There’s no time like the present to rethink hiring strategies. Job seekers are in short supply, workers are rapidly changing jobs or leaving the workforce altogether, and employers are challenged with building a more inclusive and supportive workplace. It will take more than traditional hiring practices to win candidates from competitors.

Here are a few ways to switch up your approach to talent acquisition to better meet your hiring goals.

Shine the spotlight on skills

Companies that are finding candidates hard to come by may want to consider removing some of the barriers that keep capable workers from applying. 

An analysis of recent job postings found that many employers have been rewriting their job descriptions to prioritize skills, rather than requiring candidates to have specific degrees and years of experience. Employers reduced degree requirements for 46% of middle-skill positions and 31% of high-skill positions between 2017 and 2019. 

This trend has continued throughout the pandemic, particularly in industries that are in desperate need of workers. For example, from 2019 to 2020, job postings for intensive care and critical care nurses that included bachelor’s degree requirements dropped from 35% to 23%. 

This skills-first or skills-based approach to hiring is proving successful. LinkedIn recently tested it out by replacing the requirements in a customer support consultant position with a short list of “preferred experiences” and granting an interview to anyone who could pass a two-part skills assessment. The majority of candidates hired from this trial wouldn’t have made it through the company’s previous process.

Interview for potential

Finding talent is only half the battle. Ideally, new hires will see the job as a long-term commitment. And candidates who can be dropped right into a role with little or no training may end up disengaged with the work, disconnected from their team, and eager to move on as soon as another opportunity comes along. That’s why it might be well worth taking a chance on candidates who prove to be a good cultural fit for the team but don’t already have all the desired technical skills. 

The main benefit to this approach is that it provides newcomers with immediate learning opportunities alongside their coworkers. Since a lack of career development and advancement opportunities is one of the top reasons employees leave or consider leaving jobs, this could make all the difference in whether they stick around and develop into engaged members of the team.

The challenge here is that a traditional resume doesn’t adequately communicate a candidate’s potential or cultural fit. Employers will most likely uncover these character traits by using screening assessments or during the interview process, where they can look for soft skills like critical thinking and problem solving, a desire and willingness to learn, and the ability to accept and apply feedback. These traits will help new hires master the technical skills they lack. 

Lean on technology

The move toward virtual recruiting during the pandemic prompted many employers to include more technology in their hiring strategy. Aside from using an applicant tracking system to manage the candidate database and automate basic recruiting tasks, here are some of the tools improving the hiring process today: 

  • Sourcing software automates the outreach process by matching job seekers to available jobs, often reaching passive candidates, too. 
  • Referral automation taps into the social networks of employees and other company ambassadors to bring in high-quality referral candidates.
  • AI recruiting tools range from platforms to filter through resumes and find the most qualified candidates to chatbots that can start conversations with candidates when recruiters aren’t available. 
  • Interview scheduling tools eliminate back-and-forth emailing and allow candidates to easily pick an interview time that works best for them.
  • Automated screening assessments are an unbiased way to evaluate candidates’ skills and determine whether they possess personality traits that would make them a good fit for the job. 

There are many benefits of a tech-driven approach to hiring — it can promote inclusive and diverse hiring, minimize administrative work, and allow recruiters to spend more time nurturing relationships with candidates. 

From tweaking the job description to investing in recruiting technology, trying some of these approaches could open the door to job seekers who’ve been previously overlooked. So employers will have a wider talent pool to choose from, and workers who wouldn’t have qualified for the jobs before will have the chance to prove their potential.