What to Do When You Can’t Find Job Candidates

June 16, 2017 Mary Lorenz


Job seekers think they have it rough, but the grass isn’t any greener for employers looking to hire for hard-to-fill positions, either. Finding candidates can be just as exhausting as searching for a new job especially when it feels as if you’ve looked at every resume in the entire ZIP code by now. The fact is, the candidates you need simply aren’t there. So what’s an exhausted recruiter supposed to do? Here are five tactics to try when you’ve tried everything and still can’t find the talent you need in your area.


Five Solutions for When Your Location Has a Low Supply of the Candidates You Need

  1. Be strategic about search. Improving your Boolean search skills can help you find the candidates you need more efficiently and uncover hidden gems. Today’s search engines have advanced capabilities that help to expand the effectiveness of the user – if you know how to use them right. Take a few moments to learn about the fundamentals of Boolean search and become a search pro. (On the other hand, if you’re a CareerBuilder client with Resume Database (RDB), there’s no need for Boolean search expertise. RDB uses semantic search technology – which is more intuitive than other search methods and produces more relevant search results in less time.)
  2. Offer relocation. Expand your recruiting efforts beyond the local area and offer relocation assistance. This may be in the form of a flat fee to cover expenses of footing the bill for packing and unpacking, moving trucks, transportation and temporary housing. When searching for candidates, use your time wisely and focus your recruitment marketing efforts on areas where the supply of talent is high. A solution such as CareerBuilder’s Supply & Demand (included in RDB) can help you identify areas with the highest supply of candidates and the lowest competition.
  3. Consider remote workers. Found a great candidate, but they’re unwilling to relocate? Offer to let them work remotely. Companies of all sizes and industries allow employees to work remotely, believing it makes them happier and more productive. Of course, not every employee is cut out to work remotely, so it’s important that you hire wisely; however, remote workers could be a viable (and cost-saving) option to bridge the skills gap at your business.
  4. Pursue passive candidates. Why does it always feel like the good ones are taken? While poaching employees can be controversial, many believe that all is fair in love, war and recruitment. If you know or know of a great candidate who is already employed, this person could be the answer to your unfilled position woes. Of course, if you find the right candidate, you need to make leaving their current company worth their while – which may mean stepping up your salary offer or your benefits package. (And be sure your potential new hire is not bound by a non-compete agreement.)   
  5. Look at alternative talent pools. If you can’t find qualified candidates for a specific position, try looking for workers in closely related occupations and industries. These professionals might have different job titles than the position you’re trying to fill, but they will have similar skillsets and will require minimal training. Emsi, CareerBuilder’s workforce analytics arm, has a compatibility index that helps companies find workers for hard-to-fill jobs and occupations by identifying compatible skillsets. For example, if you need a medical assistant, using the compatibility index, you’d see that pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists and occupational therapy aides have similar skill sets. Or if it’s a web developer you need, you might also consider database administrators, computer systems analysts or video game designers.

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