Suncoast Workforce CEO: Companies must think strategically about recruiting needs

February 11, 2013 

With more than 23,000 unemployed residents in Manatee and Sarasota counties, you would think that employers could be choosy when sourcing for candidates. It may seem intuitive that when talent is plentiful, that it would be simple to find the perfect candidate with the exact skills, education and experience desired.

Actually, that is contrary due to a mismatch between the qualifications desired and what is actually available in the marketplace. You may have heard this commonly referred to as a "skills gap."

The pursuit of perfection is likely to paralyze recruiting efforts, produce fewer candidates and extend the time it takes to fill open positions. Now is the time for companies to think more strategically about their hiring needs by planning and preparing for the best talent acquisition outcomes.

To broaden the talent pool, one strategy is to assess what workforce is available and being mindful of the transferable skills, knowledge and capabilities candidates possess that can transfer to other industries.

For instance, a construction manager would have experience supervising others, managing a budget, monitoring compliance and juggling multiple projects. Those portable skills could easily transfer into another occupation in an industry such as manufacturing.

Another tactic is identifying in-house employees that you can cultivate and grow. Once the skills for the position are defined, prioritizing the characteristics needed to perform the job and determining what areas can be successfully achieved can uncover training opportunities.

Investing in training is a

strategy that can raise employee morale, improve retention and keep employees skills current.

Even the simplest approaches should not be overlooked. It is important to have clear and specific job descriptions, the application process should be easy to complete, and engage candidates during the hiring process. By engaging applicants who align with your organization's future objectives, you can develop a talent pipeline to tap into as future positions become available.

Finding qualified talent can be time-consuming and complex. Even when there are more candidates available than jobs, understanding the employment market, knowing what skills, education and characteristics are needed and optimizing the talent pool can harness right-fit candidates to suit your business needs.

Mary Helen Kress, president and CEO of Suncoast Workforce, a non-profit corporation providing workforce services in Manatee and Sarasota Counties, can be reached at 941-358-4080.

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