I n staffing, we constantly lament the shortage of skills or the war for talent acquisition. Scarcity is a mindset that has largely stifled innovation. The reality is that exceptional candidates are everywhere. The closed platforms and outdated business models we deploy have simply hindered the search and how we connect hiring managers, candidates, and talent suppliers.

Smaller organizations, for example, may not have the resources to locate the best talent for seasonal needs, projects, temporary assignments, part-time work, sudden ramp-ups, or vital permanent positions. Internal recruiters have limited talent networks to draw from, and typically rely on a couple of major job boards. For companies using traditional placement agencies, these same limitations come into play — sourcing efforts target a narrow pool of active candidates through a few job boards and social networks. Although more resumes arrive, hiring managers continue to struggle with finding the candidates they need.

Many new tools serve merely to expand reach, but they stop short of providing human curation and nurturing. What highly skilled talent want in a job can’t be conveyed by a machine or a dataset. Motivated individuals seek purpose, a compatible business culture, a mission to share, relationships with colleagues, an environment where they can develop and contribute, and a sense of belonging.

AI and machine learning have proven instrumental in helping us identify the best talent suppliers and prospects, measure performance, refine our searches, and qualify talent while avoiding biases. Yet it takes savvy recruiting professionals to engage in relationships and connect the best-fit candidates with hiring managers.

Recruiting that combines technology with personal curation is the edge that allows companies to reap the advantages of crowd-based solutions.

The Always-on Curation Model

When recruiting top talent for the skills employers need now, and in the foreseeable future, staffing and recruiting professionals are concentrating on fit — sourcing workers based on matches to established skills and experience. And they are providing them with unique resources to enhance the quality of their job searches, their integration into new business cultures, and their careers.

Skilled recruiting professionals spend more time and energy to interact with prospects. Recruiters in this model take this a step further by coaching the right candidates, helping them develop compelling personal brands, guiding them through the hiring process, providing critical feedback and continuous improvement suggestions, and even counseling them on approaches for negotiating offers or counteroffers.

These professionals have worked with a variety of hiring managers across industries and job categories, enhancing their knowledge of real-world job needs, position requirements, and applications. Through their breadth of insight, disparate experiences, global reach and perspectives from working with numerous programs, they understand the competition hiring managers face — and how to position them to rise above. Without spending a fortune on research, hiring managers receive consultative recommendations on how to make their positions stand out, offer the most competitive rates for top talent, and promote benefits or incentives that entice quality workers.

The result is that workers come to organizations satisfied and eager to contribute. Hiring managers have greater assurance of lasting contributions from committed talent. Even for contingent assignments or project-based engagements, retention is paramount to performance, cost efficiencies, and timely successes.

As the battle for exceptional talent intensifies, leading staffing professionals are deploying bolder and more creative sourcing strategies. New and emerging technologies — particularly AI and machine learning — play prominent roles in modern talent acquisition. Yet the most successful efforts include humanity in their algorithms.

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