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4 Actions to Help You Get the Employees You Need Now One employer couldn't find the technical skills he needed, but he could find something else: a willingness to learn.

By Heather R. Huhman Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It's a bad time to be hiring. According to a 2016 report from ManpowerGroup, 40 percent of the more than 42,300 global employers surveyed are having trouble filling open positions. Of those,19 percent said the reason they couldn't find talent is the lack of experience or technical competencies available.

Related: 4 Secrets Behind the Best Employee Training

With so many employers having trouble finding the right employees, maybe it's time to rethink your approach to hiring. By redefining how to assess job candidates, organizations can better find the skilled talent they need.

Here are four ways to find people with the skills employers want:

1. Rethink job requirements.

Ryan Petersen, CEO of Flexport, a freight forwarding company in San Francisco, needed employees who were technologically skilled, experienced in logistics and relationship-driven. However, he soon found that those people were a rare breed.

To fill his open positions, Petersen told me, he realized he needed to rethink the skills he was looking for. Via email, he said that instead of focusing on logistical skills, he took inventory of the qualities his successful employees already had. And above all, he found one common element: intellectual curiosity.

This allowed him to identify employees with that same quality, then put them through an onboarding process that exposed them to job-related skills. The trick wasn't to find people with the exact right experience and knowledge, but rather people willing to learn.

2. Find new talent pools.

As the owner of marketing and video firm FeedbackWRENCH in Elko New Market, Minn., Rob Satrom often comes across entrepreneurs who are looking for skilled laborers. However, they've told him, they have trouble finding people who want to learn and master a trade.

To solve this issue, these entrepreneurs began to search for employees in new places. "We're seeing that major corporations are starting to head into high schools and community colleges," said Satrom in an email. By explaining to young students how lucrative and in-demand these desired skills are, the entrepreneurs he knows have been able to interest more people in these careers.

Related: Here's How Going Cheap on Employee Training Is Costing You

Another way reach this young talent is by attending career fairs that the schools organize. Contact various educational institutions near you to find out about opportunities to meet potential talent and get them started in the hiring process.

3. Use better hiring software.

Sometimes, finding the best talent is about the right hiring tools. Thanks to new technology, it's possible to better assess the skills of potential employees.

Take Koru, for example. This predictive hiring platform allows employers to quickly screen and identify top candidates, all in one place. As a result, employers can spend less time sifting through resumes and more time on recruiting skilled talent.

If a new hire doesn't have all the necessary skills, Koru also has a training feature. The research-based developmental tool helps new hires get up to speed, with engaging content and experience-based training.

4. Get your team involved.

Candor is one quality that Steven Muntean, managing director of Overwatch Capital, a company providing angel investments and managed services in Jacksonville, Fla., said he's always looking for in job candidates. Yet, it's proven very hard for him and his team to find.

"Too often, candidates beginning our selection process feel an immediate need to explain their resume line-by-line, when, in reality, we just want to have a human-to-human conversation where we can understand candor," Muntean said via email.

Related: Will Training Help Improve Employee Performance?

To more accurately assess this and other qualities, Muntean has each candidate go through several in-person interviews with various members of his team. This allows team members to gain a better perspective about each candidate and understand all he or she has to offer.

Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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