The world is on the brink of recession, and talent acquisition professionals are constantly finding new ways to attract quality talent. Simultaneously, an increasing number of people are unemployed. What creates such a huge gap in the supply and demand equation?
Harvard Business School and Accenture looked into this gap and found that the traditional hiring process overlooks a considerable portion of job seekers. According to their research, over 27 million people belong to this untapped talent pool. They have dubbed this group “hidden workers.”
Hidden workers are not hiding away from job openings. In fact, they are trying to enter the workforce, but recruiters often fail to notice them. Those who fall into this talent pool may lack a formal education, come from disadvantaged backgrounds or face health challenges that prevented them from working in the past.
Why Should You Recruit Hidden Workers?
According to the research, organizations that hire hidden workers face 36% fewer skill shortages. Employers also report that hidden workers perform significantly well, noting high attendance rates and strong work ethics. Hidden workers also improve company productivity and innovation, contribute to the company’s DE&I efforts and bring new perspectives to the table.
Is Your ATS Keeping Talent Hidden From Your Pipeline?
Applicant tracking systems have become a necessity for every agency. But without the proper attention, an ATS could filter out qualified résumés just because applicants do not look perfect on paper.
Here are several ways you can help create a truly inclusive hiring process.
Source through job centers. If you want to include hidden workers into your hiring pipeline, it is important to be easily accessible. According to Harvard Business School’s research on this talent pool, hidden workers tend to favor job centers.
Revisit your job descriptions. Job descriptions are the first communication point between a candidate and the company. The language you use should be inclusive, and you’ll want to be more selective with job requirements. Assess which skills and qualifications are really needed for the job, and include the rest as “nice to have” and not “must have.”
Simplify the application process. Bear in mind that hidden workers have likely faced a lot of rejection in their job search and may not be in the right mindset to partake in an arduous application process. Keep it short and include simple questions that are easy to answer.
Use affirmative job filters. Instead of using your applicant tracking system to filter candidates out, use affirmative job filters that filter candidates in. For example, you could filter candidates based only on the required skill sets instead of by their level of education. This will prevent you from rejecting candidates simply because they don’t fit the criteria of a traditional job applicant.
Generate targeted recruitment campaigns. The hidden talent group is far from homogeneous, which is why it might help to focus on a particular group of individuals. You can always expand targeted campaigns as needed, and this can show other potential candidates that you are open-minded.
Practice competency-based hiring. Résumés hardly tell the full story about a candidate. In fact, the best way to combat the rigid filtering of an ATS is to add a human eye to the automated process. You can facilitate this by using assessments as a first step in evaluating candidates.
Use returnships. Returnships are internships for people who have been away from the workforce for a while. Just as internships help students transition into the work environment, returnships can give hidden workers an opportunity to return to their careers and learn new skills.
Reassessing Barriers to Entry
Before you begin your recruitment efforts, meet with all stakeholders to decide what is really required for the job. It is crucial to hold hidden workers to the same standards as all other applicants and remember that hiring from this talent pool is by no means a CSR activity but an effort to improve the ROI of your recruitment process.