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How to Expand Your Candidate Pipeline in Portland: 4 Steps to Find Great Talent

05 / 19 / 21 | Employers

When you have an open position that needs to be filled quickly, you want a pipeline of qualified talent that is vetted and ready to go. Prior to the pandemic, unemployment was at historic lows and finding great candidates could be difficult. Today, that challenge has continued for different reasons. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Multnomah County, the home of Portland, had one of the region’s highest unemployment rates in 2020 at 13.4%. However, with the ongoing pandemic, generous unemployment benefits, and concerns around returning to work, candidate flow continues to be tight.

Despite these issues, there’s never been a better time to build up your talent pipeline with quality candidates and create a robust sourcing and qualification strategy for your team. So, how do you spot great talent and expand your candidate pipeline with the right people? Follow these four steps to find great talent for your organization and grow your candidate pool in Portland ahead of your next hire.

Step 1: Create a Candidate Persona

In order to identify quality candidates for your company, you’ll want to start by building a candidate persona. This fictional persona defines the characteristics of your ideal employee including details such as work experience, education, skill sets, professional goals and motivations, and preferred work environment. Creating a candidate persona involves research and interviews with relevant stakeholders in order to determine the most important characteristics a candidate will need in order to be successful. Ultimately, your persona should be as detailed as possible and data driven.

Once you have your ideal employee defined, it’s a good idea to share the information with anyone involved in the hiring process to make sure nothing was missed. While this may seem like a lot of effort up front, having an accurate candidate persona lays the foundation for all of the following steps and ensures you’re working to recruit the right professionals.

Step 2: Develop Unique Job Descriptions

Using the candidate persona you created, it’s now time to develop detailed job descriptions for your open roles and those positions that you commonly need to fill. The job description will serve as a checklist for both you and job seekers when determining whether or not their background, experience, and skills are a fit for the role. However, it’s important to remember that the description should not be a list of all the skills you identified for your ideal employee. If you list every skill you’re looking for, you might unintentionally filter out quality candidates.

For example, research has shown that women will only apply for a job when they meet all of the requirements, while men on the other hand will apply if they have 60% of the skills needed. Similarly, many job descriptions still include education requirements, like a bachelor’s degree, when in fact higher education is not necessary for a candidate to be successful in the role. As a result, when creating unique job descriptions, it’s important to make sure the qualifications and skills you are including are the most important for the position.

Step 3: Screen for Disqualifiers

Your job description is live and attracting interest from job seekers. Next, you’ll want to start reviewing applications and screening for disqualifiers. This means eliminating potential candidates based on a lack of the critical skills you included in the job description. Screening your talent this way early in the recruiting process will save you time later by ensuring you only follow-up with candidates who have the right qualifications.

If you’re looking for talent with certain trade skills or certifications, this is also a good time to conduct a technical assessment or review their credentials to be sure they have the necessary abilities for the job. While this step in the recruitment process may take time, it’s worth it in the long run when your search ultimately results in higher quality candidates and an expanded candidate pool.

Step 4: Reduce Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias refers to the social stereotypes, underlying attitudes, and beliefs individuals unconsciously attribute to other groups of people. These biases can affect how an individual understands members of another group and how they interact with them. Everyone has their own unconscious biases and, while training programs can be helpful in adjusting automatic ways of thinking, processes and systems can also help to eliminate bias and discrimination.

One place this is particularly important is the recruitment and hiring process. Unconscious bias can prevent candidates that are otherwise highly qualified from advancing or being included in the talent pipeline. For example, previous research has found that resumes with African American-sounding names are called back for an interview 14% less than identical applicants with a white name. So, what can you do to reduce unconscious bias and expand your talent pool? Here’s a few suggestions:

∙ Remove gendered pronouns from job descriptions.

∙ Make your application process blind by removing candidate demographics and identifying information.

∙ Create a diverse hiring team for open roles to ensure a broad range of views have hiring input.

∙ Work to identify and address implicit bias through company-wide trainings.

Review your recruitment and hiring process to catch and correct any steps that allow for bias to affect decisions.

Are you ready to grow your Portland talent pipeline and expand your pool of qualified candidates? Atlas Staffing’s newest location in Tigard is now open and here to help with all your recruiting and staffing needs. Reach out today to get started!

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