In our current economy, even with a sluggish recovery, there are some hiring challenges that recruiters regularly face. One of them is conventionally referred to as “the skills gap.”

This generally refers to the progress of technology without the advancement in education or knowledge of the workforce. While it is usually seen in manufacturing, other industries such as accounting also face this problem as jobs begin to open up but candidates are not qualified.

As a recruiter, how can you solve this problem for your internal and external clients?

Recruiters have all faced this scenario. Our client contacts us with a request for an employee. This person must have every single one of a laundry list of skills to be considered. However, when we begin to search, we discover candidates with various combinations of skills from the list but no one checks all the boxes. We feel like we need to go back to our client and inform them that their prize candidate simply doesn’t exist.

Or do they?

Just because these superstar candidates aren’t currently in your candidate pool doesn’t mean they aren’t swimming nearby.

In a recent survey by the Career Advisory Board, only 17% of hiring managers said that candidates had all of the necessary skills for their open positions. However, 36% of candidates believe that they could get a job in an industry in which they have never worked before. The skills gap may be less of a problem than we make it out to be.

Recruiters need to source different avenues to find the candidates that their clients are seeking. Social recruiting is quickly becoming the most important tool in the recruiter’s belt for discovering passive and harder to find candidates who are able to fill their client’s requests.

Frequently, it is more important to find a candidate with the right personality fit for your hiring manager’s or client’s company. Some of the skills they are requesting can be taught, but the soft skills, such as excellent customer service, ability to work with a team, and creative thinking are difficult to develop and need to already exist in the candidate. Talk to your client about which of the requirements are necessary and what they can assist the new employee with once they are hired.

Some experts believe that there is no shortage of skills and a qualified recruiter will always be able to source candidates who fit their client’s needs. They point to some practical solutions like increasing the salary range to attract better qualified candidates for the open job. You may need to coach your client to let them know these skills aren’t available at their stated salary but could be if they reconsidered.

As a recruiter, you should be using social media sites to source candidates from unlikely places. Many of the right candidates may not even know they are looking for a job, but if the right opportunity is presented, they would consider transitioning. You can determine the skills that fit you client’s environment and help manage salary expectations.

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