


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