Five recruitment strategies to manage talent shortages

Julien Saadi

Top talent is holding the cards in today's job market. Our recent survey on the effects of the current candidate-led market revealed that 58% of hiring managers have struggled to attract candidates with the right hard skills or experience. For some businesses, the consequences can be serious.

A lack of appropriate specialist staff could hamper efforts to increase productivity, turnover and profitability, preventing the company from reaching its full potential.

Even with the right in-house HR support, in a talent short market, these figures indicate that many companies are not always using the right strategies to attract professionals who will help their business grow. They also suggest that established tactics - offering higher salary packages, for instance - may no longer attract the best candidates.

36% of businesses say that talent shortages have affected employee morale and 46% say that they have increasing difficulties in meeting deadlines and clients’ expectations as a result of the talent shortage.

Antoine Biot, Director of Robert Walters Belgium, discusses five strategies to counter the effects of a candidate short market and ensure productivity levels remain stable.

1. Look for talent in-house

Many hiring managers focus on getting more out of existing employees to counter-act the effects of talent shortages. 21% say they have provided staff with opportunities for training or the chance to take on new responsibilities, with a further 38% implementing flexible working arrangements. On balance, this is a useful strategy for retaining staff and preventing the emergence of further skills shortages. Most employees will appreciate development opportunities and this has the added effect of increasing staff loyalty to a company or brand.

2. Adjust your hiring criteria

“Diversity drives innovation, which is one of the main reasons why recruiting from a variety of talent pools makes such a difference. New people bring fresh ideas, so fostering greater diversity in the workplace will help your company keep pace with changes affecting your market.”

Even with talent shortages affecting their businesses, 22% of hiring managers rarely hire professionals who do not meet all key job description criteria. Holding out for best-match candidates can mean that vacancies remain open for weeks or even months. This means that existing employees are working harder to provide the necessary cover, possibly damaging morale and increasing staff attrition rates. Adjusting the hiring criteria and hiring less qualified candidates can often deliver a wealth of benefits, boosting the diversity of the workforce and introducing fresh perspectives to problem solving. It also helps drive innovation as different skill sets and approaches are brought together under one roof.

Recruiting from a mix of talent pools is also a good method for managing salary inflation. In many cases, candidates looking for the chance to step up are more likely to prioritise a fresh challenge over a large pay rise.

3. Use of interim professionals

Hires of interim or contract staff are often used to cover skills shortages caused by a lack of available permanent candidates. With a pool of highly qualified professionals ready to start work or a project at short notice, we have seen many companies turning to an interim solution in the Belgian market.

4. Reduce the time to hire

A swift hiring process gives insight into the attitude and values of a company, helping to secure candidate buy-in from the very beginning. To achieve this, it’s vital that all decision makers have bought into a pre-defined recruitment timetable. Greater accommodation of the candidate’s needs, such as flexibility around interview times, will also help to sell the organisation. With the economy picking up, companies that fail to reduce the time from interview to offer are already losing out to more flexible competitors.

5. Transfers

Another means of dealing with talent shortages which is often overlooked, is to transfer employees either (inter)nationally or from another part of the company. Not only does this provide easy access to a pool of candidates with a good understanding of the company and its values and processes, it also creates multiple benefits for the employees concerned.

In our recent candidate survey, a majority of professionals report that their main reasons for moving abroad would be for better career opportunities and to gain international exposure. 27% of the surveyed companies use international transfers to counter talent shortages.

Biot: “Consider how you can get the most from international networks - in some cases, especially for hard to fill roles, the cost of visas and relocation will be less than that of failing to find the right person for the job.”

Are you looking to hire new permanent or interim professionals?

Contact our specialised consultants today.

To find more comprehensive information on how to manage skills shortages in Belgium, download our latest whitepaper ‘Recruiting professionals in a candidate short market’.

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