Taken at face value, there’s no shortage of people that you can employ. Headlines regularly bombard unsuspecting readers with statistics that suggest the UK is facing high unemployment rates and you would be forgiven for thinking that this means employers can very easily pick and chose who they recruit with very little effort.

I’ve seen intelligent and respectable business owners writing off the unemployed as lazy when they’ve seen their vacancies for highly specialised roles unanswered for long periods of time, but the truth of the matter is that you might actually have a much smaller pool of people you can draw from than you might expect. The roles you are trying to fill may be more of a niche than you think and there has always been a shortage of skilled and experienced workers. Our modern climate is no real exception.

Here are a few things that you can do to fight against the skilled worker shortage:
1. Give People the Chance to Prove Themselves

There will be people out there that will be revolutionary at the job you’re advertising but you will be reluctant to give them a chance because they either lack the recommended qualifications for the role or more likely they lack that coveted five years of prior experience that you’re demanding.

Speaking as someone who has been on the wrong side of the experience equation, there are people who would be more than capable of doing your advertised role, but you need to give them a break. There’s a risk that you’ll get someone incompetent or inappropriate, but essentially there’s the same risk when only accepting the most experienced candidates. You never really know what someone will be like until you give them a try for a week or two, so don’t be afraid of taking the occasional risk if you’re struggling.

2. Demand Less

It’s tempting to demand a lot from your applicants. Requiring extensive prior experience and lots of qualifications tends to be a safer bet on paper, but many job listings end up with outrageous demands that are far in excess of what is actually needed. I was nearly put off applying for a very straight forward administration role several years ago that demanded an extensive knowledge of Microsoft Access, but the role only really needed you to be able to recognise the program’s icon on the desktop.

If you are recruiting in a field where there might be a smaller talent pool, then downgrading some of the things on your list from requirements to “nice to haves” might yield a greater response. You might be surprised by what some people consider themselves to be not very good at when it comes to their skills and you might find yourself with an absolute genius that simply lacks confidence. Before you snap back with a declaration that you want people with confidence, just remember that confidence does not always equal competence. A few more humble employees might in actual fact be exactly what you need and high demands will attract an equal number of blaggards as it will ideal applicants.

3. Search in Similar Industries

Think about asking for applicants in fields that are similar to yours and for people who might have transferable skills and may not even be looking for you in particular. Unless you have a big brand name behind your company, not many people will know you exist and there will be people appropriate for your vacant role working in industries that you don’t operate in that might be interested.

In our modern age, people jump careers all the time and transfer from role to role on a regular basis. Some transitions might seem outrageous in principle, but the skills might be the same. It might also be that people simply want a change and have a completely justifiable skill set to do so.

This almost goes back to the prior experience example – just because someone hasn’t had five plus years experience in your particular industry, it doesn’t mean they’ll be clueless morons driving your company into the ground.

4. Plan Ahead
By: Eric Cuthbert
It pays to keep a very close eye on who is out there and employable at all times if you might struggle to fill any of your roles. I’ve heard rumours that a lot of companies that are recruiting at any one time don’t actually have any roles to fill and are just trying to find out who might be available at any one point, although this sounds suspiciously like a conspiracy theory passed around the frustrated and unemployed.

You might not have the resources or budget to do anything as extravagant as this, but you can still keep an eye on the job market to see if similar roles to the ones you might need are coming up and being filled on a regular basis.

Your staff can announce that they are leaving at any time. Although some roles might have a longer notice period than others, losing a key member of staff in a key area can be a nightmare if you’re unprepared.


Good employees can be hard to find, but there are plenty of smart adaptable people out there looking for work, either with jobs already or unattached to any other company. Maybe set your sights a little lower and have a little more faith in the talent pool, but whatever you do don’t give up hope – the ideal applicant for you does exist.



Jim Wilson/The New York Times
“The traditional markers people use for hiring can be wrong, profoundly wrong,” says Vivienne Ming, the chief scientist at Gild since late last year.
That someone was Luca Bonmassar. He had discovered Mr. Dominguez by using a technology that raises important questions about how people are recruited and hired, and whether great talent is being overlooked along the way. The concept is to focus less than recruiters might on traditional talent markers — a degree from M.I.T., a previous job at Google, a recommendation from a friend or colleague — and more on simple notions: How well does the person perform? What can the person do? And can it be quantified?

The technology is the product of Gild, the 18-month-old start-up company of which Mr. Bonmassar is a co-founder. His is one of a handful of young businesses aiming to automate the discovery of talented programmers — a group that is in enormous demand. These efforts fall in the category of Big Data, using computers to gather and crunch all kinds of information to perform many tasks, whether recommending books, putting targeted ads onto Web sites or predicting health care outcomes or stock prices.

Of late, growing numbers of academics and entrepreneurs are applying Big Data to human resources and the search for talent, creating a field called work-force science. Gild is trying to see whether these technologies can also be used to predict how well a programmer will perform in a job. The company scours the Internet for clues: Is his or her code well-regarded by other programmers? Does it get reused? How does the programmer communicate ideas? How does he or she relate on social media sites?

Gild’s method is very much in its infancy, an unproven twinkle of an idea. There is healthy skepticism about this idea, but also excitement, especially in industries where good talent can be hard to find.


Soccer players cheering with trophy


A five-piece mariachi band, a cake with a hidden message, and more food than you’d believe, were all delivered to our office—resume in tow—in an attempt to help an applicant stand out from the other 2,000 monthly hopefuls who apply for a job here. People do crazy things like this because they, with all their hearts, want to work at Red Frog Events.

