Recruiting isn’t easy these days. The number of available jobs exceeds the number of candidates. Non-linear skill sets and career progressions are the norm and many candidates are hanging up their desire for traditional work, preferring to work for themselves in shorter stints to pursue individual passions. As Ron Selewach puts it in Workspan, “This new reality poses difficult challenges for recruiters: how to efficiently and reliably find talent among a widening pool of people with non-linear career paths, and once found, how to retain them, particularly as newer, shinier and better paying opportunities continuously beckon.”
In the past, recruiters could quickly scan a candidate’s resume and discern with skill and experience whether a candidate aligned with an open position. The addition of applicant tracking systems enhanced the process with keyword searches for greater efficiency. With the surge in non-linear career paths, new strategies are required to recruit and as demand for candidates increases, there will be a greater need for speed and accuracy in the process. As Selewach notes, “The increasing sophistication and more widespread application of artificial intelligence promises to make processes and actions more refined,” but we aren’t there yet. Human sleuthing, risk, and good judgment are still required.
What to do?
In our current environment, you need to get creative and thoughtful about what skills you need. One technique to invigorate your recruiting is to study the behaviors necessary to do the job and consider those factors with greater value than where and how the knowledge was obtained. Thinking more broadly about skills and experiences will allow you to cast a wider net during the recruitment process.
For example, one of our clients is a fast-growing technology company outgrowing their space. Their inventory was overflowing into their lab, both impacting their ability to get product out the door efficiently and have the creative space for new product development. They required an inventory management process and someone to keep things organized and flowing smoothly. They knew recruiting for someone with a linear inventory management history would be fiercely competitive.
To widen their search, they took stock of the behaviors needed for the job: detail orientation, an eye for organization, efficiency, time management, and innovative thinking. They needed someone who would make the most of their small footprint. They found their star in a line cook at a busy Seattle diner. To be successful as a line cook, you have to keep the orders organized, get all the food out for each party quickly so it stays warm, deal with demanding customers, and act with efficiency to keep the flow of customers moving through. This star was essentially doing inventory management. Our client recognized this and gave him a chance. They got a great employee and the new hire got the opportunity he’d hoped for and had been passed up for by less innovative thinkers.
Eventually, artificial intelligence will take the weight off our shoulders to find the diamonds in unexpected places. Until then, it’s up to humans to find talent.