To overcome the challenge of ramping up staffing from pandemic-lows to meet growing demand, many employers are turning to skills-based hiring and other tools that will help them attract talent quickly and hire right the first time.

While the nation continues to take steps toward economic recovery, companies are struggling to fill open positions. To overcome the challenge of ramping up staffing from pandemic-lows to meet growing demand, many employers are turning to skills-based hiring and other tools that will help them attract talent quickly and hire right the first time.

How could this be when we’ve seen multiple months of job gains, employment opportunities are surging and the market appears to be flooded with available talent from COVID-related layoffs and furloughs? According to FLDEO data from the February and March, 18,500 jobs were back to Orlando’s economy. Nearly 11,900 of those jobs were in the Leisure and Hospitality (L&H) industry. Jobs also returned in Education and Health Services (3,000) and Construction (1,400) over this same period. This growth is on par and, at times, exceeding the national average.

However, the job market is tighter than it may seem. Yes, many unemployed individuals are returning to the workforce. But, a significant percentage of working-age individuals left the workforce entirely. And the race to hire back talent is only heating up.

So, how do employers find the talent they need? Many are shifting their hiring strategies, creating opportunities for workplace innovation and, ultimately, improving talent retention.

Here are 6 tools and resources to help employers attract talent:

Six Tools to Help Employers Attract Talent

1. Learn the benefits of Skills-Based Hiring practices

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated already-in-motion automation and remote work trends in the workforce. It also exposed vulnerable occupations amplified by racial divides that largely impact young, minority and female-dominated positions. These disparities in the talent pipeline seen throughout the U.S. can be addressed through Skills-Based Hiring. By removing credential requirements where possible and using competencies specific to the job, the practice reduces bias and increases diversity. Strategic organizations seeking to pivot to new methodologies for talent acquisition and development should read the Skills-Based Hiring report. The report outlines data-backed, easy-to-implement strategies to address the rapidly changing dynamics within the region’s labor market.

2. Commit to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a multifaceted issue that impacts both workplaces and workforces. An absence of DEI can negatively impact a company’s capacity to innovate, its productivity, and, ultimately, its bottom line. Skills-based hiring is a practice that helps companies increase workplace diversity and improve business outlooks. It works by focusing on skills and competencies instead of education and experience and re-thinking job requirements. Beyond helping diversify an employer’s talent pool, removing educational and experiential barriers to employment creates upward mobility employment opportunities for employees, which positively impacts employee retention. In Orlando, for example, more than 100 companies committed to taking a number of steps to increase workforce diversity, including skills-based hiring approaches, when they signed the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Pledge, which includes a toolkit to help companies diversify their workplace. 

3. Utilize Skillful’s Job Posting Generator

One of the most useful and user-friendly tools in the Skills-Based Hiring toolbox is the Skillful Job Posting Generator. This free online resource assists hiring managers with writing a skills-based job description. Of its many benefits, the generator helps reduce the use of “gender-coded” language, which eliminates masculine-coded language that discourages women from applying. It also emphasizes competencies, which are the abilities necessary to perform job-related responsibilities. Above all, it places value on soft skills, which are more difficult to acquire through training than technical skills. Transitioning from traditional job postings to skills-based job postings effectively reduces an employer’s time-to-hire by widening the available talent pool and identifying candidates who have the right skills for the job.

4. Attend a Skills-Based Hiring workshop

With talent recruitment evolving, human resource professionals are under immense pressure to adapt. Workshops like the Skillful Talent Series are designed to accelerate this adaptation. Hands-on workshops range from Skills-Based Hiring basics to how to reduce bias in the interview and selection process and from how to improve retention and increase diversity to how to fill open positions faster. Each session builds upon skills gleaned from previous sessions. That way hiring managers, HR professionals and employers gain a complete knowledge of the skills-based hiring process from attraction and evaluation to onboarding and retention.

5. Leverage talent recruitment websites

Employers relocating talent from another market can benefit from talent recruitment websites. For example, Orlando regional employers and recruiters utilize The website was designed by over 70 regional talent acquisition professionals and serves as a one-stop website for neighborhood exploration, in-demand career opportunities, K-12 resources, a cost-of-living calculator and more. Additionally, a directory of fast-growing companies that are actively hiring helps spouses find employment and sets minds at ease that there are other employment options should this new opportunity not work out. By showcasing all the region has to offer, new talent can visualize themselves living, working, learning and playing in what could be their new home. This makes the transition to a new way of life easier.

6. Enroll new talent in retention programs  

Talent that’s new to market can feel like a fish out of water, and, without the right support, can find it difficult to feel at home in a new region. The same goes for interns visiting from another city. New talent and intern retention programs like Orlando’s iGRO can be the perfect resource to help retain them. The two-month program designed to connect and retain the business community’s interns and new hires by connecting participants with fellow young professionals and immersing them in all the region has to offer. Employers should consider creating one for their company if a similar program isn’t available in their region.

It’s clear that to be successful in the post-pandemic economy employers need to move beyond relying on traditional, outdated hiring methods. A transition to focus on employment practices that focus instead on skills is critical. By utilizing these six tools to help attract talent, employers can effectively reduce their time-to-hire, deepen their talent pool, improve employee retention and increase workplace diversity. For more information on Skills-Based Hiring and how to engage organizations in these resources, explore these regional talent initiatives or contact Partnership Vice President of Talent & Community Development Danielle Permenter.