Human Resources News & Insights

If you’re trying to find the best hires, it pays to loosen up a little

One recent report says employers are having a devil of a time finding replacements for departing Baby Boomers. Another study says many employers only hire applicants who’ve held the same job title as the position they’re hiring for — and they’re scrambling to find people with the right skills. Do we see a pattern emerging here?  

Kate Rogers, writing on, cites a recent Citigroup report saying that firms are facing a productivity crisis  as older workers age out of the workforce or reduce their hours.

But employers say they can’t find the skilled workers they need.

Recent research from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International might just pinpoint why.

Nearly half of employers (47%) reported that they usually or always hire candidates who have held the same job title as the position they’re trying to fill, the study said.

That practice may be contributing to the skills deficit in organizations, according to the researchers.

Look at the numbers: More than half (55%) of hiring managers who complained they can’t find qualified candidates for open positions said they typically hire people who have held the same title as the open position.

But hiring managers who don’t have trouble finding candidates for their jobs are less likely to limit their applicant pools by job title. Just 42% of those restrict their hiring based on previous job titles.

Expanding horizons

The message here: Loosen up, folks. Diving into alternative talent pools may well be the tactic to find the folks with the skills you need.

What’s an alternative talent pool? It’s that group of workers with different job titles than the position advertised, but in closely-related occupations. In other words, folks with similar skillsets, just put to work in a different way.

These folks probably won’t require a great deal of training and can get up to speed quickly.

EMSI offered some examples of hard-to-fill jobs and occupations with compatible skillsets:

Machinist (uses machine tools to make or modify primarily parts) median salary: $39,353.
Related occupations:
· Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators – $35,339
· Automotive Body and Related Repairers – $36,150
· Heat Treating Equipment Setter – $33,488
Medical Assistant  (performs administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of health practitioners); median salary: $29,473.
Related Occupations:
· Pharmacy Technician – $29,265
· Phlebotomist – $31,158
· Occupational Therapy Aide – $28,496
Web Developer (designs and modifies Web sites); median salary: $74,859.
Related occupations:
· Database Administrator – $75,795
· Computer Systems Analyst – $78,249
· Video Game Designer – $79,310
Technical Writer (produces instruction manuals and other supporting documents to explain complex and technical information); median salary: $65,936.
Related Occupations:
· Reporters and Correspondents – $35,776
· Paralegals and Legal Assistants – $47,860
· Production, Planning and Expediting Clerks – $43,409
Accountant (prepares and examines financial records); median salary: $62,483.
Related occupations:
· Budget Analyst – $69,617
· Tax Examiner and Collectors, and Revenue Agents – $49,961
· Credit Analyst – $61,672

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