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Why non-traditional candidates are a no-brainer

Why non traditional candidates are a no brainer CONTENT

Let’s face it, some positions are just hard to fill.

Unsociable hours, skills shortages, difficult locations – we all know the type. For these jobs the talent pool can feel a little… small.

So how do you increase your talent pool without compromising on the quality of your candidates?

Well, how about looking at applicants you might not have thought about? That’s right, there’s a whole world of people out there who might not tick your boxes but could be the talent you need in your organisation.

I’m talking about the hidden gems – the neurodiverse, the experience-less, those with unexplained CV gaps, the non-graduates, the recently retired. Not only should you be looking seriously at these non-traditional candidates, but you should be understanding why they’re anything but second best.

In reality, by embracing candidates who don’t meet your on-paper requirements, you’ll be opening your organisation to a whole new world of talent.

It’s all about hiring for skills, not CVs.

Here are my tips for hiring outside the box..

1. Embrace neurodiversity

      Gone are the days when neurodiversity was considered a disability. By hiring ND candidates you’ll unlock a world of untapped brilliance. Take autistic candidates, for example. Far from being socially awkward and lacking in empathy, these candidates often have exceptional attention to detail, unrivalled problem-solving skills and unique perspectives.

      In fact, a study by Drexel University reported that 85% of hiring managers found autistic employees to be equally or more productive than their neurotypical counterparts. Go figure.

      So if you’re serious about diversity, don’t discount ND candidates. Employing a wide range of thinking styles isn’t just good for inclusion, it’ll give you a better performing team.

      2. Look beyond experience

      Do you usually turn away candidates without experience or qualifications? Time to rethink.

      By focusing solely on these traditional metrics you might be overlooking candidates who are bursting with potential and eagerness to learn.

      A survey by Glassdoor showed that 62% of employees believe they can learn new skills on the job – proving that lack of experience doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t do the work.

      Instead, focus on hiring for values and seeking out the key characteristics of ideal team players. Is your candidate hungry to learn and succeed? Are they humble enough to work well in a team? And are they smart enough to understand the emotional needs of your organisation as well as its metrics?

      If so, bite their hand off before someone else does.

      3. See CV gaps as resilience and growth

        Ah, CV gaps – a hiring manager’s red flag.

        But maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss candidates because of gaps on their CV. Maybe they were due to personal growth, family responsibilities, travel or launching a new project. Let’s face it, the possibilities are endless. And far from seeing CV gaps as a problem, aren’t these the kind of people you actually want on your team?

        We know that candidates with diverse experiences tend to display higher levels of creativity, adaptability and resilience. So why not appreciate those moments of growth?

        You might be doing all you can as a company to attract candidates of diverse race, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic status, but if you’re ignoring diversity of experience you’re missing a trick.

        By hiring non-traditional candidates you’ll create a melting pot of ideas, perspectives and experiences that can revolutionise your company’s approach.

        4. Stay skills-based

          When you hire based on skills and values, your focus shifts from rigid requirements to a candidate’s true potential. In other words, you stop looking at what they’ve done and start noticing what they could do.

          So let’s break away from the norms. Hiring neurodiverse, individuals, candidates without experience or qualifications and those with CV gaps isn’t as risky as you think. It’s all about fostering innovation, driving growth and redefining what success looks like.

          By embracing non-traditional candidates you’ll unlock the full potential of every individual and create a workforce that thrives on skills and abilities. You’ll also make difficult roles easier to fill, open a whole new talent pool and acquire abilities that you might have missed.

          Now that’s thinking differently.

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