Overcome Hiring Manager Resistance to Nontraditional Candidates | Gartner

Talent Acquisition

Nontraditional candidates—those from functions, industries, educational backgrounds, etc., that differ from those typically sought after in a given role—are an untapped talent source. These candidates often have the skills and desire to take on a new role (or other types of work opportunity—such as projects, short-term assignments, etc.), but a segment of managers resist hiring or placing these candidates due to them not fitting narrow criteria. This Gartner article provides five tactics recruiters can use to influence hiring managers’ receptivity to hiring nontraditional candidates. Tactic 4 involves the recruiter influencing the managers to get diverse inputs (e.g., peers of the role, other leadership team members, etc.) to inform the needs and criteria of the role. And given that 68% of hiring managers say they have low or medium familiarity with the role they are hiring for, and 72% have never worked in that role, the tactic of multiple inputs could enable the more effective utilization of nontraditional candidates. With this as the backdrop, two talent measures that I believe can be helpful are: 1) the percentage of roles (or opportunities) that were filled with someone deemed a nontraditional candidate and 2) the success rate (e.g., high performance) of those nontraditional candidates that were placed in the role or opportunity. The data could help build a compelling business case for why other managers might want to consider nontraditional talent for their work opportunities.