It’s no secret that great people build great companies, so it’s baffling to me that more companies don’t treat recruitment as the single most important department. Red Frog has treated it this way from day one with spectacular results: We currently hire just one out of every 750 applicants.

How to attract great applicants:

Positive work culture. It’s flat-out fun working at Red Frog. I work with 130 of the nicest, smartest, and most fun people I’ve ever met. The pure fun and excitement of an ordinary Red Frog day never gets old. New recruits notice.
Incredible benefits. Our benefits package includes unlimited vacation days (see Give Your Employees Unlimited Vacation Days), a sabbatical every five years, a 10 percent 401k match with no vesting schedule and many more great perks.
Office environment. We have an award-winning camp-themed office environment that includes a tree house (see Your Employees Need a Treehouse), zip-line and rock-climbing wall, among many other fun surprises. It makes coming to work exciting.
Heavy recruitment. We could simply let the applicants come to us, but we don’t. Long lines and raw excitement to meet the Red Frog crew at nearly every job fair within six hours of Chicago is the norm.


Recruiting is one of the most important things things your company does. You recruit not only to succeed as a business, but also to excel compared to your competitors. After all, what’s a company without employees? Ensure that your company continues on strong, long after you’ve moved on, by taking the time to attract, screen, and secure the best job candidates.

Traditional Recruiting Methods

Recruiting is hardly a new concept for businesses, no matter if they’re new or established. Despite the rapid pace of change in HR methods, many of the classic recruiting methods still have roles to play in today’s world.

Newspapers are one of the oldest methods of connecting with people in their homes, and are still picked up and read by a large segment of the population today. In addition to traditional home delivery papers, most media companies now operate parallel online news sites. Make sure you check if your ad will be posted to both mediums, before you decide if it’s worth the investment.

Postings at the local Employment Office

Your local unemployment office will always be filled with people looking for work. Usually operating an extensive candidate database, financial hiring support programs, and supplementary training for struggling applicants, the employment office is a great place to affordably find many types of employees, very quickly.

Using Temp Agencies

Temporary employment agencies are quite common, and are occasionally their employees’ only source of income for extended periods of time. Experienced temporary workers can often pick up new tasks very quickly. When employers aren’t confident what the right applicant for the job will look like, or are only in need of  short-term project help, these are a great way to go.

Hiring Internally

Hiring internally is a time-tested way to ensure you have the right person for the job, and is also probably one of the easiest. You and your team already personally know the people who work at your company, and you know their work history and performance. Making a decision can be difficult, and hiring internally can cause problems, but the savings in recruiting and training costs can be significant.

Modern Recruiting Methods

The world is growing and changing, and so is the world of recruiting. New technologies like the internet and smartphones have made information is available any time and anywhere.

Leverage Smart Phones

Smart phones access to countless applications and virtually any web page. Job candidates the world over are glued to their phones. Interact in their space by optimizing your careers portal, providing ample information about your company online, and even leveraging older phone features like SMS for recruiting.

Tap in to Social Media

Most young professionals use Facebook and Twitter more commonly than they read the newspaper. Facebook and Twitter are used for everything from news to family updates. Even sports recruiters have used Facebook and Twitter for scouting. You can maximize the benefit of social media and other erecruiting strategies by ensuring that you engage with your customers, your employees, and your job candidates through these channels.

While the mediums of traditional recruiting and modern recruiting are different, the underlying strategies are still largely the same. Find an audience, talk to it, and hope that words spreads. Modern recruiting, however, offers the added convenience of faster and wider information dissemenation, with opportunities for feedback and engagement.




How do companies recruit in an era where technology rules? Recruiting and hiring has changed significantly over the years and continues to evolve as technology changes. It’s important for job seekers to be aware of how companies recruit so they can take advantage of the ways that companies are finding qualified applicants to hire.

Recruitment strategies vary. In the past, a company with job openings placed a classified help wanted ad in the newspaper or stuck a help wanted sign on the door. Some employers still do that, but more companies are turning to a multi-faceted approached to recruiting candidates for employment.

Today, companies are using a variety of methods to find and attract applicants including online job boards, social networking sites and Facebook and mobile apps.

Passive vs. Active Recruiting

In some cases, employers passively recruit by simply posting jobs on their company website and waiting for applicants to find the job posting and apply. They don’t need to do anything else because of the volume of applications they receive. Other companies are actively recruiting candidates using many different ways to connect with and engage potential employees. Even if they do get many applications they want to be sure they are reaching the best candidates including those who may not be actively seeking employment, but may be interested if they saw a job posting or were recruited.

Recruiting on Company Websites

Many large corporations have more applicants than they can readily manage, so there is no need to advertise extensively for candidates for employment. For example, Southwest Airlines received 193,636 resumes and hired 4,349 new employees in 2011. That’s a lot of applicants for every available job. Still, Southwest has a Careers section of the company website with information on jobs, benefits, the company culture, internships and tips on what it’s like to work at Southwest. Applicants can apply online by uploading, copying and pasting, or using the resume wizard to get their resume into Southwest’s applicant systems.

Reports indicate that Google receives over a million resumes a year and many other major employers receive comparatively large numbers of applications, as well.

If you know of companies where you would like to work, your first step should be to check out the company website to find available openings and apply online. Going directly to the source will get your application in the system fast and you may be able to sign up to be notified of new job openings as soon as they are posted. Here’s more on finding and applying for jobs on company websites: