finding talentYour company needs great employees, but it seems like everyone in your industry is recruiting from the same limited talent pool. Even with 7.9 percent unemployment, employers ranging from Fortune 500 companies to shoestring startups are finding it harder to hire great people.

The gap between the skills employers need and the skills job seekers possess seems to be widening by the day. A recent survey showed more than 70 percent of employers are having a tough time hiring critical skill employees.

The problem recruiters are facing is simply where to find the talent they need. It feels like everyone is looking for top prospects in the same place, which makes it difficult to find the perfect candidate for your organization. After all, everyone knows the big social media destinations for finding candidates like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Startups struggle with finding the best talent even more because it’s likely that their employment brand is new and not established yet. You’re fighting the big dogs who have big budgets for attracting talent. Start ups need to be scrappy and think of innovative and cost effective ways to find the talent beyond that which everyone else is looking for.

How do you tap into this hidden talent market and find the candidates you need, not just the ones applying for your jobs? Here are a few tips about where to find the best hidden talent online:

Look All Over the Web

Don’t limit yourself to the traditional candidate outlets. You won’t find all, or even the best, prospects in the same place as everyone else. There’s also a good chance your competitors are looking on the major social media networks and job boards. It’s time to get off the beaten paths and find the talent everyone else is overlooking. Whether you use a recruiting search engine or just a little digging, look beyond your comfort zone for the best people.

“Meetup” with Great Talent

Meetup groups can be a fantastically unexpected place to find top talent. Look for groups meeting up to discuss your industry, career issues, or just for networking. These groups often take part in discussions as well as events. The companies with the best employees are the ones not afraid to get proactive in their search for smart talent. Attend a meetup event and network with the people truly interested in your industry, even in their off-hours. These will be the passionate employees burning the midnight oil to make sure your organization succeeds.

Find Where Your Prospects Live Online:

To hunt for great talent, you first need to understand where they gather. Knowing what your ideal prospects care about is the best way to find them quickly and efficiently. You should know what the top talent in your industry is reading and even who they’re interacting with on Twitter. Your ideal candidate may not have thousands of followers, but perhaps they never miss an industry-specific Twitter chat.

You’ll also want to dig deep into the niche resources to find top candidates utilize online. For example, if you’re recruiting for a web developer position, you might want to skip skimming Facebook and jump straight to code collaboration sites like Githhub and Bitbucket. Knowing what your top prospects care about will help you uncover their online hiding places.

Look to the Experts

Passive candidates — those talented individuals not actively searching for a job — can be great potential hires. Just because they’re not promoting their resume doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be interested if a great opportunity came their way. Whether you’re using a recruitment platform to search or just Google, look to the places these experts gather. You can search trade associations, lists of industry conference speakers, alumni associations, and press releases for great prospects. Then, reach out to these talented experts and explain why your company would be a great place for their skills.

Thought Leaders Can Become Your Leaders

Smart bloggers with a nice following can be a great talent pool right at your fingertips. Bloggers sharing top quality thought leadership about your industry could be just the people you need to fill your open positions. As a bonus, you already know they’re concerned with the issues in your career sector and possess strong written communication skills.

Finding hidden talent isn’t easy, but it’s necessary to hop off the beaten trail to find the best people. Looking outside the normal haunts is the smartest way to find the talent ready to take your company to the next level. Don’t let this talent stay in hiding: find them!

Where are some places you look for hidden talent? Share in the comments!

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