What “The Voice” can teach us about finding top talent

November 25, 2021 ProgressionHR

Shrinking talent pool making things tough?

We look at the power of blind ‘auditions’ and share other recruiting tips.

If you’ve been in hiring mode, chances are you’ve experienced our tight labour market first-hand. Top talent is in short supply for several reasons. One of which is our closed international borders which have affected the natural flow of people that many businesses rely on.

From highly-skilled HR and IT professionals right through to hard-working fruit pickers, good staff are difficult to find. But don’t despair! Making subtle changes to your hiring process may allow you to make the most of a tough situation.

We wanted to share a few handy tips that might help. We hope you find them useful – and we’d love to hear of other methods you’ve used too.

1. Find a ‘difference’ that makes them move.

Workers have options, so be clear about the things that make your business different. Then put yourself in their shoes and work out why your difference matters to them. Think about opportunities for learning and advancement. Showcase your brand values, and highlight the way you contribute to the wider community. You might have a zero-waste policy or support fair trade. Whatever it is, the more meaningful the difference, the more likely a candidate will move.

2. Start hiring on potential.

If your pool of ‘ideal’ candidates is shrinking, consider hiring on potential, rather sticking with the tried and true attributes you normally look for. In practical terms, this means committing to taking on candidates who may not have the necessary technical skills when they start, but do possess the personal traits that make them a good fit. Transferrable skills and a motivation to learn are also a big plus.

3. Don’t get stuck in a race to the top.

As demand rises and supply falls, don’t be tempted to ‘buy’ your way out of the problem by offering ever-increasing salaries. Of course, you can’t ignore the pulling power of an attractive package. But start with non-financial carrots – such as flexible schedules and work-from-home options. Onsite fitness amenities (or gym memberships), wellness programmes, health insurance and ongoing education may appeal too. Use your imagination!

4. Think flexible.

This isn’t the time to be stuck in old ways. Could you hire freelancers on a project basis instead of adding a new full-time employee? Could two part-time positions become one full-time position with, or vice versa? Being flexible will give you more options.

5. Use technology to find key competencies.

We’ve recently been asked by clients to remove candidates’ names, any gender identifying features and also schools and universities they’ve attended when sharing their CVs – with the aim of reducing the impact of unconscious bias in hiring. (You might have seen this concept on TV during the blind auditions of The Voice!)

We all know a person can look good on paper. But the reality is, the best candidate will come with characteristics that aren’t reflected in their CV. If you’re looking for a more tech based approach, there are also a wide range of AI driven technologies that can help you through this process, such as Smart Recruit Online or Berke Assessment.

6. Focus on retention.

If you’re holding onto more staff for longer, the tight labour market becomes a smaller problem. We also know that limited opportunities for career advancement are a major driver for employees moving on, so investing in learning and professional development is key. For example, give staff time to attend virtual conferences, and help pay for continuing education or tuition. Careful succession planning is effective too, as a way to building leadership and other skills.

Even as border restrictions begin to ease, it’s hard to see the tight labour market changing anytime soon. But with some ‘thinking outside the box’, you may indeed come out of this period stronger than you started.


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