10 Ways to Find Digital Talent in Unlikely Places

The skills needed for today business world are constantly evolving. Jobs that are commonplace now, weren’t created 10 years ago. 

In the face of  digital transformation, there’s a need for a workforce with specialist skills that can drive revenue and help to meet and exceed new business objectives.

This creates a competitive job market making individuals with niche skills in huge demand. In fact, according to ManPowerGroup, 38% of all employers experienced difficulty filling job openings while nearly half of all jobs posted by S&P 100 companies were for the same 37 roles.

So, how can companies go about finding the talent they need, while beating out the competition? Let’s look at non-traditional approaches to hiring. 

1. Give People What They Want

Multiple studies discuss what millennials (now the largest demographic in the workforce) want from employers. You might be surprised that the majority of millennial job desires aren’t specifically related to salary, which is what companies have pandered to for decades.

Items like a sense of purpose, better training opportunities, and quality managers are top of the list. So to attract this new generation of talent, it’s imperative to provide a clear description of your benefits and how that fits a future employee:

  • Do you provide your employees with access to continuous learning? Or stipends for taking courses?
  • Can employees take time off for volunteer work? How does your organization give back?
  • What ways can employees provide feedback about their managers? Are there paths in place if an employee/manager relationship isn’t working out?

After analyzing the perks you can offer, it’s important to incorporate these specific tasks into your:

  • Job description
  • Throughout the interviewing process
  • Within the workplace culture

Make it clear to future employees that they are getting what they want from your job, which is why they should select you over the competition. 

2. Focus on Perception & Reputation

Focus on Perception & Reputation

Know your market, obsess over your reputation, and understand what messages your candidates are receiving. For example, over the last five years, Glassdoor has become a company reputation portal rather than a job board. Job hunters will check reviews on Glassdoor to see what current and previous employers think about the organization.

According to research conducted by the Harvard Business Review (HBR), companies with 10,000 employees could be spending nearly $8 million in recruiting efforts and wages to make up for a poor reputation. Specifically, HBR discovered it would take a 10% pay increase to convince a candidate to take a job at a company with a poor reputation.

And, 69% of job seekers would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation, according to INC. On the flip side, Glassdoor suggests that 62% of job seekers say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.

To attract top talent, market your company perception, and how it meets the growing demands of the workforce. 

3. Use Content Marketing

Playing off of number two, it's important to think about content marketing.

The more positive things someone knows about a business, the more likely they are to want to work for them. This makes building awareness of a company’s culture through a proactive content strategy an essential recruitment component. In other words, provide assets that showcase what it’s like to work with you and your team.

For example, check out this recruiting video from  Zendesk, which was created to give future employers a glimpse into what it’s like to work there.

After all, when hunting for a job, 85% of people start with a search engine. Get ahead of the curve, and brand to candidates. 

4. Implement a Referral Process

In a competitive labor market, employee referrals are the becoming the most common source of new hires, with 73% of companies using this method to hire new employees, according to an Indeed study.

And according to U.S. News, when an employee refers someone, that candidate is hired about 33% of the time.

Your employees are eager to do it also. According to the same U.S. New report, 60% of employees have referred at least one person to an open position within the company, and 38% of employees have referred multiple candidates for open jobs.

While it might not be a new strategy for recruiting, it’s more important than ever to leverage your existing resources and tap into employee referrals for high-quality candidates that are likely to be recruited. 

5. Look Further Afield

Look Further Afield

Remote employees and gig positions have grown in popularity over the last few years. Whether an employee offers remote opportunities occasionally, or as a full-time position, it’s a valued perk by most employees.

In fact, a survey by Gallup found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities actually play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job. From 2012 to 2016 the number of workers who reported working remotely four to five days a week grew by from 24-32%.

Organizations have touted that remote workers are more productive, and it helps companies close the gender gap by having a wider pool of talent. Look at other cities or regions and flexible and remote working to get the skills required, talent doesn’t necessarily have to live in your area to recruit it.

6. Look for Unexpected Portfolios

Job boards, job fairs, and social media certainly have their place for recruiting. But, for high-competition jobs, consider getting more creative.

For tech-based roles, scour open-source projects and Reddit threads. Find places where your contributors' work is public, so you can get a feel for their work before reaching out.

Companies who tap into open-source sites to build their recruiting pipeline have the upper-hand, especially when it comes to recruiting technical talent.

Open-source forums are a great way to find coders who match your community and reach out them on channels that don’t feel as spammy, like LinkedIn. If you already know they are a strong match, not only can you expedite the hiring process, you are proactively reaching out to someone before the competition has a chance to strike. 

7. Get High Tech

 Get High Tech

To stand out from the competition, what can your organization do to differentiate?

Consider becoming a digital HR company by bringing together social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) technologies, on a mobile or digital platform to improve the employee and candidate experience.

According to Deloitte, organizations still have time to be an early adopter. Fewer than 20% of companies deploy their HR and employee productivity solutions on mobile apps, and while technology is commonly pointed as the way of the future, only 38% of companies have thought about a digital HR strategy, and only 9% believe they could implement it.

By turning your recruiting strategy into a digital, easy-accessible, solution, you can be ahead of the competition when it comes to recruiting.  

8. Attract Untapped Resources

In a tight labor market, businesses must consider untapped resources, such as the 3.8% of working-age Americans who are unemployed.

While there may be a stigma associated with long-term unemployment, which is defined as anyone who has been looking for a job for more than 27 weeks, there are a variety of reasons why one would be unemployed for a long period of time.

Consider zeroing in on this segment particularly those who, under normal economic conditions, would have been able to work, but as the market became competitive, were overlooked.

Now that the market has rebounded, this segment of workers who want to re-enter the workforce may be facing ageism or lack of technical ability.

Still, they are hungry to learn new skills. By finding those with an edge, and a readiness to work, you can build a workforce of character, the technical skills can be taught. 

9. Seek Relevant Graduates

Seek Relevant Graduates

Recruiting for entry-level roles can be the perfect opportunity to hire the skills your business needs for the future. Look to collaborate with relevant colleges or universities that specialize in certain areas such as technology or data.

According to CareerBuilder, 74% of employers planned to hire recent college graduates, up from 67% the previous year — it is also the highest rate recorded by CareerBuilder in a decade.

Recent grads have had difficulty entering the job market in the past, but as new technology is incorporated into higher education, new graduates are likely to have solid technical experience before entering the job market maybe even a higher aptitude than peers who may have entered the workforce, pre-tech.  

10. Incentivize New Recruits

For incredibly competitive markets, it’s not enough to just have an open position, you need to lure top talent in.

For the top contributors in an industry, there is less incentive to apply. They are likely being treated well at their current company, and the idea of reconstructing their resume is more of a hassle than anything. To remedy this, some companies have gone as far as to pay new recruits to apply for their positions.

Let’s say you are looking for a graphic designer and you have a specific project in the works. Rather than going through the traditional recruiting methods, consider paying them to contribute to an open project as a test — maybe as little as a hundred dollars. If they do well — and collaborate with your team well — start the conversation toward full-time employment.

This approach allows you to interview the designer while positioning yourself above most prospective employers and job candidates.

Recruiting in today’s market is a difficult game. By pressing your team to be more innovative and creative, you can help attract top talent and maximize your recruiting dollars.