Business is moving faster than ever before, with new skill requirements constantly emerging, particularly within information technology roles. This shift presents a challenge for leaders of HR and talent acquisition – how do they locate and attract these niche skills? This blog piece explores some of the forward-thinking methods organisations are employing. They are not all appropriate for every company, as this depends on your specific circumstances and requirements – but provide useful inspiration and direction for your next job hunt.
Hiring niche talent is particularly difficult, so while there will be a long list of skills and experiences you would like the ideal candidate to possess, your first objective should be to find those people who are perfect at the one core thing you need from them.
Innovation tends to centre on technology, but increasingly some of the most interesting innovation is coming from HR and talent acquisition.
One example is with the growing mortgage broker, Habito. Based in London, they knew that their goal of building a top development team would be near-impossible by the recruitment activities and eye watering salaries of Google and Facebook. So rather than competing in the general market, they set about becoming the number one employer for the niche coding language, Haskell. They host meetups for Haskell developers. By adopting this ultra-targeted approach where they are no longer competing against the general market, nor on salary alone.
Since COVID-19 and the growing trend towards flexible and remote working, more companies are opening themselves up to a global market. This is a huge advantage when hiring niche skills which may not exist locally.
Some skills can be new that almost nobody will possess them, and of those that do they may not have thought to mention so in their CV’s.
For these ultra-niche positions, it pays to draw up a list of complementary skills. For example, someone who has skill C is also likely to have skills X, Y and Z. This will allow you to cast the net significantly wider, whilst still ensuring you are speaking to the right kind of candidate.
This point closely relates to the above. Things are moving so quickly that not only is the required talent pool likely to be more like a talent puddle, but in six months the skill in question may have been replaced by something different again.
One solution to this is to focus instead on attributes, rather than skills. For example, if you hire someone with exceptional speed, initiative and an appetite for constantly expanding their knowledge, you may find that they are not only able to acquire the niche skill you need today but many more years to follow.
Focus on attributes over skills will enable you to retain and train, rather than developing a production line of talent that falls off the other end every six months.
This recommendation is sensible for most areas of recruitment but has particular importance for niche hires.
Great people tend to know great people, so by establishing an employee referral scheme you can find someone more qualified for the role.
In response to the explosion of niche skill requirements over the last decade, many specialists recruitment firms have emerged. These companies have databases of thousands of highly targeted candidates that they can instantly access on behalf of clients.
Via Resource, is an example, where we are one of the first recruiters in information and cyber security, and have built up a vast network of specialists, possessing just about every niche cyber skill imaginable.
Generic recruitment strategies are likely to produce generic results. You need to understand where candidates are active, both online and offline. Which events do they attend? What social networks and forums do they use? What online magazines and journals do they read?
When you find a candidate who ticks the right boxes, it’s imperative you don’t then lose them to someone else. This is true of any recruitment process, but when hiring for niche roles the stakes are much higher. You must consider every moment of the candidate experience, and ensure it makes a big impression for the right reasons.
If you are looking for an Information and Cyber Security professional get in touch with us today to go over your requirements.