5 Red-Hot, Underrated Talent Sources
Job boards, professional networks and recruiting campaigns are par for the course. But there’s more to finding great talent than looking to the same talent sources as everyone else.
There’s a reason hide and seek is a timeless game: balance. Multiple hiders, one seeker, limited catchment area. The formula works.
Talent sourcing is a bit like playing hide and seek, except each person you find is worth points. And there are a thousand others looking for the same people as you. And you have to scour a much larger area to have the kind of success you’re after.
Which is exactly why you can’t just look in places where people are likely to hide. You’ve got to search high and low, far and wide, inside every hollowed-out log and behind every boulder. You’ve got to look for people who aren’t even playing.
If you don’t, someone else will. Someone who could very well work for your employer’s biggest competitor.
With just 36% of candidates actively looking for new jobs, finding great sources of talent is more challenging and competitive than ever. But with everyone else in the business contacting former employees and posting on job boards, you’ve got to be more imaginative to succeed.
From candidate demographics to locations, here are five overlooked talent sources you might be ignoring that could help you discover and hire your organization’s next A-player.
When most people think of veterans in the civilian workforce, it’s usually a security role or something similar that comes to mind. In truth, the armed forces are full of people who are great fits for jobs in medicine, engineering, infrastructure, logistics, technology, recruiting and virtually any other skilled industry you can think of. Unfortunately, a mere 17% of employers view them as potential assets.
The myth: Regimented, obsessed with detail, demanding
The truth: As a source of talent, veterans offer some of the most desired skill sets in the professional world. Military life is designed to breed leaders who take accountability not only for themselves, but for the people around them. These employees can lead and follow with equal success, and motivate their teams to perform better as a cohesive unit.
While employers have started to make efforts against hiring bias, it’s still challenging to get hired if you aren’t a (relatively) local resident. Organizations want people who understand the local culture and will fit in with the rest of their workforce. While this is valid, it’s also neglectful to ignore talent sourced from another state or region simply because of where they live.
The myth: Expensive, out of touch, lack of familiarity with local culture
The truth: Hiring someone from beyond local borders can add new perspectives to a team with potentially homogenous thought processes and cultural approaches. A business in a big city could leverage the work ethic of someone from a rural upbringing, while a business in a growing region could benefit from the experience of someone who’s worked in a geography on the cutting edge of their industry.
3. Talent e-Communities
If someone told you that they found a huge room full of thousands of people qualified to fill a role you’re hiring for, you’d jump at the chance to speak to at least a handful of them. So then it makes little sense for recruiters to neglect a talent source as rich as web communities devoted to specific professions and industries.
The myth: Ineffective, too broad, rife with fraudulent profiles
The truth: Specialized online communities are hotbeds of underrated, undervalued and underappreciated talent. They’re frequently tech-savvy as well. Sourcing talented graphic designers from Behance or developers from GitHub should be a no-brainer, yet many companies still fail to leverage the advantages of web communities packed with qualified talent.
4. Single Parents
Some employers hold unreasonable (and often illegal) biases against single parents. They assume this demographic neglects work commitments or spends all day worrying about their personal issues. The truth is with fair pay and a bit of flexibility, hiring a single mom or dad might land you a highly committed, productive and loyal employee.
The myth: Unreliable, uncommitted, burdened with personal issues
The truth: Few demographics have mastered the art of multitasking as well as single parents. While they’ll expect some degree of flexibility from their employers, you can be sure they’ll deliver unparalleled levels of efficiency, productivity and time management. This is not a demographic that’s known to take ten hours to complete a job that only takes six.
5. FOH Professionals
Barring those employed by the finest names in fine dining, front-of-house (FOH) staff get a bad rep. Because of where they work, prospective employers sometimes stereotype them as having lower ambitions or lacking specialized skills. In reality, accomplished FOH staff often make for excellent hires in a number of positions where social interaction is key to success.
The myth: Unskilled, unmotivated, underqualified
The truth: If you’re looking to fill a sales or customer-facing role, you can do a lot worse than take a chance on someone with extensive service experience. Aside from the basics of interacting with clients, service industry professionals also possess talents that translate across industries: interpersonal skills, memorization, intimate product knowledge, upselling and making recommendations.
For additional ideas on talent sources and more, be sure to check out this list of 41 creative sourcing tips that covers everything from where to look yourself to who to ask for help.