5 Ways You Might Be Limiting Your Talent Pool

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You know the drill. You have a new job opening that's got competitive pay and a great location. You post it to the job boards, put up flyers, and blast it on job groups. You know that in no time you'll get every position filled because, hey, why wouldn't your amazing team get tons of applicants immediately?

You sit back, waiting for the job seekers to come to you.

And then . . . nothing. You might be asking yourself if there are just not as many people looking for work right now. But have you ever wondered if it's not just the scarcity of workers, but certain practices within your hiring process that are narrowing your talent pool without you even realizing it?

In this blog, we're diving into some commonly overlooked issues that might be inadvertently limiting your candidate reach, taken from experience.

Limit one: Do you really need that 2nd interview?


Picture this: an eager candidate applies for a forklift operator role at your warehouse. You use a staffing agency, but still have applicants come in for a second interview on-site. They've made it through the interview with your staffing partner and are scheduled to come in for a second interview with you the next week.

At the same time, they’ve got another offer on the table - one without the hurdle of a second interview. The choice for them becomes pretty clear.

When you're in the thick of hiring for your warehouse or distribution center, it’s natural to want the best talent out there. But sometimes the processes you put into place to find those great candidates, like requiring a second interview, might actually be a stumbling block.

In the light industrial labor market, the hiring landscape is competitive and fast-moving. If your process demands a second interview, you might be losing top-notch candidates to competitors who streamline their hiring.

Plus, getting started fast is urgent for many job seekers - it could make the difference between feeding their families next week or not.

A lengthy process with multiple interviews might be a luxury some can’t afford, leading candidates to opt for opportunities that offer quicker turnaround times.

This urgency isn’t just on their side; it’s on yours too. The longer your seats stay empty, the more your productivity takes a hit. Every extra interview round adds days to the process, creating a gap between application and hiring that can slow down your operations. So, while it might seem like a good idea to have that extra round of interviews to ensure the best fit, it could inadvertently be the barrier that’s keeping your ideal candidate from walking through the doors.

In many cases, a second interview is required by companies because their staffing agency doesn't sufficiently vet candidates before sending them - make sure your staffing provider knows exactly what you're looking for so they can more effectively identify the right candidates for you. If you're still having issues with the quality of candidates, you know what to do (call KP).

Limit two: Are your shift times keeping candidates away?

Start Times

Unlike 9-5 office jobs or most retail and food services, many distribution and manufacturing facilities are operating on 24-hour schedules.

While it may seem like an appealing option on the business side, rotating or overnight shifts might actually be limiting the candidates interested in your positions.


At KP, we actually ask our candidates who walk through the door what shift they're open to working. Only 31% of candidates are open to working a third shift, while 84% say they would be interested in a 1st shift position. Third shifts are appealing to less than 1/3 of the job seekers we see, and you're competing for a much smaller talent pool.

Not only does working the overnight or third shift decrease life expectancy and increase the likelihood of developing a chronic health disease (those who work rotating shifts for 5 or more years are up to 11% more likely to die earlier than those who never worked those shifts, according to research from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine) but it's also known to negatively impact the productivity of a business.

A study from the National Library of Medicine found that fatigue-related productivity losses were estimated to be $1,967 per fatigued employee, annually.

In other words, rotating shifts may be negatively affecting your workforce two-fold: You're missing out on candidates who want a consistent schedule, and the employees you already have may not be performing at their peak, decreasing your operational productivity.


Days of the Week

Another way your shifts might be limiting your candidate pool is with the days employees work. We've seen the impact this can have recently with one of our clients.

A major automotive parts manufacturer had employees working 7 days a week – they were having trouble filling positions that carried through the whole weekend and were experiencing high turnover.

At KP's recommendation, they eliminated their Sunday shift and their candidate pool deepened dramatically, decreasing time to fill and increasing retention.

If you aren't reaching the number of candidates you need, take another look at your shift structure; it may be what's keeping people away.

Limit three: Is requiring a resume keeping people away?

When we made requiring a resume a requirement to applicants who applied through our website in July, we knew there would probably be a drop in the number of people applying. What we didn't expect was for the number of applicants to drop by 50%.

That's right - we compared the number of applications we got over five months to the previous five months before we made resumes a requirement, and the number of applications was cut in half. All from just requiring they upload a resume.

However, many employers still require a resume, limiting their talent pool and disqualifying quality candidates.


From candidates who lack technology skills to those with limited access to a computer, many qualified job seekers are weeded out by unnecessary resume requirements – not to mention applicants who are new to the workforce, or who are changing the type of work that they're doing.

According to a study by LinkedIn, up to 60% of job seekers find the process of writing and tailoring a resume one of the most challenging parts of applying for a job. Even experienced candidates might be less likely to apply to jobs they qualified for when a resume is required.

We recommend scrapping the resume requirement for jobs that require little to no experience. If a candidate could learn the job within a few hours, or there will be extensive training on the job anyway, a resume requirement may not be the right call for you.

Limit four: Is your background policy too strict?


You might be missing out on a third of the available applicant pool based on criminal background policies alone.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, roughly 80 million adults in the United States have some sort of criminal record – that's 1 in 3 adults!

Most strict background requirements are in place to avoid harm or liability on behalf of the employer. However, research conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Charles Koch Institute refutes the notion that hiring someone with a criminal history means they're more likely to be a liability. In that research, 81% of HR professionals surveyed said that workers with criminal records were of comparable or better quality than those without.

Another study by SHRM underscores that many of these individuals with records have minor, non-violent offenses, often from several years ago, which may not be relevant to their job performance or reliability.

By maintaining rigid background check policies, companies limit their access to a vast pool of potentially qualified candidates, exacerbating labor shortages in industries like manufacturing and distribution that are already facing workforce challenges. Of the applicants that have come into KP Staffing's offices in the last 6 months, over 26% have some sort of record on their background. That cuts a fourth of potential applicants out of your talent pool. 

Companies that adopt more nuanced background check policies, considering factors like the nature and relevance of offenses, the time elapsed since the offense, and evidence of rehabilitation, can access a broader talent pool.

Limit five: Are you training for the future?

In a study of over 15,000 people in the workforce, Gallup found that 57% stated they were interested in participating in up-skilling. Even more telling, is that 65% of those surveyed considered employer-provided up-skilling to be important in evaluating whether they'll stay at their current job, with 61% stating they consider it important to evaluating a potential new position.

By not offering opportunities for up-skilling, you might not only be limiting the candidates who want to apply to your jobs, you might be losing some of your current employees who find those opportunities important.


Whether it's slimming down experience requirements and increasing training or offering opportunities for current employees to train to gain new skills within their job, you'll uncover a whole new network of job seekers who are eager to learn or pivot to a new specialty.

Pushing past your candidate pool limits

We've detailed 5 of the major limitations that companies in the distribution and manufacturing industries often put on their talent pool. By reconsidering your hiring process, like requiring a resume or second interview, or rethinking aspects of the job, like shift times or offering up-skilling opportunities, you can cast a wider net and get people on the jobs you most need filled.

Are there any limitations you think we missed? Or want to know more about common things we see limiting candidate reach? Get in contact with KP Staffing today!