4 Ways to Navigate a Shallow Candidate Pool

Back to blog

Walk down the street, and you’ll be inundated with the same message posted on shop doors: we’re hiring! Whether you’re in the food industry or the finance sector, many employers are feeling the weight of The Great Resignation. As more employees continue to quit their jobs, companies are facing shallow candidate pools when trying to replace them. 

If your open positions are sitting unfilled, you’re not alone. 72.8% of recruiters report that they’re struggling to find quality candidates. Your job positions sit vacant for days. Or they’re filled with employees that don’t match the experience you’re looking for. It can be frustrating to figure out where to find the employees your company desperately needs.

In this candidate-centric job market, it’s important to rethink your recruiting strategies. Qualified and motivated candidates are out there. You just have to find them. Read more to discover why your candidate pool feels shallow and how you can fix it.

Navigate a Shallow Candidate Pool


What’s Wrong with My Candidate Pool?

When hiring gets tough, how do you know if it’s your candidate pool or process to blame? First off, let’s define a shallow candidate pool as a small pool of qualified candidates. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, some experts say that a shallow candidate pool may simply mean your depth perception is off. If your hiring or onboarding process lacks strategy, it’s easy to judge candidates as unqualified. HR professionals need to look at their candidates with a hiring strategy in mind. Or you could be missing out on talent. By using objective markers of a qualified candidate, you can start to assess employees differently. 

The beauty of recruiting is that it is both an art and a science. Get your strategy right but don’t be afraid to get creative, too. Consider the following tips to broaden and strengthen your candidate pool. You might just find your next candidate in an unexpected place.


Navigate a Shallow Candidate Pool


4 Tips to Navigate Your Candidate Pool

After countless hours sifting through candidates on job boards, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Follow these tips to improve your candidate pool and retain excellent employees.


4 Tips to Navigate Your Candidate Pool


  • Search For Your Next Candidate Within

You’ve likely exhausted job boards with your open candidates. So it’s time to start searching for qualified candidates differently. Top talent could be hiding right underneath your nose. Focus on in-house talent if you can’t fill particular roles. Internal hiring is not only convenient, it’s cost-effective. Full-time external hires are 61% more likely to be fired for performance as opposed to internal hires. 

In a volatile hiring market, there is a greater degree of trust in your internal hire. You may even get a great hire from a totally different department. Companies should work to create an environment where employees feel empowered to grow with them. Managers should empower employees to try something new internally if it aligns with their career goals. Ultimately, the whole company will benefit from the internal transfer, even if it’s full-time to contract-basis.


Navigate a Shallow Candidate Pool


Another idea is to search within your network too. Recruiters should actively build a talent pipeline with viable candidates. A candidate that didn’t quite make the cut several months ago for a mid-level position may be perfect for an entry-level position you’re struggling to fill. Strategic talent pipelines constantly assess business needs and react accordingly. Connect with potential candidates from competitors, past candidates, and those who can help fill in skill gaps, such as on-demand professionals. Build community on LinkedIn and keep them engaged. You never know who could be the next perfect fit for your company. 


  • Narrow in on Candidate Behaviour

A resume gives you a glimpse into a candidate’s past. But it can’t always accurately communicate their behaviour at work. Up to 89% of recruiters say bad hires lack soft skills. Resumes and cover letters typically don’t give enough insight into essential soft skills. So go back to the drawing board with stakeholders in your talent acquisition team. Recruiters, hiring managers, and HR directors should all be on the same page as to what type of behaviours you’re trying to hire for.


Navigate a Shallow Candidate Pool


For example, you may have a candidate who seems talented and educated for your open position in digital marketing. Once you’ve gone through the entire onboarding process, you realize he lacks direction and isn’t interested in professional development. Had you taught your team to hire for the right behaviour, you’d have picked the candidate that only had one year of experience. But her desire to learn and motivation to get the job done would’ve been the better fit.

Map out exactly what types of soft skills you’re looking to hire. Your job descriptions should be rewritten to highlight the importance of these behaviours. A personality assessment can also help give you greater insight into your candidates. Assess the personality scores before making any final hiring decisions as a team.


  • Make Onboarding Count

It isn’t rocket science. If a new employee isn’t set up with the resources they need, they’re doomed to underperform at their jobs. Unsurprisingly, 77% of employees that go through a formal onboarding process meet their performance goals. Onboarding is a major retention tool that ensures your new hires develop the skills they need. But it isn’t always taken seriously. Only 12% of employees believe they had an effective onboarding experience.


Navigate a Shallow Candidate Pool


When employees do feel they had a great onboarding experience, they tend to have greater job satisfaction. So what does a “good” onboarding process entail? Gallup reminds companies to consider onboarding as a journey. Excellent onboarding processes have a structure with obtainable goals. They foster connections with other employees and show new hires where they fit into the company culture. 

Go back to the drawing board with your talent acquisition team and reconsider your onboarding process. Involve managers company-wide. Manager involvement in your current onboarding process can give you a pulse on how employees initially fit into your organization. Encourage mentorship programs with tenured employees to foster meaningful relationships. You may find you have room for improvement that ultimately benefits your company’s employee retention rate.


Navigate a Shallow Candidate Pool


  • Harness the Power of Oomple 

Believe it or not, some of your vacant positions are best suited for freelancers. If your company faces a particular skills gap or needs a lead on a project, you can find your next candidate through the Oomple platform. From IT to Operations, our staffing platform allows you to connect with the candidates you’re lacking in your pipeline. 

Oomple offers a network and pool of vetted candidates (full-time and on-demand), so you can build your talent pipeline. Don’t sweat creating job candidates and going through it alone, either. Our Success Specialists will support you when creating your pool of candidates. Plus, our accessible Account Managers will assist you with any additional inquiries you may have.

Ready to get started? Sign up for Oomple to hire talented freelancers today!