There's a major paradox in recruitment: even when unemployment is high, it can be difficult to find the right people to fill certain highly-specialised roles. As recently as 2013, for example, around 60% of UK organisations had had difficulty filling at least one role, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Resourcing and Talent Planning survey for that year. There's a gap between the skills and experience that employers need, and the skills and experience that are available in the labour market and that means keeping up with the latest in innovative techniques to help them locate and acquire the best and most skilled candidates.
In light of the gap between what employers need and what's available in the labour pool, it's not surprising that many companies are developing some highly creative strategies to fill key positions. There are many stories that showcase how various companies have solved the problem of skill and experience scarcity, and found their ideal candidates showing that for filling highly technical skill-based positions, in particular, there's nothing more effective than a good challenge.
A Silicon Valley start-up called Quixley was desperate for qualified engineers, and found them by creating a monthly computer programming challenge, with cash prizes for the winners.
In 2004, Google erected billboards that displayed a mathematical puzzle. Solving the puzzle lead to a website with a new challenge, and people who solved that second challenge were invited to send in a job application.
Many companies tap into the power of employee referrals by creating an incentive program that rewards employees who bring in new hires, and develop strategies that make it easy for them to do so.
Some companies provide their employees with recruiting cards with the company name and contact information on them, which employees could hand out to people they met who show the right signs of experience and, importantly, seem to fit their company culture. Existing employees are better qualified than anyone to judge whether someone might fit in.
Using social media
When used to its fullest extent, for example making use of diverse platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and LinkedIn Recruiter, social media can make it vastly easier to find high-quality candidates. LinkedIn in particular is a hugely useful recruiting tool, because around 80% of members are passive jobseekers; people who aren't actively jobhunting, but who might be willing to make a change should the right opportunity come along.
It's likely surprising to some that social media might be considered an innovative recruitment technique and it is indeed surprising that so few companies are using what is an incredibly effective tool. The fact is that tapping into social media can have real benefits, not only on its own merits, but also because a large proportion of organisations haven't really caught on to just how useful social media can be.
According to the CIPD's survey, a full 35% of organisations say that they don't fully understand how to use social media effectively, but nearly 60% of organisations that don't use social media admit that they know it would be in their best interests to do so. Companies that tap into social media now, and learn how to use it effectively, will have an advantage that will give them a consistent edge over their less internet-savvy competition.
Bringing recruitment in-house
For companies of all sizes, there can be real benefits to bringing recruitment in-house, rather than relying on an agency. Not only can it substantially reduce hiring costs, it can also result in the hiring of employees that are more suited to an organisation's culture and, as a result, lower employee turnover and reduced training costs. Many large companies are these days doing most of their recruiting in-house, and hiring agencies only to fill the very top positions, to get the best of both worlds.
While some of these techniques may not seem innovative the reality is that many companies are not taking advantages of the basic opportunities available to them because they do not know how to go about acquiring the skills that they need to do it. Effectively this splits the market into companies who are innovative and those who are not. If your company is one of the latter then it may be a good time to hire a specialist recruitment consultant who can help you to catch up.