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Feb 13, 2015

“Where have all the candidates gone?” If you’re among the nearly 40 percent of employers who have an open position for which you can’t find the talent to fill those roles, you’re probably asking yourself this very question.

According to CareerBuilder’s 2015 U.S. Job Forecast, more than a third of employers plan to add full-time, permanent employees this year, the best outlook from the annual forecast since 2006.

But many are finding that planning to hire and actually making a hire are two vastly different undertakings. Across industries, the demand for candidates with specific skills far outnumbers the supply, and the old rules of recruiting no longer apply.

6 things HR leaders need to know

Faced with these new challenges, many employers are exploring alternative approaches to finding talent with the skills they need, as results from the forecast show. Consider the following findings from CareerBuilder’s study, which reveal how employers are working to overcome today’s most common recruiting challenges, and see how you can apply the takeaways to fill skills gaps at your own organization.

1. 58 percent of HR managers are hiring workers without industry experience and training them on the job.

The lesson: Hire for potential, train for skills.

Don’t wait around for the perfect candidate to come along (it could be a very long wait). Take a cue from these HR managers and hire candidates based on their potential for learning — with the intent of training them for the skills they need once they’re in the role.

Use behavioral interview questions to evaluate a candidate’s ability and agility to learn new skills and apply them on the job.

2. Some 40 percent of HR managers are ramping up current employees’ skill sets.

The lesson: When you can’t recruit ‘em, reskill ‘em.

Forward-thinking HR managers are investing in training and development programs to give current employees the skills they need to fill certain roles.

Though employers may be hesitant to invest in skills development for employees (for fear they will leave once they have more marketable skills), research shows the opposite is actually true: Results from a previous CareerBuilder study show 92 percent of employees are more loyal to employers who have invested in their skills by training them.

3. More than a third (38 percent) of HR managers are focusing on building their talent pipeline.

The lesson: Don’t let the good ones get away.

Even if a candidate isn’t right for a position today, he or she could be the perfect fit a few months down the line.

Perhaps that’s why one of this year’s biggest trends involves keeping in touch with qualified candidates, whether that means growing their talent pipeline or giving candidates the ability to join their talent network (and thereby adding to their pipeline).

4. Only one-third of HR managers describe their proficiency with big data as “good” or “excellent.”

The lesson: Go big (data) or go home.

Big data has proven to be an invaluable resource for HR professionals — helping them from everything to gauging the effectiveness of their recruiting efforts to understanding the best areas to recruit. I

In a study published in the book The Talent Equation: Big Data Lessons for Navigating the Skills Gap and Building a Competitive Workforce, 67 percent of employers who use big data to inform their recruitment efforts said it lowered their cost per hire, and 71 percent said it lowered their time to hire.

Embrace big data now — before your competitors do — and you will be light years ahead of them in capturing and attracting top talent in the long term.

5. More than a quarter (28 percent) of HR managers are focusing on improving the candidate experience.

The lesson: Make a lasting impression.

These employers know that getting candidates to apply for a job is only step one. Re-engaging candidates throughout the hiring process is key to capturing quality talent.

Research has found that the experience candidates have as job applicants can influence their decision to accept a job offer — for better or worse.  In fact, one CareerBuilder study found 68 percent of job seekers say they would accept a lower salary if the employer created a great impression throughout the hiring process.

6. 65 percent of employers plan to offer higher starting salaries for new employees.

The lesson: Pay (check) it forward.

For most of the recovery period following the Great Recession, wages have remained relatively stagnant. As the economy picks up and talent pools tighten, however, money will undoubtedly become a differentiator for employers who want to attract top candidates.

With the majority of companies planning to offer employees higher salaries, re-evaluate compensation packages now in order to stay competitive in the long-term.

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