SmartRecruiters Blog
Recruiting Specialized Talent

Recruiting Statistics on the Best Technology to Exceed Goals for Hiring Skilled Talent

Research shows that hard-to-find talent is harder to find than ever: according to the new Talent Board Recruitment Survey Report: Tactics & Strategies for Winning Hard-to-Find Talent in 2024, 60% of respondents report that hiring skilled talent is taking longer than it did a year ago. The survey further revealed the following key facts about recruiting technologies:

  • Smart career sites and job distribution platforms are the top two recruiting technologies used to attract talent with hard-to-find skill sets. 
  • Referrals are the top sourcing channel for hard-to-find talent, used by 43% of organizations.
  • Companies increase their likelihood of exceeding hiring goals and targets by 29% when they use CRMs, ATSs, AI-based candidate matching and sourcing, chatbots, and texting systems.

Here’s a guide to the top technologies and tactics covered in this post that help companies identify and attract talent with in-demand skill sets.

  1. AI-powered candidate matching
  2. Smart career site
  3. Job board distribution and programmatic advertising
  4. Referrals
  5. Candidate Texting/SMS
  6. CRM 

1. AI-powered candidate matching

The vast majority–92%–of Talent Board survey respondents said they are relying on reskilling and upskilling to at least some degree to fill in their organizations’ gaps in specialized and hard-to-find skill sets.

With more companies moving toward skill-based hiring, SmartAssistant offers powerful features that allow hiring teams to discover candidates by skills. In the latest version, recruiters can add or subtract skills from the matching criteria for a role. Previously, this type of machine learning AI has been a black box.

In the image below, the “Recommendations” tab opens the list of candidates based on match score. The scores can be adjusted by inserting or deleting skills and noting their importance to the role. SmartRecruiters SmartAssistant AI candidate matching

With SmartAssistant, skills are also viewable at the top of applicant profiles, as shown below.Candidate Profile with SmartAssistant AI-powered skills-based matching

  • Just 23% of Talent Board survey respondents use AI-based candidate matching and sourcing to attract talent with hard-to-find skill sets, but 24% plan to implement it in the next 12 months. 

As AI-driven tools approach majority adoption, companies without them will find it harder to compete for talent.

2. Smart career site

Many recruiting organizations think about career sites as a tool to engage candidates who already know about their companies–after clicking on a job ad, for instance. But what if they want to grow skills in a new field or explore opportunities specifically geared to their skill set? Candidates take these queries to Google.

A company with a smart career website that contains content optimized for Google has the competitive advantage of capturing the interest of skilled candidates before they even see a job ad. Once job seekers land on an intelligent career site, they find relevant information, multiple job listings, and opportunities to stay in touch.

  • The Talent Board survey revealed that 34% of organizations use smart career websites to attract skilled talent, and 26% plan to implement a smart career site in the next 12 months.

The example below shows how Vision Express’s career site appears first in Google for a query about the field of optometry. The job seeker lands on an article on the Vision Express career site and is encouraged to sign up for updates, search for a role, or read additional content.

Google search result to career site content

Read more about the many features of smart career websites in our post, Four Amazing Career Sites and Why We Love Them.

3. Job board distribution and programmatic advertising

Posting to job boards is one of the top strategies to engage skilled talent, as mentioned by 51% of respondents in the Talent Board survey. Given the time-consuming task of managing job board postings, fewer teams are managing job boards as efficiently as they could be by using job distribution software, or better yet, programmatic job advertising

  • 26% of respondents use job distribution software to attract talent with hard-to-find skill sets, and 23% plan to implement job distribution software in the next 12 months.
  • 23% use targeted/programmatic advertising to attract talent with hard-to-find skill sets, and 15% plan to implement targeted/programmatic advertising in the next 12 months.

Programmatic job advertising can:

  • Limit overspending by automatically pausing ad spend as soon as a job hits its interview or offer goal.
  • Optimize conversion and save time on A/B testing by automatically testing titles and locations based on a commutable radius.
  • Improve job board conversation rates by shifting spend across sources and reporting on the best sources of hire.

For highly skilled candidates, there’s nothing worse than seeing an exciting job posting only to go to the website and find that it’s no longer listed. Optimizing job board spending saves money and helps companies provide a better candidate experience.

4. Referrals

Employee referrals are used by 59% of companies and are the top sourcing channel for hard-to-find talent for 43% of organizations. To make referrals easy, companies need an internal career site that generates trackable links for employees to share job listings. CityFibre offers a great example of how a company can experience quick results from implementing an employee portal for internal mobility and referrals.

  • Referrals were the #1 sourcing channel for companies in the Talent Board survey that reported filling roles faster than a year ago.

In early 2024, SmartRecruiters customers will see a new employee portal that unifies the internal mobility and referral experience for all employees. Currently, employees can view and filter jobs, sign up for alerts, and easily copy a referral link, as shown below.
SmartRecruiters Employee Portal for Referrals

Investing in a referral program and technology to support it is a powerful way for companies to meet their hiring targets and offer employees a positive experience

5. Candidate Texting/SMS

It’s easier to reach hard-to-find candidates if you can communicate with them where they are most likely to type back-–and for many on-the-go candidates, that’s SMS or WhatsApp.

  • 23% of Talent Board survey respondents use a texting/SMS system to communicate with talent who have hard-to-find skill sets, and 19% plan to implement a texting system in the next 12 months. 
  • For companies filling jobs faster than a year ago, texting/SMS systems are the #2 technology (after the ATS) used for engaging talent with hard-to-find skill sets.

With SmartMessage, SmartRecruiters’ text recruiting solution, recruiters can communicate with candidates via WhatsApp and SMS (in addition to email) from a single interface. The solution ensures compliance while speeding up hiring times by enabling recruiters to message candidates in the app they use most. 

The screenshot below shows the recruiter’s view of a conversation with a candidate. For each message, the recruiter can choose email, SMS, or WhatsApp. The conversation history is visible to others using the system, enabling transparency among different team members during the candidate journey.
SmartRecruiters SmartMessage texting screen recruiter view

6. CRM 

For companies like Playtech, a candidate relationship management system (CRM) improves hiring efficiency by connecting them to interested talent pools. Some companies collect interested candidates through a form on a career site page geared to specialized talent. CRMs can also collect candidate information at events and keep track of silver medalists.

  • 20% of Talent Board respondents use a CRM to source and attract talent with hard-to-find skill sets, and 12% plan to implement a CRM in the next 12 months. However, it’s one of the top tools used by companies that report filling jobs faster than a year ago.

Once candidates are in the CRM, recruiters can search across multiple fields to identify candidates and deliver email campaigns. CRMs are a powerful way to keep candidates updated on your company’s activities and innovations and nurture future hires. 

The image below shows the home page for a community of Tech Talent and indicates that two were already hired, and one is in the application stage. 

SmartRecruiters CRM talent pool

A powerful combination of tools

There’s no doubt talent acquisition is a complex process with many moving parts–and it’s even more difficult when hiring talent with scarce skill sets. The data has shown that recruiting teams can meet–and even exceed–their hiring targets with the right combination of processes and technologies in place.

At SmartRecruiters, we look forward to supporting companies in hiring more effectively and efficiently. Get started by understanding how your peers are doing so by downloading the latest Talent Board Recruitment Survey Report: Tactics & Strategies for Winning Hard-to-Find Talent in 2024. And when you’re ready, we’ll be happy to give you a demo of our recruiting software.

SmartRecruiters Talent Board joint research

Lee Ann Prescott