Regardless of your industry or the size of your organisation, every business will at some point encounter difficulties in filling certain vacancies, especially when recruiting for niche roles. Whether you are looking for a unique skill set, tackling a highly competitive market or are simply in a location where skills are scarce, finding the right candidate for your business can be a time consuming and often costly exercise. 

As a result many organisations end up resorting to using ‘premium’ agencies and paying the high price associated. But truth be told, the pink speckled unicorn you think you are looking for may actually be easier to find than you think. 

Here are a few of our top tips to help you when recruiting for difficult and niche roles directly. 

  1. Define your essentials and desirable from the outset 

First and foremost you need to establish who you are actually looking for and what role they need to play. Are you looking for a straight replacement of someone who has just left or do you require a little extra experience in a certain area. Creating a detailed person specification and skills matrix will help you determine which skills are essential and those that are desirable.  

This will also ensure that you do not discredit any potential applicant based on a skill or experience they don’t really need. 

  1. Be clear on what you are looking for 

When you start to craft your job advert, you need to ensure that you clearly state what you are looking for. The essential and desirables list will help form the main content of your advert, but you should also pay particular attention to key criteria such as the job title you use. 

For example if you are seeking an IT Support Engineer but need them to predominantly support the use of Office 365 and Windows, then you should state this either in the job title or at the top of the advert. 

Afterall, there is very little point in attracting applications if they are from individuals who do not have the specific skills you need. 

  1. Consider what roles may have similar /  transferable skills or complementary skill sets 

For those really niche roles, it is also worth considering whether you could target candidate’s who are performing similar roles or that have skills that are transferable. 

Rather than focussing on soft skills such as leadership, time management, creativity and communication, you need to look at the hard skills and what other roles people might be performing whilst using them.

For example, if you need someone to bi lingual or proficient with specific technology, then consider what other roles these might be used within and then target the CV databases and focus your search strategy accordingly. 

  1. Remove any potential bias

When recruiting for niche roles, it’s important to try and remove any potential stereotype that you ( and your team) may have as this could influence your selection decisions. 

There are many tools available now, particularly when it comes to recruitment software that enable companies to automatically anonymise candidate applications to help remove any potential bias. 

The ability to assess a candidates’ application based on their answers alone ensures that key characteristics such as gender and age are not taken into consideration either consciously or subconsciously. 

  1. Involve and learn from current employees

Your previous recruitment success is arguably the most important place to start. 

Understanding where your current employees came from, the roles they were performing prior to your organisation and how they found your opportunity essentially should lead you to candidates of a similar ilk. 

Speak to your current employees and find out who they know, ask them to share posts across their social networks as they will essentially be much more connected to potential candidates you are seeking. 

Social media in general can help with niche roles as a way of promoting your opportunities to candidate’s who may not otherwise see them. 

Asking your network and your employees to share a post such as ‘ Do you know of anyone who is looking for a new role as x?’ can essentially allow you to reach hundreds if not thousands of people in a matter of a few hours. 

  1. Be competitive and creative 

If you are recruiting for sought after positions and know that potential is in short supply then its not only time to be competitive, but also a little creative. 

First of all you need to consider our salary. Are you able to offer a competitive salary that will entice people to apply? What other benefits do you offer and why should a candidate want to apply for your roles? 

Although salary still remains at the top of the list of priorities for job seekers, there are also  many other factors that are of significant importance especially when it comes to generation Z and the workforce of the future. 

The most important factors to consider and capitalise on where possible are: 

  • Convenient, easy commute (48%)
  • Good work-life balance (47%)
  • Company culture (35%)
  • Healthy company financial performance (25%)
  • Familiarity with the brand (24%)

Source Glassdoor 

The opportunity to work from home, holiday allowance and medical insurance are also key to encouraging candidates to apply for your vacancies, so if you offer them, make sure you communicate this clearly. 

  1. Remote working options 

In response to the global pandemic, working from home has become the new norm and has paved the way for a new working environment that potentially removes any geographic restrictions when sourcing niche roles. 

Does your new employee need to be in the office or can they work remotely? 

For employers, the ability to source candidates from a much wider area can immediately add a wealth of potential talent to the mix. 

  1. Maximise efforts and build a pool of talent for future requirements 

Having gone to all the effort of finding and attracting potential talent for your roles, it’s important to consider the future. Make sure you store candidate data in a manner that allows you to get in touch with candidates that may have not been suitable for the role right now, but could be in the future. 

Managing talent in this manner can provide you with a pot of potential candidates for all future requirements which is free and quick to utilise. 

  1. Deliver the best experience possible

A negative candidate experience can not only have a significant impact on your ability to recruit now but also in the future, so when talent is of a premium it is critical to ensure that each and every candidate received the best impression of your business. 

Think about your future requirements and how these candidates could fit into your longer term requirements, as well as the role they are applying for, and make sure that they remain engaged and keen to work for your organisation regardless of when that may be. 

Delivering the best possible candidate experience is essential if you are recruiting for niche roles. 

  1. Potential to move internal candidates

If you still find yourself struggling to find candidates with the skills you are looking for, it may be worth looking at your current workforce and see if there is any opportunity for internal growth and development. 

Whether you choose to promote the vacancy and let employees apply or proactively engage with those who you see with potential, an internal candidate could prove to be a great solution and allow you to concentrate your recruitment efforts on slightly easier to fill vacancies. 

Recruiting the right person, in the right place, at the right time is vital to any organisation but can be both time and labour intensive especially when recruiting for niche roles.

Whether these roles have been brought about by new developments or technologies or are a traditional craft that is no longer in high demand, when the number of candidates is small, companies need to adopt a fresh and innovative approach to recruiting in order to secure top talent. 

Contact us for more information on recruitment innovation across your sector and see how we can help your organisation attract, engage, manage and onboard the best talent for your business. 

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