How To Combat a Candidate Shortage: The Recruitment Consultant’s Handbook

Recruitment Agencies Recruitment Technology
How To Combat a Candidate Shortage: The Recruitment Consultant’s Handbook

Candidate shortage, in very simple terms, is the insufficiency of candidates to fill job vacancies in the labour market. As a matter of fact, it’s a major source of disquiet to most in the recruitment sector and the world of business at large, hence the eagerness to combat it.

reason to combat candidate shortage recruitmentImage Source: Recruitment and Employment Confederation


The candidate shortage is a result of a variety of factors. Firstly, COVID, which seems to spawn a new variant after every few months, has distorted the regular job-seeking patterns. Thus, instead of the normal rush for new opportunities, many are just fine with their current positions.

Additionally, the pandemic has limited international travel, and thus, reduced the supply of candidates from other countries.

In the UK, both the pandemic and Brexit have birthed the country’s worst case of candidate shortage.

So, this post details how recruitment agencies can successfully combat a candidate shortage.

Lean in.

  1. Be attentive to your clients’ needs

As a recruitment consultant, you’re saddled with the responsibility of helping your clients out with their expansion efforts, a significant part of which includes their staffing needs. This implies that you shouldn't only kick into action on call.

In fact, a surefire way to effectively combat and beat the candidate shortage is to have a solid idea of your clients’ recruitment needs. Therefore, you’ll be a step ahead, knowing what exactly they need, and making the necessary moves for it, even before they reach out.

Would there be a need for independent contractors, temporary workers, or permanent employees? With a fine understanding of your clients’ industries as well as the situation in their organization, you can automatically commence the recruitment process to meet their needs.



  1. Source talent strategically

It definitely helps for recruitment agencies to go about their talent-sourcing process with a defined tactic. Else, you just might go down with the ever-shrinking candidate pool.

The essence of a strategic talent-sourcing process is that it ensures that recruiters have a higher chance of finding quality candidates. Let’s discuss a number of ways to proactively source talent.

Monitor top performers:

Some things in life are certain, and one of them is inter-organizational mobility. To always beat the candidate shortage, you need to keep an eye on the star performers in your clients’ industries. Reach out and engage them; nurture a relationship with them to boost the chances of them joining your clients’ team when they want to explore other territories.

Be on the lookout for fresh graduates:

To competently deal with candidate shortage, and contribute to your clients’ sustainability, your talent-sourcing movement must be broad enough to include these energetic college graduates.

Prioritise diversity and inclusion:

When sourcing talent, diversity and inclusion are a must. While it’s important to go for candidates of various races, gender, religious backgrounds, and economic backgrounds, it’s equally crucial to consider candidates who are abled differently, veterans, ex-offenders, or even persons who for whatever reason feel shut out of the labour market.

  1. Expand your recruitment network

Without mincing words, we just have to say it.

A recruitment agency’s true worth lies in the strength and size of its network.

Simple job postings on job sites won’t cut it anymore. As the pool of job seekers dries up daily, the ultimate goal is to reel in as many quality candidates as possible.

Some steps you can take to significantly enlarge your recruitment network include:

  • Making the most of social media
  • Getting referrals

Being where many people spend their time and search for relevant content, social media has undoubtedly taken the recruitment world by storm. According to a study, 73% of millennials found their last job on social media.

Additionally, word-of-mouth remains reliable to date. So, referrals have proven to be another solid way for recruitment agencies to combat a candidate shortage in modern times. If more than 80% of employers rely on referrals, then it’s time recruitment consultants started asking around for suitable candidates.

  1. Consider your clients’ current employees

Look within!

It’s easy to overlook a client’s current workforce, but sometimes, the answer to candidate shortage lies inside. While a client might think that their current employees have hit the ceiling in terms of capacity, that is hardly ever the case.

As a recruitment consultant, your strategies should recognize the unpleasant realities of the labour market. Therefore, encourage your clients to consider training and development programs for their current workforce. Not only is this a budget-friendly alternative, but it’s also much quicker.

Usually, these current employees even fit the bill much better because they’re already aware of the organization’s culture and processes. Thus, they can swing into action right away without the need for the onboarding stage.

  1. Recreate job requirements lists accordingly

One factor that can cause recruitment agencies to flop in the battle against a candidate shortage is creating unrealistic job requirements.

Recruitment agencies may have to (convince their clients to) tone down and balance the job requirement lists. Well-adjusted requirement lists improve accessibility as they make it possible for more candidates to appear suitable for the role.

Otherwise, the outcome will be a hiring process blind to the skill gap reality, and the wait for perfect-match candidates will lead to vacancies remaining for a long time.

To be specific, here are some practical tips on how to water down job requirement lists:

  • Eliminate the need for a degree or special certification, except if it’s extremely necessary (as in the case of medical practitioners or attorneys)
  • The number of years of experience required for the position shouldn’t be set in stone
  • Make room for flexibility in terms of time and place of work
  1. Maintain an efficient recruitment process

Stiff competition is the hallmark of a candidate shortage.

To combat the candidate shortage, you need an edge over the competition.

What can make the recruitment process swifter? How can you create a memorable candidate experience? What does it take to ensure that the recruitment process is not skewed in favour of any particular candidate or set of candidates?


To stay above all the noise involved in dealing with a candidate shortage, recruitment agencies need to invest in technology. So, if you want a next-gen recruitment platform that has proven to be the go-to option for quicker and budget-friendlier hires, more engaging and fairer interviews, as well as seamless recruitment, then look no more.


Shine, the leading video interview platform for recruitment agencies, is all you need. Request a demo right now to see Shine in action.


So, there they are! This practical guide will certainly help you keep your head above the water in terms of meeting your clients’ staffing needs.



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