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How to Find Talent in Niche Markets

Qualified talent seems to be a fairly scarce commodity these days. Talent in a niche market? That may be scarcer than those proverbial hen’s teeth.

The challenge you face in trying to find and recruit employees with special skills is real. You can’t find software developers using the same tactics as finding people to staff your reception desk. It’s going to take a little more imagination.

For certain, it’s an employee’s market right now. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great ones looking for new places to land. Here’s how you can find talent for whatever niche market you’re hoping to fill.

Seek Diversity

If you’re on the hunt for uncommon talent, look where others may not be. In your engineering recruiting, for example, not all great prospects are going to be white and male. Every other company is looking at that demographic, so look outside the box.

The number of minority and women science and engineering graduates continues to rise. Although seeking diversity in your hires may seem to be a niche within a niche, it’s a rich one. The key here is intent. Finding an engineer who happens to also check a minority hire box misses the point. Intentionally seeking diverse hires will not only fill an opening but help build a pipeline as well.

Focus on diversity and your company can be the employer more niche employees want to work for. You might find yourself fighting to get an even smaller pool of talent through your door in the beginning. But open that door, and you might find a line of applicants wanting to get in further down the road.

Make the World Your Recruitment Oyster

When you commit to using diversity as a touchstone for your recruitment efforts, don’t limit yourself. Finding the niche domestic cream of the crop may still not fill all your open slots. Don’t be afraid of diversity outside your country’s borders.

There are two types of niche talent you can recruit globally. First are those employees who want to relocate, which requires also undertaking the work visa process. Second are those who can work remotely without leaving their home countries.

You don’t need to have an international office location to recruit stellar employees. But unless you know how to find them yourself, partner with a recruitment company that knows where they are. This partner should also be current with foreign and domestic laws for hiring, paying, and working with a global workforce.

In this day and age of technology, companies are only limited by their own imaginations in finding niche talent. Don’t let a border hold you back if there are unique prospects on the other side.

Be Your Own Main Attraction

“Corporate culture” gets a tremendous amount of buzz these days. But paying it only lip service won’t help you find and hang onto new hires. You need to create the culture that niche talent is looking for to attract them.

It’s a matter of supply and demand. The demand for niche market talent is high and the supply of that talent is limited. Companies focused on building diverse, engaging, and fulfilling cultures are few, which creates demand among prospects seeking that culture. Creating it will lead to happy employees who can be your best messengers. After all, the contentment of a current niche employee will appeal to a niche recruitment prospect.

Exercise Flexibility

Even prior to the global pandemic, workplace flexibility factored at the top of the list of employment decisions. The flexibility used by employers during the pandemic proved that the work of the company can go on. Employees can’t now just unsee it.

Flexible schedules, remote and hybrid work opportunities, and compressed work weeks are obvious workplace adaptations. But flexibility may also include helping employees pay off student loans or allowing them paid time off to volunteer. Companies that only offer higher salaries may find themselves lagging in the race to find rare talent. Generational differences and a pandemic reset of work-life priorities take precedence over pay.

Although finding talent in niche markets remains as challenging as ever, the carrots and the sticks have changed. If you can reach into that limited recruitment pool without rigidity, you have something better to offer. And that may be all it takes to attract and keep a lucrative new hire.

Be Open to Growing Your Own

Rigidity also doesn’t pay when it comes to job descriptions. You’re trying to find scarce talent. By limiting searches to those fully qualified for a position from day one, you might eliminate the possibility of filling it.

Alternatively, look for candidates with the proper skillset. Finding an information security analyst, for example, might be difficult. Finding someone with the right skills to become one vastly increases the size of that prospect pool.

If you’re willing to shape a new hire into the role you need, be willing to shape an existing employee. Hiring from within is a particularly effective solution to finding the right person for a position in a smaller niche. You can replace that repositioned employee with one who may be easier to find.

Be open to training the right person for a tough-to-fill position. Your company’s willingness to invest in that person is a savvy move. A hard-to-find employee will appreciate the effort.

Strategize and Ye Shall Find

If you’re trying to fill any employee openings now, you have your work cut out for you. If you need those to fill a specific niche, the task is infinitely more difficult. Timeworn recruitment strategies won’t work, so develop some new ones. Those future employees are out there. You just need to know where to look and how to get them to see you.

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