H1-B Troubles and the Struggle to Attract Local Candidates

Where will your next great hire come from?
Global Talent Pool or Local Candidates?

April 2nd marked the first day the US Government would begin accepting applications for H1-B Visas. For 2019 H1-B hopefuls, the good news is the United States has not lowered the cap on the number of H1-B’s it will allow. The bad news is, they’re going to be harder to get. In addition to the typical hurdles applicants face every year, this year promises to be even more challenging with intense scrutiny and an increase of application-related paperwork. Not to mention other restrictions that may or may not be on the horizon.

Employers that regularly utilize H1-B Visa holders face tough decisions

Any time a business system changes dramatically or offers so much uncertainty, as it has with the amped-up H1-B application process, it’s a good practice to have a Plan B. If you’ve previously leveraged H1-B applicants as part of your candidate pool, you may be wondering how the changes will impact your company.

Many of the effects the redesigned H1-B application process will have on US employers likely won’t be measurable for a few years.

You don’t have to wait, and frankly, you shouldn’t wait for any possible fallout. Instead, you can create a plan today to help offset any potential candidate-deficits by examining the way you source and hone local talent.

Below are some suggestions to get you started and give you a jumping off point. We’d strongly encourage you to brainstorm what might work best for your company and budget. If you decide you’d like more hands-on assistance recruiting top local candidates, you can always give us a call.

5 Tips to Increase Local Talent Engagement and Overcome Skills Gaps

  1. Leverage the top talent you already have
  2. Get more involved on a local level
  3. Expand your search to a regional level and promote the location
  4. Close skill gaps with onboarding programs and training opportunities
  5. Tap into your network

Leverage the top talent you already have

It’s no secret that people tend to hang out with their intellectual equals. We like people who are like us. This can work to your advantage. Take stock of the top talent you already have. Let them know of the positions you’re trying to fill and ask them if they know of any potential candidates. You might even consider creating a referral program that gives employees more incentive to connect you with the top talent they know (usually contingent on hiring).

Get more involved on a local level

Too many firms opt-out of community engagement. Chances are, you can do more. Ask your network what they do locally or connect with your city government and find out what they need.

Most of the time there are a variety of ways to get involved from sponsorships and promotion of local events to hands-on volunteer work. All of them are worthwhile, and all of them will put you in front of more local candidates than you’re getting in front of now. Don’t forget, word of mouth is some of the best marketing you can get.

Expand your search to a regional level and promote the location

You might be surprised to find out how many people want to live where your company is located. Expanding your active search to a regional level will expand your candidate pool and could help you find the ideal candidate who may have missed your open position if it wasn’t advertised to them directly.

For regional candidates, it’s good practice to include all the information you can about the open positions and company and also add in soft details like community features, cost of living, and things to do. The idea is to get them thinking about how they could work and live where you are.

Close skill gaps with onboarding programs and training opportunities

Redesigning onboarding and internal training opportunities can seem overwhelming. But the rewards are sweet. You might not have control over the world around you, but you can control what goes on inside your company, and that’s where training comes in.

The likelihood that even your top candidate knows everything you need them to know is slim. The right combination of onboarding and training can get them (and your other employees) where you need them to be faster and more consistently. Plus, you’ll be able to track and measure the outcomes because you’re in control.

This is more than a response to potential H1-B Visa restrictions; it’s a long-term solution to the skills gap affecting your entire talent pool.

Tap into your network

Think of anyone and everyone you know. What kind of connections do you have that may lead to an untapped candidate pool? Think of the associations you belong to, industry events you attend, industry partners you’ve built relationships with. These could hold the key to your next super-star hire.

Create a system for reaching out and following up with your network contacts. Let them know more about what you do, why you’re a great company to work for, what’s happening at your company (periodically) and what kind of candidates you’re keeping an eye out for.

Want to fast-track your access to top local talent? Contact our team to find out how we can help you streamline your recruitment process and find the best of the best.

 

The Unemployment Rate Continues to Drop, but You Can Still Find Great Candidates (if You Know Where to Look)

Pick the right partner in a tight job market

The U.S. Department of Labor has released another report summarizing the employment situation for March & April 2017. The overall unemployment rate continues to drop and has fallen another 0.2% to 4.5% overall.  The situation in the IT industry is even tighter – unemployment rates of 2.0% to 2.8% are the norm in major cities across the US.

While the numbers breakdown varies based on everything from gender and race to age, there’s no denying what those of us in the tech industry have been feeling for years – the pinch. The employment pool is getting tighter and tighter, and qualified candidates are getting harder to find. And it’s not because they aren’t out there. It’s because the vast majority of them are already employed.

Just Listing Jobs Won’t Cut It in This Tight Employment Market

There are a lot of ads these days for “supersites”, that promise to list your job on hundreds of web sites to expand your job’s reach.  While you might get lucky and catch that rare perfect candidate that way, you are more likely in my experience to get even more resume from candidates that are tough to employ for a reason.  They could be from outside your area looking to relocate, or have a very choppy job history or just are not a match for the job description.  Even the traditional job boards will give this result in a tight market, which results in you weeding through a lot of resumes that don’t result in a lot of good conversations.

In a tight job market, companies that have made a commitment to engaging and building relationships with top talented people in their industry will be the ones that are successful in hiring.  Rather than getting lucky with the timing of your job opening and a good candidate’s availability, they can tap a pool of qualified, employed professionals.

Some of those IT pros who already count themselves as “employed” are actively looking for opportunities to move up or change companies, and some are not. However, among the working who “aren’t looking,” there are always candidates who would be open to the right opportunity if it came their way. And, of course, if it came from a trusted source.

When you consider those three groups – the unemployed, the employed and looking, and the happily employed but open, you have a much larger candidate pool to work with.

Working with an Experienced IT Recruiter Makes All the Difference

If you’ve never worked with a recruiter, you may be shaking your head in exasperation wondering why we’d even count employed IT talent when they aren’t all on the market or even thinking about a new position. And the answer is: because they aren’t on the market yet.

Recruiting consultants can be the difference between waiting half a year or more to fill an open position and waiting for only a handful of months (or even less).

As IT recruiters, we are privileged to work with some of the most qualified, talented, and hardworking IT professionals in the field.  We spend a lot of our time talking to candidates before they are looking for new jobs so that we can be that trusted source to introduce them to a great opportunity.  Some of them are actively looking for a new position, but many are not. Nevertheless, almost all are open to making a change, and they rely on us to keep them informed of potential opportunities.

With unemployment in the IT sector continuing to drop, there’s no better time than now to partner with experienced tech recruiters to help you identify and attract the right people to fill your position and complement your company culture.  If you have not been able to commit the time and resources to building that network ahead of time, it is even more important to partner with an experienced recruiter to find that top talent.

Contact CopperTree Staffing today and let us help you find the perfect candidate.