5 Smart Ways to Find Hidden Talent In Candidates
Hiring is now returning to pre-pandemic levels, meaning companies must make the most out of the resultant talent resurgence. With this comes an expected “gold rush” of hirers vying for the best available talent. You need to stay competitive to attract the best candidates for your organisation. In a highly competitive employment market where everyone is sifting through essentially the same talent pool, this could mean finding the hidden gems, the brilliant ones who may fall through the proverbial cracks. Winning the hiring battle may come down to one thing many hirers overlook: how to find hidden talent in candidates.
Spotting hidden talent during the hiring process can be easier if you are able to clearly identify what exactly you are looking for in a candidate. Once you have broken down the ingredients, you will be able to recognise them in your talent search. Now it all boils down to how to find these hidden talent in the candidates you evaluate.
The talent pool in Malaysia is rich enough for you to find your dream hire. You may be looking hard enough, but the more important question is: are you doing so in smart ways? Here are some tips on how to find hidden talent in candidates.
1. Look where no one else is looking
Hidden gems are only “hidden” because they are overlooked. Hirers are mostly searching from the same talent pool and are looking for the same things using the same criteria. While some of these criteria are considered common wisdom, it may be time to question how wise these common notions truly are.
For instance, are all the best candidates really from prestigious schools? Most of the top schools in the country also have the highest tuition fees; therefore, most of their graduates are from well-off families. There may be a few scholars here and there, but that represents a small fraction of the available candidates. Think of all the talent you are overlooking if you limit yourself to graduates of prestigious schools. You may be missing out on highly skilled and qualified jobseekers from lower classes who could not afford high tuition fees.
The key is to remove biases in your hiring process. When you allow stereotypes to influence your hiring decisions, you are limiting your talent pool, and in effect, limiting your company’s potential. This also applies to gender biases. For instance, IT has been a traditionally male-dominated field. Imagine the number of highly-qualified female candidates you might be missing out on if you perpetuate gender bias in your IT talent search.
2. Focus on candidates’ transferable skills
Hirers typically zero in on a candidate’s primary skills and experience. But if you want to discover hidden talent in candidates, then the first place where you should look is in their transferable skills. These are usually soft or intangible skills that can be applicable in multiple disciplines and fields of expertise. Leadership, problem-solving, project management, and communications skills are examples of hidden talent you can find in candidates’ transferable skills. These are just some of the in-demand talent that hirers might want to check when evaluating candidates.
You can check candidates’ transferable skills in their resume. In some cases, they are listed down; in others, they are implied in their job experience, particularly within the short descriptions. You can also take a sneak peek at a candidate’s relevant soft skills during the interview process by asking how they will handle a specific work issue you usually encounter. The way they answer can reveal a lot about their level of knowledge, mental acuity, maturity, as well as their leadership and problem-solving skills.
3. Check for any relevant interests or personal passions
Candidates’ personal interests are often the last things indicated in their resumes. Consequently, it is often the last thing hirers see. But if you want to have a clue on what candidates might secretly be great at, this should be the first thing you should check out.
Interests can give you a glimpse of what a candidate’s real passions are. An avid reader? That candidate may have excellent writing or communication skills. Working on a personal project involving video or graphic design? He or she may have a promising career as a content creator. Does he or she volunteer in a lot of local outreach programmes? Then the candidate may be perfect for a job at a foundation, no matter what their previous job experience may be. Remember, what people do outside of their day job may reflect their true calling. Your organisation may have the opportunity to turn their part-time passion into a full-time career.
4. Look within your own organisation
In some cases, the best place to find hidden talent may already be working in your company. This is where your employee assessment comes in. Some employee might be working well within their department but could actually shine brighter in another. Management should constantly evaluate each employee’s career potential and growth opportunities. Where have they excelled recently? What areas have they shown promise, even outside their daily tasks?
For instance, someone who works in your administration department may have made a dazzling presentation or two. Imagine what he or she could do in front of a client. You may have a high-performing sales associate in your hands. Is your executive assistant exhibiting some surprising software skills? Your IT department could probably use those skills.
The important thing is that your organisation consistently identifies employees that show growth potential beyond their designations. You should not keep your existing talent inside a box. Make sure to support them when they show promise or interest in other fields. Give them access to proper training, mentorship, and first-hand experience with other tasks. How to find hidden talent in candidates is important. What is even more vital, however, is fostering its growth within your own organisation.
5. Get creative with your talent search
Every company is trying its best to attract the best talent. Chances are, your competitors are getting the same search results as you. Snagging that perfect candidate may come down to who is able to optimise their talent searches the best.
JobStreet’s Talent Search gives hirers plenty of options in finding the right talent. You can search based on position title, skill, or other keywords. To make the most out of this resource, you should be more creative using keywords. Typing in the right keywords can help unearth candidates who may have specific skills or experiences that you are looking for. Searching for a project manager with experience in merger transitions? Type in “merger” or “succession planning”. Looking for a manager to lead a remote team? Use “remote work” or “online monitoring” as your keywords in your talent search.
By choosing your keywords wisely, you have a better chance of finding hidden talent in candidates who may not be highlighting particular skills or experiences in their profiles. Want to give it a try now? Register now on Jobstreet and explore all the possibilities of our Talent Search feature, where you can have access to over 5 million talent in Malaysia. To attract top talent, it helps to be aware of what they are looking for. Download our latest Future of Recruitment report for insights on Malaysian jobseekers’ expectations, hiring trends, and other relevant information that all employers must know.