3 hiring tips for employers in niche markets

Hiring for highly specialized positions can be difficult – on top of rigorous specifications, you also have to find someone who fits your organization's culture.

Hiring for highly specialized positions can be difficult – on top of rigorous specifications, you also have to find someone who fits your organization's culture. In addition, slim pickings force you to adopt unconventional recruiting strategies and might even require you to relax certain requirements (i.e. location) that you wouldn't normally budge on.

If you're hiring for a niche position, these tips will help you to develop a targeted search strategy:

1. Think of the position as a product

For employers in niche markets, it can help to think of your open position as a product. With this approach, you can side-step a common roadblock: wondering why no one wants to apply for your job.

When product marketers advertise consumer goods, they try to approach the topic from the perspective of the end-user. That's exactly what you need to do - picture the job from the perspective of each potential employee.

Marketing firm Smart Insights suggested using market segmentation and market targeting to successfully position a product. These methods translate easily to the job recruitment process. For instance, if you were hiring Python developers for a new smartphone app, you might start with a broad demographic, then work your way to narrower categories, like this:

Software Developers > Developers with extensive Python experience > Python developers with experience building mobile applications > Python developers who specialize in iPhone app creation

From there, you may look at that target audience in your home city.

  • What are competitive salaries?
  • What benefits does your competition offer?
  • How does your company compare?

Answering these questions will help you develop a hyper-targeted job description.

The more skills a position requires, the longer the talent search.

2. Write a highly targeted description

Spend some time writing and editing your job description until you believe it accurately reflects the offered position. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the first step is to sit down and analyze the job. Consider interviewing current employees to get their first-hand take on the position.

Even if the position is completely new to your company, there's a good chance that your current employees will have useful insights into what is needed in terms of new employee responsibilities.

An important element to note here – now is not the time to stop thinking about your position as a product (as we covered in #1). Your job ad is literally that – an advertisement. You want your description to reach your defined target audience, ultimately appealing to them on some level (intellectually, emotionally, or otherwise) to entice them to apply. And while there is only so much liberty that can be taken with writing requirements (there's only so many ways you can write "a Master's degree is required"), taking a look at overall tone and emphasizing key elements will elevate your ad in the eyes of your target applicants. For example, if you know that your ideal candidate places company reputation in high regard, prominently feature any awards that you have won in the brief lead-up to the job requirements. If you suspect your perfect prospect values being a lifelong learner, tout any training programs or tuition reimbursement your company offers. And just like your perspective interviewees, keep in mind – facts and figures make an impact. Include hard data to back up your claims if it is not confidential.

Once you fully understand the requirements of the job, including the major daily responsibilities, you should have a better understanding of the salary and benefits you should offer. Create a comprehensive list of everything you've discovered, cut out the clutter, then format the description so it's easier to browse. Short lines and active verbiage will help your description stand out among the crowd.

Not sure what to cut? Have someone else take a look at your description and tell you what they think is superfluous. The job description should be thorough, but not overly long. Senior positions may require more details.

3. Talk with a professional recruiter

Finding the perfect candidate for a niche position can be incredibly time-consuming, especially if your company has a small staff. By straining your resources on a search, you run the risk of neglecting other tasks that will grow the business.

"Conserve resources by enlisting a professional recruiter."

To find the best person for the job, consider enlisting the help of a professional recruiter. This will save your precious resources so that you can invest them elsewhere in the company. Plus, professional recruiters have extensive networks that take years to foster, giving them a hard-won competitive advantage in the job market.

"Very specialized roles require that a recruiter has a deep network," says Tony Ventimiglia, Division Director for Beacon Hill's Legal Division in Detroit. "In most cases there aren't any active candidates for a niche role, so you dive into your network and source referrals for those hard-to-fill positions. Passive candidates are passive for a reason; they won't know about a job unless a good recruiter calls them to discuss it."

If you're interested in learning more about how a recruiter can help you find the perfect candidates, contact Beacon Hill Staffing today. Your company only works as well as your employees perform, so don't neglect your next talent search.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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