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5 Outside-the-Box Ways to Fill Your Talent Pipeline during a Labor Shortage

May 9, 2022 - minute read


Desperate times call for desperate measures—and for many companies, the Great Resignation means desperate measures. If your business has been hurt by the labor shortage, you’re undoubtedly working to juice up your recruiting efforts.

You’ve taken the obvious steps, like building a social media presence and taking your application process mobile. But these tactics only take you so far.

With 7.3 million U.S. jobs remaining unfilled, it will take some extraordinary effort to draw applicants to you. If you’re willing to rethink your company’s long-held assumptions, then get ready to challenge your status-quo—and consider these unconventional hiring strategies. 

1. Choose Mindset Over Skill Set

For many talent acquisition professionals, “fill-in-the-blank” years of experience is the gold standard when evaluating applicants. And that remains true for many positions that require advanced knowledge or specialized skills.

But many of the skills required of hourly workers, such as following procedures or operating equipment, can be learned. Why not focus on those candidates with the best attitudes and work ethics—those who are eager to work, hungry to learn, and that share your cultural values?

Of course, that means ramping up your training programs, or perhaps partnering with local colleges and trade schools to offer internships and apprenticeships. But these are great long-term recruiting strategies in themselves. Yes, they require effort initially, but they’ll keep replenishing your talent pipeline long after this labor shortage is over.

2. Think Like Marketing: Develop Candidate Personas

Have you heard of buyer personas? Chances are, your Marketing department has these detailed profiles of your company’s archetypal buyers as roadmaps for campaigns. Why not take a page from Marketing’s book and develop candidate personas for positions you need to fill?  

When developing personas, ask: what does your target care about most? What are their goals and pain points, and how can you address them? How do they like to be approached?

You’ve already got the raw data: your top-performing employees. Once you learn what motivates, excites, and repels your ideal candidates, you can leverage that intelligence to best appeal to them via job posts and offers.

3. W-i-d-e-n Your Labor Pool

Maybe it’s been your practice not to actively recruit from certain populations, such as seniors, job-seekers with disabilities, and/or those with criminal records. Of course, you’re EEOC and ADA compliant, but it just isn’t in your playbook to hold job fairs, etc. geared to those demographics. Well, consider this:

Nearly one-third of working-age Americans have criminal records—that’s one-third of your potential labor pool. Furthermore, according to multiple studies, managers say that workers with criminal records perform as well, or better, than their coworkers. Why not give it a second look?

Similarly, studies indicate that workers with disabilities display above-average attendance and attitude, are better problem-solvers, and practice higher levels of workplace safety. Like workers with criminal records, their retention rate is higher—in some cases, nearly double—that of their peers. If you’re not tapping this market, you’re missing out.

4. Treat Exit Interviews Like Job Interviews

Many employers don’t conduct exit interviews. Others collect exit interview data, but don’t analyze or use it. As a result, they’re ignoring a treasure trove of valuable internal intelligence: what’s working, what’s not, where the managerial problems lie—all weaknesses that, if corrected, could improve retention efforts.

But that’s not all. According to the Harvard Business Review, some savvy employers are using exit interviews to collect market information, including their competitors’ recruiting methods, pay practices and benefits—all which enables them to make their job offers more attractive. Exit interviews can even tip you off if a competitor is poaching your workforce. 

5. Invite the Community In

Of course, you’re out in the community, manning booths at various job fairs and delivering on your CSR program via volunteer days. But how often do you invite the community to come to you, to meet your people and experience your workplace culture?

The state of Minnesota is all over this. During Minnesota Manufacturing Week, manufacturers  are encouraged to hold plant tours and other onsite events. This state-wide initiative not only raises awareness about the importance of the industry, but highlights the advantages of manufacturing careers, such as great pay and exposure to new technologies.

Is it time to start holding some type of open house or tour? How can you make it work for you?

Start Forecasting Your Talent Pipeline Needs

One final thought: beyond the present, savvy employers are forecasting what their talent pipeline needs will look like post labor shortage. They do so by studying HR analytics such as turnover, retention rates, and the age of their workforce, and compare it to goals and projected growth.

If your current HCM system isn’t up to the task, why not learn more about EPAY? Our HCM systems makes it easy to access these key analytics, is geared to managing the hourly workforce, and offers comprehensive applicant tracking software that helps keep your talent pipeline flowing. See for yourself—take a two-minute tour.

Filed Under: Applicant Tracking & Hiring