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How To Win The Talent War - Hire From These Four Forgotten Talent Pools - Executive Search Insights

The facts speak for themselves:

  • 7.1 million open jobs reported in the 2018 BLS August data.
  • 5.8 million hires reported in August
  • The delta between open jobs and people hired continues to grow.

 The inability to fill the open positions is creating slowdowns in organizational growth and an increased workload (and stress) on employees.

 It may be time for organizations to get creative.

Tim Sackett, in a recent webinar with Fistful of Talent, suggested that maybe – just maybe – hiring managers need to put their biases aside and consider recruiting from some forgotten talent pools that could help fill their talent pipeline.

Who are these forgotten talent pools?  

Tim Sackett’s Forgotten Talent Pools

People Over 50 - Somehow we’ve decided that you become worthless after 50

Stay at home Moms returning to the workplace - Being a stay-at-home Mom makes you stupid.

People with criminal records - Time in jail is an employment death sentence.

 Vets- We love them, but people do not want to hire them.

People Over 50

Age bias exists – we know it, and somehow it does not seem to get addressed or changed. I believe that the single biggest missed opportunity that hiring managers make is passing on candidates that are over 50. An over 50 employee job tenure may actually be longer than that of a millennial who is looking for rapid career advancement early in their career.

The older employee’s level of technical knowledge may also be surprisingly similar to their digital native co-workers. The older workers have built up a wide and deep experience base that they can leverage to provide unique insights. For more on this check out our blog. “Age Discrimination In Tech – Views Of An Outplacement Consultant”.

Stay At Home Moms

Tim Sackett nailed it when he said that the prevailing thinking among hiring managers is that a stay at home mom suddenly forgets everything that she (we should also include some men in this too) forgets everything.

We know that this is wildly untrue. While there may be some refresher training needed to onboard these moms, the ROI can be tremendous. These “returnships” can provide a company with highly skilled and very engaged employees.

People With Criminal Records

The sentiment towards giving people a second chance is growing yet it is still not where it needs to be. A recent Fast Company article “People With Criminal Records Are A Huge Untapped Talent Pool.” It all starts with companies taking the appropriate internal measures to make it easier for people with an arrest record to apply. Consider this:

Some companies have inadvertently created barriers to hiring qualified candidates. Since 2003, the fair employment practices initiative All of Us or None, which grew out of a group called Legal Services for Prisoners With Children, has promoted a national “Ban-the-box” campaign for companies to do away with the check box on their applications that asks if an applicant has ever been convicted.

The problem with the box is twofold: Former convicts get discouraged that they may not get a fair shake, and hiring managers may also wield bias, holding that check mark against them.

To further drive home the point why second chances are a good thing, please watch this great DisruptHR video from Shelley Winner, a Service Advisor with Microsoft. She shares her personal journey from desperation to victory. It is well worth watching.




The talent pool that is routinely ignored is veterans. As much as everyone will say that they support our troops, the reality is that vets continue to be underemployed. Tim Sackett went out on a limb in his webinar talking about some of the biases that hiring managers have towards vets (they need to be told what to do, they cannot operate independently, they are rigid and uncreative).

All of these biases are of course false. The reality is that today’s vet comes to a potential employer with very strong leadership training and technical savvy. The military is a great training place for future leaders, who when given a chance, can excel in a corporate setting.

The squeeze that hiring managers are facing filling their open jobs can be quickly helped if they cast aside some of their biases and consider the forgotten talent that can be found with people over 50, moms returning to the workplace, people with criminal records and vets. Yes, they may not look like you, but your organization will thrive with the skills that these overlooked groups can bring.