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How Hiring Technology Helps Companies Overcome Talent Shortages

Companies are struggling to find and recruit qualified candidates to fulfill staffing requirements and overcome talent shortages.

According to Gartner’s latest Emerging Risks Survey, senior executives point to the global talent shortage as the top emerging risk facing their organizations. “Organizations face huge challenges from the pace of business change, accelerating privacy regulations and the digitalization of their industries,” Gartner MVP and risk practice leader Matt Shinkman says. “A common denominator here is that addressing these top business challenges involves hiring new talent that is in incredibly short supply.”

Between retiring baby boomers and a tight labor market with low unemployment, companies are left fighting a talent war over the top candidates. 

To stay competitive in recruiting when there is a shortage of talent, companies can no longer rely only on traditional sourcing and recruiting methods to find candidates. A data-driven recruiting process has become essential to organizations because data opens new avenues for talent acquisition that makes is easier for companies to select potential candidates, says data scientist Ishika Agarwal.

That data is the driving force behind AI-powered hiring technology, which streamlines and optimizes the hiring process. These tools empower organizations to find the best person for any job by collecting and analyzing large amounts of data from more candidate sources to quickly identify the most qualified candidates and speed up the recruiting process. 

“Cognitive solutions can help organizations tap into multiple data sources and reveal new insights for better candidate profiles, improving the hiring and recruiting process,” assert Ernst & Young Principal Sheila McGovern and team. These improvements give companies a competitive edge in addressing the talent shortage. 

So, what are some of those hiring process optimizations?

Recruiting Beyond The Resume

When battling a talent shortage, companies need to look beyond the resume and the professional experience requirement posted for a job to the other skills and potential that a candidate may possess. “A candidate’s potential is far more relevant than any skill pedigree they may show up with,” says Jennifer Carpenter, VP of talent acquisition at Delta Air Lines.

Hiring for potential is a great way to open the door to candidates who may get overlooked because hiring managers are focused on exact matches between listed skills and predicted needs for a position. Through predictive analytics, AI-powered hiring technology can help hiring managers find these types of candidates. 

Companies use these tools to collect data from employees who have historically excelled at certain roles. That information is then analyzed against candidate data that is gathered from multiple sources, such as social media profiles and online sharing, to identify those who possess similar qualities. 

“By combining work history data with organizational data, you can gain deeper insights into a candidate’s true abilities and fit for your organization in a way that you couldn’t before,” explains Brett Kindschuh, director of human resources at DiscoverOrg. Digging deeper into these different data points opens up more candidates for companies to recruit. 

Identifying Current Employees for Reskilling 

A great way for companies to fill positions when it is difficult to recruit externally is to pull current employees and reskill them to fill those openings. Jesper Bendtsen, head of recruiting for Thomson Reuters in Toronto, notes that while current employees may not have the exact skill set for a position, they know the company’s culture, customers and processes, making them a great resource for closing the talent gap.

“Start by looking internally at who might be interested and able to transition to a new role through retraining,” Bendtsen advises. Hiring technology can help leaders identify current employees who have the potential to excel in new roles by gathering data on employees who have adjacent skills that indicate success. 

Once someone is identified to make a transition, the company can offer them reskilling opportunities to get them the training they need to succeed in new roles. 

Business Team Training Listening Meeting Concept, representing how to overcome talent shortages

Finding Passive Candidates

Passive candidates, people who aren’t actively search for a job, significantly outnumber candidates who are actively looking for new roles. While it requires more time and effort to recruit them, companies can’t afford to completely ignore passive candidates.

For one, passive candidates can be a stronger asset for companies than active candidates. The team at social media technology company Digital Air Strike explains passive candidates can be more qualified based on experience and more stable employees than other candidates. Most importantly, going after passive candidates significantly widens the talent pool of candidates. When recruiting during a talent shortage, it is essential to find as many candidates as possible from whom to choose.  

AI-fueled hiring technology helps businesses discover these passive candidates by collecting and analyzing online candidate data and then predicting which passive candidates would want to switch jobs so recruiters can prioritize them. This opens up more potential hires than searching active job seekers alone. 

Broadening Sources for Candidates

It is easy to go back to the well and search the same sources for candidates time and again. But those wells eventually dry up, especially when everyone is chasing that same limited talent. That’s why organizations must expand their candidate sourcing.

Hiring technology facilitates this expansion by searching sources such as social networks, portfolio sites, professional communities, resume databases and job boards to find potential candidates. Traditionally, hiring managers have focused on submitted resumes or applications and maybe a social network like LinkedIn to search for candidates. AI-powered hiring tools allow them to quickly and easily search more sources — a task that would otherwise be too time-consuming and labor-intensive to accomplish manually. 

Job candidates. Four people in formalwear waiting in line while sitting at the chairs and holding papers in their hands, representing how to overcome talent shortages

Creating a Positive Candidate Experience

Reputation matters in hiring, especially in a tight labor market. If job seekers have a bad experience as a candidate, they will likely share that experience with others — to the detriment of the hiring company. 

It is crucial that organizations do all they can to ensure a positive candidate experience throughout the hiring process, even for candidates who do not get hired. This can be difficult to do manually when there are potentially thousands of candidates vying for jobs. Hiring technology can help create those positive experiences across the board by automating and streamlining much of the process. 

Transparency and communication are the keys to a positive candidate experience. This is where AI-powered chatbots can help companies engage better with candidates. Chatbots have the ability to conversationally answer questions and gather information from candidates. That latter feature lets companies create candidate profiles so applicants can track their status throughout the recruiting process. 

Eliminating Bias from the Hiring Process

During a talent shortage, businesses cannot afford to let their own conscious or unconscious biases infiltrate their hiring processes. These biases result in companies screening out qualified candidates who are perceived to fit a negative stereotype, warns HR consultant Dr. John Sullivan. The result is a significant narrowing of an already tight talent pool. 

AI helps companies eliminate human and systemic biases. For example, hiring technology can perform anonymous searches for candidates and even ignore any demographic characteristics that would inform hiring bias. This “will help you improve your chances of including the most relevant candidates in your interview pool, including uncovering some hidden gems,” says Francesca Gino, professor at Harvard Business School.

The talent shortage is a very real threat to organizations. For companies that want to stay competitive for talent, adoption AI-powered hiring tools is an essential strategic step.

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