The new (nontraditional) rules of recruiting

Learn how leading TMT companies are expanding talent pools, reimagining the workplace, and reinventing the rules of recruiting.

“Where did all my job applicants go?”

It’s a common refrain these days for recruiters and Human Resources (HR) leaders in a persistently tight job market. Forget about “help wanted”—that model feels increasingly broken and out-of-date. The real “help wanted” for HR today is to find some sustainable new ways to recruit and keep quality talent.

One industry leading the way on developing a new approach to talent is technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT), where rapid growth has made the battle for capable staff hypercompetitive. That’s why many TMT companies are actively pursuing innovative, nontraditional recruiting techniques to unlock new candidates—and perhaps even gain an edge on their competitors.

To take a closer look at the emerging TMT hiring trends, we drew on our ongoing research across the industry as well as our recent surveys of chief executive officers and HR leaders. What is TMT doing differently—what’s working and driving the new approach?

Broadly, three key areas of focus stood out from our analysis:

  1. An overall emphasis on removing barriers of entry to the TMT workplace
  2. Tripling-down on retention
  3. Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives


Fortune 500 companies that hired candidates from nontraditional pools and reported reduction in unwanted attrition compared to traditional hiring methods.


Percentage of HR respondents stating their largest challenge will be preparing their workforce for the impact of artificial intelligence and related technologies.

To deliver results in each area, companies must act now by rethinking some of their traditional “usual suspects” approaches and investing in nontraditional talent, as we outline in our comprehensive new report, “The talent niche: Meeting TMT talent needs with nontraditional talent.”

Taking a wider view

Above all, the experts we spoke to emphasized the need to recruit from diverse talent pools. As the TMT industry continues to transform, companies will need to step away from previous recruiting strategies and expand their search to include candidates who may not have standard credentials, such as advanced degrees, related majors, or comparable work histories.

While this tactic may seem counterintuitive, this approach has helped key industry players add skilled individuals who can make rapid contributions.

One example: The Australian Defense Organization (ADO) was looking for promising cyber defense analysts to combat threats in the digital space, so they started working with partnership programs to recruit people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Through a series of project work tryouts that spotlighted the analytical abilities of people with ASD, the ADO was able to accurately gauge their skill level.

While people with ASD may have trouble interviewing or participating in a traditional office environment, they do offer some unique strengths, such as being able to spot unusual patterns in the cyberworld. An ongoing review of the program suggests some compelling initial successes: The analysts with ASD identify cyber threat patterns other have missed, and they have demonstrated a strong work ethic and high retention rates.

Leading with trust

Trust engenders stability, but in an era of increasing distrust, strong and resolute leadership is essential.

Navigating uncertainty by leading the way

Uncertainty no longer feels like a short-term challenge, but an ongoing reality to plan for—and perhaps even leverage to expedite new opportunities, such as digital transformation.

Teaming for success

The large majority (86 percent) of the female leaders in our survey emphasized the importance of collaborative decision-making with teams to further build trust while also expanding the range of valuable insights.

Enhancing the future of work

An employee-first culture means providing essentials like workplace flexibility, opportunities for growth, mental health support, and more.

Moving forward with confidence and clarity

Times of crisis are also opportunities for leaders to step up, instill confidence, and establish a larger spirit of resiliency for the entire organization.

This innovative talent strategy wasn’t about filling roles in an overly competitive labor market but rater being intentional about meeting people where they are and leaning into their strengths.
From KPMG’s report, The talent niche: Meeting TMT talent needs with nontraditional talent.

Adapting to a changing workplace

The TMT industry is well-positioned to tap into new sources of talent, but it’s still vital for companies to define their strategic capabilities and adapt to shifts in the workplace.

As the nature of work evolves, companies must equip their workers with new skills so they can keep up with the ever-changing TMT landscape. In our Future of HR survey, for example, more than half (56 percent) of HR respondents said their largest obstacle will be preparing the workforce for the impacts of artificial intelligence and other related technologies. It’s feedback that underscores the importance of developing a strategic plan that promotes skill-building.

Companies will need to provide employees with the required tools and resources to boost their technical knowledge and bridge any skill gaps in the workplace. Specifically, our new report highlights five top technical skills that companies should prioritize for their employees:





Data science and analytics




Programming and development




Data visualization






   Artificial intelligence




Machine learning

Retaining talent in an evolving workforce

Based on our findings, leading companies are laser-focused on retaining existing talent. Past strategies to bring on and keep talent simply are not as effective in the postpandemic work environment. Now, employees are looking for workplaces that accommodate their needs.

We’ve identified four different ways organizations can meet these new employee expectations and, ultimately, reduce turnover costs:

Learning culture

Make sure employees know that reskilling is not just an option, but a shared goal. In fact, 77 percent of the organizations in our Future of HR survey said they plan to upskill about one-third of their workforce with new technical capabilities.

Lateral movement

Organizations should support employees who are looking to rotate to a new position or utilize a new skill. This promotes loyalty and can spur employees to stay on for the long term.


Companies should explore compensation studies and market-competitive rates to ensure employees feel appreciated—and properly compensated.

Employee experience

Employers should be flexible and meet workers’ preferences to improve their experience. Some examples include investing in mindfulness and meditation apps and providing hybrid or remote working options.

By showing employees they’re supported and valued, companies give workers room to grow and an incentive to meet their organizations’ needs—today and in the future.

Contact us

Brock Solano

Brock Solano

Managing Director, Human Capital Advisory, KPMG LLP

+1 858-750-7063