Recruiting In a Pandemic: Don’t Ignore Raw Talent

By Astrid Wonderley on June 10, 2022

Thanks to COVID-19, the employment market has shifted in unprecedented ways. Millions of previously employed people are suddenly looking for work, and recruiters now have piles of resumes to choose from. But this talent pool largely comes from retail, entertainment, and service industry professionals. At first glance, you may think that workers from different industries or backgrounds couldn’t possibly be a good fit for your firm. But what if instead, you treated them as raw talent who could be thoughtfully trained into hard-to-fill roles?

It would require a change in attitude about what makes a good hire, and a willingness to train and mentor new hires into the role. But if you are willing to make this shift, you can find wonderfully talented and loyal workers who will be exactly trained to your company’s unique needs.

For this shift to succeed, you have to start by changing management’s perspective on what makes a great hire.

How to get managers on board

Decision-makers often approach recruiting with gut instincts and pet theories about the specific skills, previous job titles, and degrees that make for a ‘perfect candidate.’ They often refuse to consider candidates that aren’t a perfect match. But if you want to hire raw talent, that approach to vetting your candidate pool needs to change.

This transformation won’t happen easily. It will require conversations and research to help managers gain a new perspective on talent. But if recruiters take the time to educate managers about the benefits these candidates bring to the company, the recruiting culture will eventually evolve.

If you’re using Berke’s assessment platform, here are a few steps to gather the traits and abilities of quality candidates who can be easily trained to the specific job:

  1. Ask hiring managers to describe their highest performers and the traits that make them successful. Ask managers to describe a time when these employees stepped up, solved a problem, or delivered quality work. What is it about these team members that made them special? As you dig deeper, they will start to identify the core skills and capabilities that make the best workers. Capture these stories, and work with hiring managers to identify the traits that they want in an employee. You can use these insights to reshape the job description and postings for new talent.
  2. Ask managers to have the top 2-4 people on their team complete a job survey to generate a benchmark report. This subject matter expert-based analysis will allow you to tease out the specific traits that separate top performers from everyone else. These insights can be used to create a formal hiring profile that recruiters can use to determine who in the candidate pool would make a good hire — and who to avoid. These insights will also help hiring managers to let go of job-specific criteria (2+ years on a manufacturing line) to focus on the most valuable traits (attention to detailrapid problem solving) or core skills (cash handling, Excel).
  3. Use your hiring profile and benchmark report to rethink your job descriptions and interview process. When you find a promising candidate, Berke’s pre-employment assessment can vet their skills, and provide interview questions that uncover how they use those skills on the job. Their answers in combination with their assessment results will tell you who is likely to thrive in your workplace, and what training they will need to get-up-and-running.

These uncertain times offer a unique opportunity to find amazing employees who could become great additions to your team with just a little extra support. Giving candidates with raw talent a chance to prove themselves, and providing additional training and mentoring to help them find their place in your company, is a great way to generate loyalty and to fill your ranks with the best people currently looking for work.