Having trouble recruiting in a niche space?
It’s hard to find qualified talent in today’s day and age. But it gets even harder if you’re recruiting for a small niche.
Whether it’s a DEI search, an open position with tough location requirements, or even just a niche industry or role, you probably won’t succeed without a little creativity.
While you may luck out and find the perfect candidate, there’s a good chance you’ll need to think outside the box.
That’s where parallel recruiting fits in. In a nutshell, this is the strategy of recruiting someone in a different field or with a different set of skills that’s applicable to your role.
Look for Industries With Similar Skill Sets
No matter how niche your industry is, there are people in other fields with similar skill sets.
For example, say you’re looking for a chief technical officer for a utility company. Of course, your first guess would be to look for someone with deep experience in this industry.
But oftentimes, it can be hard to find a large enough pool of candidates, which may hurt the quality of your final hire because you didn’t have enough options.
Instead of limiting your search to this industry, you could look for someone with experience as a chief technical officer in a related business, like at a civil engineering firm. Many of their skills will be transferrable and it greatly opens up your talent pool, which will lead to a better hire.
Think About Which Skills Are Hardest (or Easiest) to Train for
Hiring managers and executive teams often want to hire a candidate that won’t require any training. But for niche roles, you may have to bend a little here.
Oftentimes, with a little creativity, you can find a candidate that will only require minimal training. To find these candidates, focus on the skills that will be hardest to train for, or are hardest for someone to learn on the job.
For example, say you’re hiring commercial lenders for your bank.
Do you want to hire an amazing salesperson who knows better than anyone how to close but needs to be trained on banking…
Or someone who knows banking inside and out, but can’t close to save their life?
Any hiring manager worth their salt would pick the first! You’d be surprised how quickly the right candidate can learn the industry and start producing.
Rethink What You Really Need From a Candidate
Another obstacle in many niche searches is unrealistic or excessive job requirements. Arbitrary degree or experience requirements are a top offender.
Does your candidate really need 10 years of experience? What if they’ve delivered phenomenal results with only 8 years of experience?
Think about which skills are VITAL for achieving results on the job. A great example is a hiring manager who was looking for a leader who was experienced with using video to communicate with their teams.
While that’s a valuable skill, it’s far from the only way to communicate with teams. In this case, it may be more worthwhile to focus on finding a candidate with great communication skills rather than limiting your talent pool.