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Talent Acquisition from Untapped Talent Pools

Joetta L. Wagner

Joetta L. Wagner

workplace benefits


If you throw out your preconceived notions, your talent acquisition department will find plenty of value in previously untapped talent pools.

According to Statista, one of the leading statistics companies on the Web, the current number of full-time (35 hours per week or more) employed people in the United States as of January 2018 is slightly over 125 million. Yet according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are about 5.8 million job openings country wide. While some human resources pros bemoan an apparent lack of candidates, others are adopting a more expansive and comprehensive view of the American labor pool. Talent acquisition is being redefined. So what are some of these untapped or under-tapped sources for skill and savvy?

  • Military Veterans
  • Stay-at-Home Parents
  • Disabled Persons
  • Individuals with Criminal Backgrounds
  • Older People

Why should HR focus on these five labor pools?

Looking to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines

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There are some characteristics exemplified by military veterans that no one doubts or makes light of. They include confidence, pride, resourcefulness, dependability, and problem solving skills. Lida Citreon cited four myths about former members of the armed forces in her 2016 article for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):

  • All veterans serve in combat
  • The military doesn’t teach transferable skills
  • Veterans don’t have private industry expertise
  • Veterans aren’t a good fit for sales jobs

These myths are nothing more than cannon fodder, to be dismissed by astute managers and human resources personnel. Former military personnel are some of the most loyal employees, who think creatively, provide excellent customer service, and have an impressive array of skills.

Who Needs an Office? The Stay-at-Home Parent and Employee

Once upon a time, all work, in virtually every industry, was performed at an office or a facility. The rise of the millennial population in the American workforce has shifted the “working day” in terms of both hours and locations. Just because someone’s at home doesn’t mean s/he can’t work. Jessica Miller-Merrell observes for Workology that the “parent pool” folks are absolute wizards about maximizing time management and multitasking. They’re often seeking part-time, remote employment with flexible hours.

The Disabled Are Exceedingly Able

This is an extremely untapped talent pool, because some equate a disability with an inability to function or perform the tasks relative to a job opening. A study by the Center for Talent Innovation and the US Business Leadership Network determined that in the US, 30% of college-educated employees working in white-collar positions have disabilities. There are two types of disabilities: the visible, such as being wheelchair-bound, and the invisible, wherein a person suffers from a disease or condition not apparent upon meeting him/her. Part of a disabled individual’s reality is that s/he will often be quite innovative in an approach to solving an issue. That makes sense. Meeting challenges is an ordinary part of the day for the disabled, and finding “out of the box” methods to accomplish them is an ordinary approach to finding solutions. What recruiters may miss is the fact that hiring someone with a disability actually opens up a whole new market for a company’s goods and/or services, as well as an insider’s perspective on both how and where to focus marketing efforts.

Age Really Is Just a Number

build talent acquisition through untapped talent pools

There’s a massive pool of talented employees that may, in part, be alumni of a company or organization. Who? The “unretired.” They are older individuals who either need to or want to continue being part of the workforce. HireVue, a company providing video interviewing technology platforms for hiring managers zeroes in on this new trend. Sharlyn Lauby, a HireVue “HR Bartender” cites seven reasons why human resources should tap into this talent pool. Here are three great reasons:

  • A terrific recruitment source in the emerging gig-based economy
  • As the unretired only do work they like, employee engagement is high
  • They’re perfect for peer-based training programs to pass along skills and knowledge

Fiscal realities may well mean that retirement is not an option, and HR can look to a wealth of experience and skill to find employees.

Doing Time. Done Time. Now What?

One of the most difficult places for an individual to be in who wants and needs to secure employment is as a formerly incarcerated person. An organization called provides people who’ve served time for both felonies and misdemeanors resources for re-entering the job market, including a list of companies and organizations that do hire ex-convicts. The list of “felon-friendly” companies is extremely wide ranging. Not every organization or company is a suitable place for every type of felon, but HR pros should take a look at the site to see who’s already hiring, and contemplate dipping into this talent pool.

Human resources pros need to re-examine these five talent pools. They run deep, and they run strong.

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