How Houston businesses can attract tech talent amid a tight labor market
It is no surprise to recruiters that, despite high profile layoffs at major corporations, the labor market remains tight, especially in the tech industry.
According to data from McKinsey from the first half of this year, more than 80 percent of tech workers who were laid off found a new job within three months. Many of them found jobs outside of the tech industry, where technically skilled employees are in increasingly high demand.
If small businesses want to remain competitive, they need to evolve their hiring strategies. One answer to expanding the talent pool is skills-based hiring. Unlike traditional recruitment, which focuses mainly on applicants with college degrees or direct experience in their field, a skill-based hiring approach prioritizes specific competencies.
Research from LinkedIn revealed employers who practice skills-based hiring are 60 percent more likely to have success with hiring. A winning skills-based hiring strategy will identify diverse candidates, promote internal upskilling and accelerate the hiring process.
Find diverse candidates
Conventional hiring strategies tend to overlook many of the diverse candidates who benefit from skills-based hiring. One important aspect of skills-based hiring is connecting with these groups, who may not apply through traditional pipelines like online applications, employee referrals, or job fairs.
For example, candidates such as veterans, parents reentering the workforce and people without a college degree may not have the same connections as traditional applicants. Yet they often bring transferable skills and an ability to learn, enabling them to succeed in the role.
To expand their talent pool, businesses can start by connecting with organizations and events in Houston that target diverse groups. For example, the Texas Veterans Commission recommends that employers reach out to their local Texas Workforce Solutions Center to link with veterans seeking employment.
By making an effort to connect specifically with underrepresented groups, small businesses and startups can quickly deepen their pool of available talent.
Provide internal upskilling
Skills-based hiring focuses on the competences employees have already. Through upskilling, however, employers can internally train candidates to take on a new role or hire candidates with strong learning potential. Upskilling is the practice of offering ongoing learning and development (L&D) opportunities to employees to close skill gaps.
Upskilling opportunities cannot only expand the talent pool by enabling employers to train candidates on the job. They can also attract more applications across the board because they are in high demand from job candidates. The American Upskilling Study from Gallup found 57 percent of workers were “extremely” or “very” interested in an upskilling program, especially Black and Hispanic workers.
For small businesses trying to stay competitive, upskilling is an essential component of a skill-based hiring approach.
Accelerate the hiring process
Time-to-hire is telling about the effectiveness of an organization’s recruitment process. When recruitment drags on too long, candidates may accept another offer or grow disengaged with the process. Meanwhile, open roles may go unfilled. Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn data has found over six in 10 HR leaders named time-to-hire as their most important metric for success.
Small businesses and startups who want to increase their competitiveness should start by calculating their current time-to-hire. Once they understand the situation, they can analyze their approach for weaknesses.
Some of the most effective solutions to improve time-to-hire could include redesigning the application process, streamlining interviews, implementing an applicant tracking system or refining job descriptions. The goal is a highly efficient recruitment process that identifies qualified candidates and puts out an offer as soon as possible.
As much as leaders may wish the labor market were not so competitive, it is important to accept the reality and take action. Much like larger corporations, small businesses and startups will find the upper echelon of talent when they embrace skills-based hiring as the future of recruitment.
Jill Chapman is a director of early talent programs with Insperity, a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions.