Using “Wildcard Recruitment” to get beyond the talent shortage

OK, I’m conscious that the title for this piece may create the wrong image, the word “wildcard” perhaps conjures thoughts of some gung-ho recruitment philosophy but please bear with me while I explain.

It’s widely written and discussed that hospitality (and many other industries by the way) have a talent shortage and whilst that may or may not be true (a topic for another discussion piece), we do need to start thinking differently on how to uncover real gems in order to get passed it. Many solutions are long term, going all the way back to primary school age and generating positivity in the minds of the parents of these future generations (Again, a topic for another time).

The answer?

Well, it lies within anyone who controls a recruitment process, either externally or internally in any organisation.

Wildcard recruitment focuses on the now. What’s right in front of us and how can we tap into it? I’d argue there’s a mountain of talent around us, we’ve all just become too focused on finding perfection to see it.

Whatever talent attraction methods you use in your organisation there will always be a large percentage of the CVs or covering letters or LinkedIn profiles you receive that, on the face of it, are not the perfect fit for the role you need to find someone for. Rather than just discarding these applications out of hand, have you considered giving them a second look?

To simplify, I’d suggest following a simple process: –

1. From all your applications, grade them into 3 categories. A, B & C.

a. You’re A category is for all candidates that fit and all candidates that maybe fit (yes, you should meet all the maybe’s too). You’ll be convinced that your “perfect candidate” (that doesn’t exist) will be in this category so it needs no focus.

b. B’s are the ones you are not convinced by, but they are relevant to the industry at least but maybe not relevant to the role you have or maybe don’t have London experience or equivalent. This is the category to focus on.

c. C’s are completely irrelevant and can be dismissed (But acknowledged and regretted an ideal world, another mechanism to creating a positive industry image).

2. From your B’s select 3 candidates to meet (How you whittle down is up to you) and then meet them with a phenomenally open mind. Maybe you’ll meet all 3 and be unconvinced by all 3 but maybe you’ll be utterly convinced by one of them and that’s all you need. You’ve created an extra talent to put into the mix. You didn’t do it by the way, they were already there, you just created a method to find them.

3. Give everyone you meet timely and accurate feedback. That’s part of your brand, how much respect you offer to people who’ve made time for you.

4. Stop claiming you have no time. That’s a classic manifestation of belief. You believe you don’t have time and guess what? You don’t.
I meet a lot of people for my craft, I’ve discussed that before, but I’m always amazed at the talent out there that is maybe a little off book. This is a people business, if you make time for the people, you’ll be amazed at what comes back to you and don’t forget that positive image you create about yourself and your brand when you’ve given people opportunity that others failed to do.

I’d love this to become the norm rather than the exception but, in the meantime, while it’s not the norm, you’ll also be getting ahead of your competitors.

Here’s to some wild card recruitment and I’d love to hear your stories of success or failure in this area.

Thank you for reading.