3 Top Tips for Hiring Highly-Skilled Workers

It should come as no surprise to talent acquisition and HR professionals that Glassdoor’s newly-announced list of the Best Jobs in the UK for 2019 is dominated by highly-skilled workers, from Audit Manager to Data Scientist to Solutions Architect and more. Specialised jobs such as these command generous salaries, offer a high degree of job satisfaction, and are in-demand. This means it’s critical that you facilitate the hiring process with a little more precision, especially with the UK experiencing a skills shortage.

Open University find that, thanks to this skills shortage, 70 percent of business leaders say the recruitment process is taking longer — 22 extra days, on average. Because of this, 64 percent of business leaders polled reported spending 49 percent more on recruitment and hiring, or £1.23 billion in total. What’s more, Open University also found that 56 percent of business leaders have had to offer “well-above” market average to recruit workers with the specific skills they were looking for; the average increase being £4,150 per hire for small and medium-sized firms and £5,575 per hire for larger organisations.

But don’t let these challenges slow you down. While it may be more challenging to hire highly-skilled workers, it’s far from impossible. Use the following tips to make the most of your time and money and ultimately, hire the workers your organisation needs.

Look Beyond Qualifications Alone

It’s possible for someone to have the right skills, but still be wrong for your organisation. Use the recruitment and interview processes to identify the right cultural fit, in addition to ensuring the skills and experience are present. Peter WatsonMD, co-founder of Distract, a fast-growing creative agency, gives the example: “Their first day is too late to realise they are a private, quieter individual and ill-equipped to work in a busy, creative environment.”

Determining the right cultural fit matters even more when bringing in a key hire with specialised skills. The hiring process for highly-skilled workers is already long and costly, so the process of re-hiring someone new will only tap your budget even further. Use the hiring process to make sure you’re truly getting the right person, from qualifications to cultural fit.

[Related: How to Use Group Interviews to Determine Culture Fit]

Be Upfront With Expectations

A highly-skilled worker may be looking to take their career in a very specific direction. Not to mention, you likely have specific expectations for this role, as well. For example, you may be expecting them to lead a long-term strategy, but “are they will to commit to the long haul?” asks Watson. Since this person will likely be in a leadership position of some sort, setting this expectation, and understanding theirs upfront, is critical.

One way to avoid any issues is to be clear in your job description, suggests Kraig Martin, Commercial Director at Storage Vault, with more than 10 years of experience hiring technical talent. Writing the best job description starts with agreeing internally on the requirements of the role, says Martin.

He explains, “This will help you to define exactly what minimum academic and experience requirements you expect of applicants. Vague descriptions will deter highly-skilled workers who may feel they are over or under-qualified for the position, but it may attract job seekers who are completely wrong for the position.”

This is your chance to speak directly to the person who you want to hire, so be clear in what you’re looking for and which specific skills are required.

[Related: You Need to Rewrite Your Job Descriptions — Here’s How]

Re-Design Your Interview Process

Martin suggests that highly-skilled workers will have a wealth of experience to draw on, allowing them to quickly and easily cite examples during the interview. That’s why it’s important to design an interview process that’s “fashioned to make it clear when someone is not the right fit, composed of both technical and soft skill questions,” says Martin.

As you’re interviewing, Martin says to look for specific red flags, like a lack of tangible example-giving. To spot these warnings, use a mix of competency-based questions and strength-based questions. Agency Central explains:

“Interviewing tends to be most successful when questions are open-based and structured around key attributes that would be required of the candidate in the role they are being considered for. Whilst traditional competency-based questions tend to give the most accurate results, in order to learn more about the motivations and strengths of candidates, many organisations are adding a ‘strengths-based’ element to their selection process.”

For example, ask candidates not just about their skills, but how those skills can be applied in this position and how they will help the candidate succeed.

The skills gap shows no sign of slowing down, so hiring highly-skilled workers will likely only become more challenging. But if you can look beyond qualifications, set expectations up front and hone your interview process early on, you will have an advantage over other organisations.

Learn More:

How to Attract World-Class Tech Talent