Some Firms Still Facing Talent Skills Gap

Julie Shenkman
Posted by in Human Resources

Your company may be stuck in a rut and not expanding the way it should because of a talent gap. If you're having trouble hiring and retaining workers with the skills you need, it might be time to review your talent management approach. Middle-market companies like yours face lots of challenges in hiring top talent, from a low number of applicants and applicants without enough experience to competition from other companies.

Rethinking Your Talent Management Approach

If your company is like many others, you might have limited human resources capabilities, where the strategy of hiring top talent falls to the wayside. Your HR department is probably focused on details like taking care of employee paperwork and creating and implementing policies. Recruitment strategies, skills mapping and mentorship programs may not even be on its radar. Your company may not have the funds to completely overhaul its HR department or have the brand power of bigger companies, but it can adopt a few low-cost strategies to attract the attention of top talent and keep it.

Expanding Your Outreach

If you're looking for fresh faces with limited experience but the potential to grow with your company and a certain skill set, consider starting an internship program. You get to screen and temporarily hire students who have an interest in your field. One benefit is that you don't have to pay them anything close to a regular employee salary. Some companies don't pay interns at all, but this is not a recommended practice. Develop a program that trains interns to excel in your industry, and you may find yourself with a pool of top talent ready to be hired full time after graduating from college.

Connect with the academic departments at universities that would best match your industry, and establish and cultivate a relationship with them. Promote your internship program and explain its benefits. If their students have a good experience with you, those departments will continue to send you their best students and want to expand that relationship. Ultimately, everyone's a winner. You can reach out to the career centers at universities and let staff know what you are looking for in an employee. Give them your ideal description of top talent so they know who to send your way when students use their services.

You can also work with other companies in your field to try to tackle the challenges of hiring top talent collectively. Consider how you could share the workforce, especially if you're in a location where the pool might be limited. Instead of seeing other companies as competition, view them as partners in solving this issue you all face.

If you want to hire top talent, you may need to reconsider how you recruit employees and how you represent your company to the hiring pool. It could be that there are limited qualified applicants, but what you may also find is that you're the barrier to getting those great people in the door.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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