We know the skills shortage remains a challenge for in-house recruiters in certain industries.

So if you’re recruiting in a sector affected by the ongoing skills shortage, how can you still secure the talent your organisation needs?

  1. Nurture home-grown talent

This has to fit in with the wider objectives and growth of your organisation, but investing in home-grown talent through a school-leaver, apprenticeship or graduate scheme can be incredibly beneficial.

There are considerations of course, with time and cost being two immediate concerns. Any new hire is going to need time to settle in and training before they start contributing to your organisation. But if you’re recruiting candidates fresh from education or with limited workplace experience, that induction is going to be far more intensive.

This can place an added burden on your existing team, and there needs to be an expectation that it may be months before your new hire has developed the skills, experience and confidence they need to deliver their core function.

The flipside, however, is that you can nurture the skills and outlook that you need, which is particularly valuable if you require a niche or declining skillset.

Other positive outcomes? Investing in a young person’s career can result in an incredibly engaged and loyal team member if your organisation has the support structure in place to help them thrive in their role. And pursuing a route such an apprentice scheme could help alleviate some of the financial burden of training, as some roles may be funded.

  1. Prepare for passive candidates

Recruiting in a skills shortage can not only be a fruitless exercise, but an expensive one. Recruitment advertising and other associated recruiting costs can be hard to swallow when you haven’t been able to place a suitable candidate.

This is where your ATS steps in.

Your candidate database should hold a wealth of talented passive candidates. To efficiently manage this data, you should have the ability to set up talent pools for categories such as region, skillset or sector.

You can then search for candidates according to your own criteria and populate these new talent pools with suitable candidates – candidates who you may have already screened and possibly interviewed.

These talent pools become your first stop for identifying suitable candidates for new roles. This can not only reduce costs associated with promoting your vacancies, but can also lessen your recruitment administration and free up time for your team to work on more strategically valuable tasks.

  1. Offer a strong candidate experience

In this (sorry, buzzword alert) ‘war for talent’, every single touch-point you have with a potential candidate matters.

From your presence on social media to the look and feel of your careers site, your employer brand plays a vital role in forging a connection between your organisation and an applicant.

Once a candidate has been compelled to apply for a role, it is essential that you deliver a positive experience for them. Ensure your careers site is optimised across multiple devices to encourage candidates to apply no matter where they are. Create configurable application forms that are sleek and simple to use, as lengthy forms may lead to candidates dropping out. Provide consistent communication with applicants at each stage of the process to maintain candidate engagement and a positive perception of your brand.

Whilst these steps won’t help you source talent during a skills shortage, they will help you to retain those that reach your vacancies. To continually improve your candidate experience, use functionality such as the standard reports in your ATS to understand at which point you’re losing candidates from your application forms or tools such as Google Analytics to determine levels of candidate engagement with your careers site.

There is no rapid solution to this current skills shortage.

But we hope we’ve offered three valuable and practical measures to help secure the talent your organisation needs.

Find out more

Is your ATS ready for social recruiting?

Industry in focus: Recruiting engineering talent

How we can inspire a new wave of workers


About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.