Technical skills gap or just unrealistic expectations?

When it comes to hiring technical talent, there are really only two kinds of candidates: those who can do the job and those who cannot. However, some candidates in the second group are almost able to do the job, and likely will be able to in the near future.

In my experience, I am yet to find a regional “skills gap” that isn’t actually a gap in one of the following:

Gap in competitive wages

If you aren’t willing to pay for the skills that you need, then no one will apply. Researching competitive salaries for specific technical skillsets (like for dev ops engineer, frontend engineer, principle web services architect, etc) and making offers near or at those numbers is a great place to start.

Gap in realistic job requirements

Requirements for higher-education degrees, certain number of years of experience, or expertise in multiple unrelated technologies are all things that candidates will use to disqualify themselves from applying to jobs. Also, this behavior encourages keyword-stuffing and other dishonest behavior.

Could your own employees qualify for this job based on the requirements? Are some of your requirements actually nice-to-haves? Think of requirements as a lever: the more you add, the less often people will apply.

Gap in employee training

Are you sure that you can’t train someone to do your job? This includes both new hires and existing employees. An added benefit of training is that it greatly improves employee retention (aka less turnover) because the employee is able to invest time into growing thanks to the company programs.

Gap in supplier relationships

Sometimes suppliers — like universities, staffing companies, and internal recruiting teams — need more direct communication in order to find the right candidates for your open roles. A job req on its own may not be enough to help them source the best-fit candidates, and a supplier may have to figure it out through process of elimination. Schedule some time to jump on the phone and answer all of their questions. (Supply chain failure is expecting a supplier to meet your needs without working with them.)