Four Ways Staffing Firms Recruit Talent in Sparse Candidate Markets


Scarcity is scary.

Staffing professionals are navigating through the worst talent shortage since 2007.

The survey of more than 42,300 employers reveals that skilled trades positions remain the hardest to fill in the United States. Also ranking among the hardest skills to find are drivers, sales representatives, teachers, and restaurant & hotel staff.

If you are a recruiter who works in one of these industries, take a deep breath. The world hasn’t ended. Doomsday has not arrived.

How are staffing firms closing the talent gap?

1) Developing their own digital platforms and apps.

Some staffing firms have begun developing their own apps to engage candidates and clients in new ways.

The recruiting and workforce management company TrueBlue launched JobStack which serves as a Tinder-esque job discovery tool for candidates and a convenient way for employers to request workers via the mobile app.

2) Giving candidates more ways to express interest.

How do you know if a candidate is interested in your firm or the role you’re recruiting for if they haven’t applied? Content marketing.

Staffing firms are finding new ways to identify potential candidates who are interested in the company, but perhaps not ready to apply at the moment or are keen to learn more about the employer before committing to a change.

Candidates have more chances to engage with recruiters in a way that fits their lifestyle and goals. Recruiters have reported success with content marketing, using their content as an ice breaker to begin a discussion with candidates or potential referrals who engage with that content.

Some firms have elected to give candidates the option to apply or join their talent community side-by-side at the point of application. If a candidate is having second thoughts, instead of losing that lead at the last minute, the proximity of these options increases the likelihood of keeping that person connected to the business.

One of the key benefits to technology for recruiters is that it provides you with more ways to scale the signals you send to candidates.

3) Using social media to source.

For years, LinkedIn has been the go-to social media network for recruiters and staffing professionals.

In recent years, however, recruiters have reported seeing their accounts being restricted for unknown reasons, the terms of their license agreements changing, and other changes that reduce the value they are getting from LinkedIn as a sourcing tool.

Not to knock LinkedIn, but that pool eventually dries up, even when the market is hot.

Staffing professionals are now turning to other social media networks and the deep web to uncover hidden talent in times of scarcity.

One tool that has been making a buzz in the industry is Hiretual. Co-founder Ninh Tran engaged influencers in the recruitment community to help guide the development of the talent sourcing platform which serves as an AI-enabled sourcing assistant for recruiters and staffing professionals. Community advisors include Dean Da Costa, Derek Zeller, and Steve Levy.

Facebook has been steadily making strides toward becoming LinkedIn’s replacement in coming years. Employers have used features such as live video, contests, and boosted posts to draw out passive talent on the social network.

4) Thinking ahead.

The “there's always someone looking” mindset is a dangerous one for staffing professionals to have when attempting to tackle the challenges that a talent shortage can cause. Sure, there are still unemployed people, but when you're trying to fill skilled labor or another difficult niche, the well often runs dry.

For firms whose primary sources of hire include job board advertising or career page traffic, seeing those numbers drop can feel unnerving. Staffing firms are proactively building talent pipelines as a way to put themselves in the best position to attract and identify candidates for jobs in the future.

Firms have also used their social media and marketing channels to strengthen their relationships with candidates and discover new leads through the response to their content and activity.

The bottom line: If you are struggling with a talent shortage in your market, the only wrong move you can make is to not adjust. The firms that survive these shortages in good spirits are the ones that are willing to change their approach sooner than the ones that aren’t.


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Topics: Recruiting Strategies

Updated December 2, 2019