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Expand Your Hiring Pool: How Unconventional Talent Helps

by Michael Murphy / June 21, 2021

Does having a college degree make you better at a job than a person without one? Maybe. Maybe not. But culture is stubborn and in some cases, like the workplace arena, it has coined for us a way of hiring and sifting through resumes that may have deprived us of success for centuries.

For a long time, the interviewing room has lived by a set of rules that make a certain candidate the best depending on the industry. The problem with this traditional approach is the homogeneity it creates – like a micromanaging boss who insists on having things done their way or the high way. In most cases, this homogeneity deprives companies of the pros of diversity.

A lot has changed since COVID-19 set in. Many companies are still wading through the mess and as vaccines roll out, the way we hire and our definition for the “best candidate” has to change.  We need to embrace unconventional talent and we’ll tell you why and how you can do that in this article.

Why You Should Hire Unconventional Talent

Getting an unconventional talent pool has everything to do with not being too hung up on job requirements. It’s about a deeper inspection beyond certifications and the accolades recorded on paper. Here are some of the advantages you stand to gain with unconventional job candidates.

1. Expanding your Ability to Find The Right Talent

Going for the unconventional candidate increases the probability of finding the right fit for the role you want. For example, when you’re not focused on getting candidates from a particular high-end college, you open yourself up to talent from different social backgrounds who may not have had the opportunity to attend those schools but still made the cut by attending cheaper schools.

Similarly, when you’re not obsessed with one gender, for example preferring men in roles that are traditionally male-dominated, you’re inviting women who can also do the job. The same goes for preferring certain majors over others. You close up yourself to people who may not have had enough career guidance to pursue certain majors but are naturally gifted in the areas you want.  

2. Diverse Teams who Make Better Profits

Diversity avails skill sets that go beyond a particular scope of work.  Think of unexpected multilateral approaches to situations. For instance, a web developer with previous experience in decor may come in handy when your communications team is swamped with work at an event and help set up the podium, and arrange the seating.

There’s evidence that companies who embrace DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) have been doing better than their counterparts.

According to Forbes, companies who sought ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to succeed in their finances than the national industry median, and those who embraced gender diversity were 15% more likely to record better financial gain than the national industry median.

3. Connecting with Diverse Customers

You could do better with a marketer who was a former customer support agent than with a marketer who is only one because they have a degree. How? The customer support position exposes them to millions of customer concerns. Drawing from this experience enables them to work better and advise the company better on what to avoid or pursue.

If you’re a conglomerate, a well-travelled candidate may be what you need to work in your marketing department as opposed to a hire with just the right papers. They may be multilingual and get you out of a sticky language-barrier situation with customers on the other end of the world.  

4. Better Agility and Decision-Making

The personality test addition to interviews may be good for fitting candidates in what they’re naturally good at. But it may also result in having the same personality styles in particular departments. For example, analytical personalities spend a long time making a decision. It may not work well when you’re on a deadline. A different personality may improve perspectives and introduce a competitive edge.

Highly driven managers may overwhelm their employees leading to employee turnover. A change of or addition of a different temperament on the management team improves HR decision-making which in turn improves employee acquisition.

How to Hire Unconventional Candidates

Now that you know the value of hiring an unconventional candidate, let’s dive into how to do it.

1. Eliminate  Subconscious Bias in Recruitment

When you run a job ad through an AI platform, the algorithm can produce alternatives to biases centered on gender or off-putting language, which helps you to develop a more equitable job description. Afterward, when candidates submit their resumes, the tech gets rid of bias creating elements such as names, pronouns, addresses, colleges, etc.

2. Concentrate on Potential and Not their Educational Background

During interviews, ask more open-ended questions rather than the usual close-ended bunch that determines their hard skills. You may discover a curious nature which is great for innovation.

3. Don’t be too Concerned with Titles

Instead of scouring job platforms for titles, spend time looking at interests and hobbies. With the right training, these interests can be an invaluable addition to your workforce.

4. Write a Job Description that Draws Unconventional Candidates

Rather than a checklist of skills tied to education and formal employment, describe the role in “big picture” words. It helps them see how they fit into your company. Discard irrelevant questions and refrain from including too many sections on the application.

5. Look Away from Mainstream Talent Platforms

There are groups you’re less likely to find on mainstream job platforms. But it doesn’t mean they cannot be found. Partner with organizations that train minority groups like disadvantaged youths, refugees, etc.  You can actively partner with them and recruit talent from these communities when need arises.

6. Personalize your Job Ad

A series of textual information and boxes to check can be too serious and impersonal. Get a little creative and do a video. A video helps you put a face and name to the ad. Candidates are more likely to look forward to working with you when they see you and hear you. You can always add important textual info such as a list of benefits. 

Get the Right Talent with Platinum Group

Wondering how to revolutionize your workforce?  Learn more about how our Talent Acquisition tool can help your business grow by having the right people in place.

Platinum Group is a human capital management resource with solutions to help you streamline operations so you’ll have time to manage your business. No matter which division you work with: Payroll/HR or Accounting, our team is built upon a foundation of support, service, camaraderie and collaboration that we share both in-house and with our wonderful clients. For more information about Platinum Group, or to schedule a demo of iSolved, please visit our website.

Tags: Payroll & Human Resources New Employees Recruiting Strategy Hire HR DEI Acquisition

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Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy

Michael is the founder of Platinum Group. His passion is in helping businesses to simplify their employee management and accounting processes.