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  • Oliver Jessup

How to Nurture Good Candidates When There's a Shortage of Candidates

When a role has no suitable applicants, it can crush your hiring efforts. But there's more to it than that. When the options are slim, you need to tweak your approach. We all know the struggle of finding good candidates when every role has limited options. You have to dig deep to find those hidden gems. Not every company has the same approach.

Here are some tips for finding good candidates when there aren't enough of them:

Have a tailored, customised recruitment strategy

Each candidate's journey is different, even if they all have similar skill sets. You need to tailor every part of your hiring strategy to cater to each and every candidate. This approach will help you retain better candidates. It's also way more efficient than trying to fit every candidate into a single process. Keep in mind that different candidates will have different needs, motivations, and pain points. That's why it's so important to have a hiring strategy that's tailored to each individual, not one that's been copied and pasted for every candidate.

Think creatively about the types of employees you need

When hiring, you might be tempted to focus on finding candidates who are exactly like the people who are currently employed at your company. But resist that urge. Instead, be open to hiring people who have skills and characteristics that are applicable to your business but who don't necessarily have the same background as your current employees. If you are in a situation where you need to grow your team but can't find the right candidates, think creatively about the types of employees you need. Then, look for candidates who have the skills you need, even if they don't have the same background as your current team members.

Be transparent and honest with candidates

Candidates want to know what the hiring process is like. They want to know when they will be contacted and interviewed. They want to know what is expected from them. And they want to know if they will be accepted or rejected. You have to be transparent with them at every step, keeping them in the loop the whole time. This will build trust and make them more likely to accept an offer if they are chosen. This might sound like common sense, but it's a lot harder than it seems. Every candidate wants to hear something different. For some, it's best to be honest up front and tell them they're unlikely to be chosen. For others, honesty is key, but you can't tell them they're unlikely to be chosen. And for others, you need to keep an air of mystery so they remain engaged.

Be transparent about the role and your expectations for new employees

Candidates want to know that they are applying for the right job, and they want to understand what is expected of them as new hires if they are hired. Keep an ongoing dialogue with potential candidates and candidates who you have already interviewed by posting information on your company's website. Include details that show why your company is a great place to work and that provide information about the role and the expectations for new employees.

Be flexible on your requirements

You need to be flexible on your requirements. This is particularly important when there are very few candidates to choose from. You can't just say, "These are my requirements; if you don't fit them, then you can't apply." You have to be open to discussing potential changes. It's a hiring manager's job to be flexible, but you can't expect candidates to know that. You need to make your expectations clear but also leave room for flexibility. If you have a strict requirement for a degree in a specific field, but there are no candidates who meet that requirement, you may need to be flexible on that.

Show your job ads to current employees

You may have one or two employees who can be your secret weapon when it comes to finding good candidates for your open roles. They may have connections with people who are looking for a new job. They might even be interested in the role themselves but not be aware that it's available. Give your current employees a chance to apply for the role. You can do this by showing them your job ads. Make the job ads visible to all employees, and make sure they're visible in multiple locations, including the company's internal social media sites. Showing your current employees the job ads gives them a chance to apply for the roles they're interested in. It could also lead to them referring their connections to apply for the roles, giving you even more options.

Be flexible about how much you pay

If you are struggling to attract candidates, you might be tempted to increase your pay scale to attract better candidates. Resist this urge, at least initially. Instead, be flexible about how much you pay for open positions. There are lots of benefits to hiring people who are not driven by financial considerations. Great employees who don't need or want to get rich are often happy and loyal employees because they are working in a field where they are interested in making an impact and helping people. Great employees who aren't primarily motivated by money are often happy and loyal employees who work hard and want to make the most of their careers rather than just make the most of their paycheques.


When hiring is challenging, you need to find creative ways to nurture a candidate pipeline. When the job market is thriving, it's relatively easy to find great people to fill your open roles. When it's a bit tougher, you can struggle to locate those qualified applicants you need. Your goal should be to develop relationships with potential candidates so that when positions open up at your company, you have plenty of great applicants ready to be interviewed and potentially hired.

Finding good candidates can be difficult when there are very few of them. But you can make it easier by changing your strategy and using one or more of these tips. If we can help you with your recruitment needs, please get in touch.

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