Attracting Top Talent From Untapped Labor Markets

Attracting Top Talent From Untapped Labor Markets
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Growing your workforce is a task employers shouldn’t lose sight of. Attracting new candidates allows companies to keep performance on point by diversifying their workforce. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that; top performers are hard to find, and to keep a workplace diverse, you need to get professionals with different backgrounds. The silver lining for hiring managers is there are a few untapped markets they can try to get the candidate they’re looking for. 

Why does talent go hidden?

Sourcing candidates from untapped talents goes beyond doing social good or community goodwill. Workers from these companies will give your company’s hiring process a high return on investment, as well as foster diversity in the workplace. Most HR professionals, managers, and executives have reported a positive experience working with professionals from untapped markets since they show a higher-than-average job performance.

Then, if workers from untapped talent markets are so effective, why do they go unnoticed? Different aspects of the modern recruitment process unintentionally keep labor pools untapped. This affects both job seekers and companies therefore, here are a few elements you should be aware of in your hiring process that may keep valuable candidates, even high-performers, hidden from you. 

Recruitment technology

Of course, technology and automated processes make a recruiter’s job easier; nevertheless, some tracking technologies prevent many candidates from untapped markets from applying or taking them away early in the process. Candidates who have limited access to online resources,  who have disabilities that disqualify them from applying through automated systems, or who lack one of the administrative requirements are just a few examples of this. 

Overload of requirements   

Though vetting candidates is a vital part of recruitment, if this process is too rigid, it will lead to missing workers from untapped labor markets. Fixating specific skills or including unnecessary credentials for the job are two major practices that keep hidden workers out of your scope. Remember that most of the skills needed for a role will be developed in the workplace.

Talent acquisition limitations 

Companies and hiring authorities with limited exposure to untapped markets, inexperienced, or who stick too tightly to job descriptions are more likely to miss hidden talent. The lack of inclusive hiring, personnel, and training on hiring know-how will limit their potential for finding underutilized candidates. Working with a recruiter will allow you to compensate for this issue and get access to unseen talent pools.

Untapped Labor Markets

Despite the skepticism, untapped talent pools are a true gold mine of reliable and productive workers who will also help you to grow and innovate. If you’re already determined to seek talent in hidden talent pools, and you’re wondering where exactly to look out, here are some untapped markets you can start your search on. 


Veterans are a highly underestimated talent pool with unique qualities that companies can benefit from. Despite the idea that military training and responsibilities are hardly transferable, they have a unique mindset and leadership skills to keep them engaged with your organizational goals. Strong commitment, resiliency, and advanced technical training are just a few other qualities of this untapped market. 

Military spouses and caregivers

Keeping up with untapped markets related to the US Forces, on military spouses and caregivers, you’ll find candidates skilled at adapting to change and navigating ambiguity, as well as with strong leadership and problem-solving skills. On top of it, you’ll count on people already used to diversity and who may already have some corporate perks covered by the military. 

People with disabilities

Despite many governmental and non-profit agencies encouraging employers to hire disabled or chronically ill people, many companies still find themselves reluctant to do so. The misbeliefs of their capabilities and how expensive adapting a workplace is are keeping many organizations away from experiencing lower turnover rates, feedback, and high performance from this untapped market.

Returning citizens

Formerly incarcerated people are a tricky untapped labor market. Speaking from their standpoint, transitioning to employment will be difficult, mainly because of the lack of opportunities. From an employer’s position, there may be concerns about their reliability and performance.

Fortunately, you can work with social services and corrections departments to find motivated high performers. On top of that, the government incentivizes you to employ ex-offenders with the federal bonding and tax credits program.

Senior or retired professionals

Missing out or avoiding professionals from this and the two previous untapped markets can lead to incurring work discrimination. Aside from the fact that this is a delicate issue that enhances ageism in the workplace, hiring authorities and employers who overlook older workers are missing a large talent pool of skilled and experienced professionals. 

This talent pool isn’t limited to active workers only. You can even bring back people from retirement, as many recent retirees feel they still have more to give and want to run through for a few more miles. 

Young professionals

Recent grads, college students, and other young professionals are excellent choices to bring creativity and innovation to your workplace. The lack of experience is highly compensated by their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. With the proper training and guidance, you’ll mold them to fit the role and your company culture

Tips for attracting candidates from untapped markets

Making your way through untapped talent pools requires an out-of-the-box strategy. Simple but strategic efforts are powerful enough to attract hidden talent into your hiring process. Here are some actions you can include in your recruitment efforts to attract candidates from untapped markers.

Showcase as an inclusive company

You should always keep your employer branding on point since it will allow you to showcase your employee value propositions. If you’re leaning toward recruiting talent from untapped talent markets, this is your chance to be welcoming to hidden candidates. Make sure to be encouraging and emphasize you’re open to hiring job-seekers regardless of their background, experience, or skills. 

Adapt your job descriptions

Job descriptions are one of the very first filters through which professionals from untapped markets are dismissed. Review your job postings for any unconscious bias or unintended language that keeps hidden talent from applying. Minor edits like word changes will make a big difference for candidates with disabilities, veterans, or senior professionals. 

Try out-of-the-box strategies

The same actions will bring the same results. If you keep getting the same candidates, you have to evaluate your strategies and crack your recruitment pipeline open. Most of these untapped markets are also passive pools, so digital job postings won’t do the work. You can try searching out of the office, putting up job fairs, working with recruiters, or partnering with organizations and government agencies.

Offer remote work schemes

Working remote is another aspect that will allow you to get to untapped markets. Although this corporate perk is attractive to almost all workers, for candidates with disabilities, geographic restrictions, or who are in charge of family responsibilities, this will be the deal changer to opt for your job offer. 

Talent search has ups and downs, especially when looking for a specific type of worker. Nevertheless, getting into untapped markets to broaden your talent scope will make the process flow smoother, and it’s guaranteed you’ll find some true game changers for your company.

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Contributed by Luis Arellano

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