DARK HORSE, New Mindset!

The shortage in the labor market is a fact

Almost every company is struggling to find suitable candidates who meet their requirements. This can have significant impacts on businesses. When there is a shortage of labor, employees are in high demand, which can drive up wages and benefits. This can lead to increased labor costs for employers, which negatively impact their profitability and competitiveness. Also, businesses may struggle to keep up with orders and deliverables. This can lead to delays and reduced productivity, which can impact the quality of products and services and harm the business’s reputation. 

How to explore alternative solutions?

To address the challenge of finding qualified candidates, businesses can take several steps.

  • In a tight labor market, offering a competitive salary and benefits package can help businesses attract and retain qualified candidates. Employers should be willing to be more flexible in their demands for job conditions and listen to what candidates’ value in a job, such as flexible work hours and the ability to work from home.
  • Providing training and development opportunities can help businesses attract candidates who may not have all the required skills and are willing to learn and grow within the company. Moreover, it can help retain talent within the organization!
  • Employers can collaborate with schools and training institutions to find and train potential employees. This can include internships, apprenticeships and training programs.
  • By building a positive employer brand through social media, employee testimonials, or company reviews can help attract candidates who are interested in working for a company with a positive reputation. Candidates are often looking for a company culture that aligns with their personality and values.
  • Businesses can also broaden the pool of candidates by exploring alternative recruiting channels such as social media, job fairs or recruiting events.
  • By investing in technological innovations to increase productivity and improve efficiency the demand for labor and the need to hire new employees may be reduced.

New mindset

The positive aspect of the shortage on the labor market is that employers have started recruiting and selecting more creatively in attracting talent. With fewer candidates available, businesses may need to broaden their search and consider candidates with non-traditional backgrounds or experiences, or who may not have all of the exact qualifications listed. 

This starts with broadening the job posting, whereby education and relevant work experience have become less important. Resumes must be assessed less critically; the non-usual suspects are nowadays also invited for a job interview. In our business they are called the ‘dark horses’. A candidate who may not have been considered initially, but who emerges as a strong contender during the selection process. Surprise candidates you didn’t see coming, with suitable motives, ambitions and competences who could be a great fit for the job. Looking for the right candidate instead of the best candidate!


The effect of a dark horse candidate can be significant, as they may bring a fresh perspective or unique set of skills and experiences that were not present in the initial pool of candidates. This can lead to a more diverse and inclusive workforce, as well as new ideas and innovations that can benefit the organization.

 However, the effect of a dark horse candidate can also be challenging. There is a higher risk that they will not meet expectations and ultimately be unsuccessful in the role. Due to their unconventional background and experience they may have a different working style than the rest of the team. This can disrupt team dynamics and lead to conflicts. 

Overall, the effect of a dark horse candidate can be both positive and negative, and employers must weigh the potential benefits and challenges when considering their impact. 

Article written by Marion Dijksterhuis, CFR Global Executive Search The Netherlands
Photo source: Pixabay

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