When hiring niche or rare talent you’re faced with several challenges. There’s the fiercely competitive market, an absence of talent when you need it, and the frustration of matching the perfect candidate to a role only to discover that person is no longer available.
Finding niche talent can feel challenging, however it doesn’t have to be that way. Sourcing specialist talent may mean you are dipping into a small talent pool, but that shouldn’t stop you from thinking big.
Here are 7 sourcing secrets that will make finding that elusive perfect candidate much easier.
1. Requalify your positions
Finding the best talent is often about thinking beyond the confines of the usual profile. If an individual has a skill set that is relevant to a position but is currently working within another industry they shouldn’t be ruled out.
Talent without direct experience can not only fill a talent requirement, but often adds value by bringing in new skills and best practices. A shining example of this technique in action is London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, who consulted none other than Ferrari’s Formula One Pit Stop team to help them improve their intensive care patient handover process.
When struggling to fill a niche vacancy, shift your attention away from the “typical profile” and instead realise (as Google, Facebook and other successful startups have done) that the best hires are not always a “perfect fit” on paper.
2. Go global
Sourcing internationally dramatically widens your talent pool, gives you access to the best skills and experience in the industry and increases your firm’s competitive advantage. Furthermore international candidates provide cross-cultural perspectives, and a diverse workforce helps to “encourage creativity and foster innovation” as quoted by Acas.
If you are looking to relocate candidates, ensure your relocation packages are competitive. Relocation guides can also help candidates make that all important decision about whether to relocate or not.
3. Use contractors
Why not consider contractors, when looking to fill highly specialist, time sensitive or project based assignments? Professionals who work on a contract basis are often the highest skilled, most sought-after candidates in the industry. Therefore if you are looking for a micro-niche skillset, it may be worth consulting the contract market.
Furthermore, due to their high level of flexibility, contractors can be available with very little notice or for short periods of time. If looking for a highly skilled professional to work on a short-term project or looking to fill a position as quickly as possible, a contractor could be the perfect solution for you. Alternatively, a contractor could be employed as an interim employee, whilst you look to find a more permanent member of staff.
4. Use targeted content to attract passive talent
According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends Survey 2015, 46% of respondents expect to see the boundaries between recruitment and marketing blur over the next five to ten years. Niche talent acquisition will be driven by better candidate experiences, greater social media presence and stronger employer brands going forwards.
A consistent, engaging digital presence is a great way to nurture connections with candidates who may not be actively looking for a new role. Go one step further with this strategy by using specialist social mapping techniques to profile the online behaviour of niche candidates, and engage them with relevant, bespoke content. Learn where, when and what your candidate pool engages with online in order to do this successfully.
5. Host networking events
Alternatively, engage with your target candidates by hosting relevant events and networking opportunities. As well as adding value, there is no better recruitment tactic than meeting potential candidates face-to-face and developing a personal connection. In fact, according to a report from ABC News, 80% of jobs are landed through networking.
6. Offer flexible working
If you are looking to secure the best niche talent, you need to offer a great package in return – and that includes an option for flexible working. A recent EY survey found job flexibility to be a top feature wanted by full-time employees of the world’s eighth largest economies (ranked just behind pay and benefits). They also cited lack of flexibility as a top reason they would leave a role.
Consider offering greater flexibility to not only attract candidates, but also improve retention. Additionally studies have found flexible working to offer a host of other benefits, including improving employee health, reducing stress, increasing productivity and saving costs.
7. Re-sell the opportunity
When recruiting niche talent it’s vital to make every opportunity sound as appealing as possible to the right candidates. One of the most common reasons that employers fail to secure the best talent is because they haven’t articulated the opportunity in a way that appeals to the right people. Understand what motivates the talent pool you are hiring, and consistently communicate this throughout the hiring process to ensure you secure the best talent for your role.
Of course, once you have found your ideal candidate the next step is to secure them. But that’s a whole other ballgame. Next month’s post will suggest ways to do just that…
By Adam Buck, CEO Phaidon International
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