Are you sure there’s a talent shortage? Or just a shortage of talent in your recruitment process?

by K B , updated on May 27, 2016

10740233_sFrom time to time I get called upon to be the “candidate whisperer” when I talk to recruiters and employers about job hunters’ experience.

I actually wish more people would ask me, as I am a little bit over hearing how hard it is to find good talent.

I don’t honestly think there is a real talent shortage in many areas.

I think there are recruitment process deficiencies.

I think there are ill defined role descriptions that have a lot of woolly language and weasel words.

I think often employers do not really identify what it takes to succeed within organisations, or the skills they really require.

I think there’s a funny fixation on years of experience required for a role, yet many organisations will hire people internally into jobs they’ve never done before – based on the fact that this person has demonstrated transferable skills.

Candidates who find it difficult to understand and articulate what they’re good at, can find it difficult to match themselves up to an advertisement.

So it becomes a lose-lose all around.

Speaking with my whisperer’s hat on, here’s what you as a recruiter could do to make your applicants’ lives easier, and at least eliminate that side of the problem.

In no particular order these are:

  • In your advertisements, tell people what they’ll be doing every day in plain, simple and everyday language.
  • Don’t oversell the role. Most people can see through the fluff.
  • Don’t ask applicants to fill out pages and pages of selection criteria, that are written by HR, yet have little bearing on the real requirements of the role. Many people are daunted by long application processes, and do not even begin to apply. Or they give up half way. They also struggle to know which criteria are a real priority and can end up addressing the wrong ones.
  • Make someone available to answer questions about the role. I always advise my clients to call a recruiter. Yet, sadly I tell them that this may not yield great answers.
  • Video someone who knows what they’re talking about to describe the role. And/or use available technology to run some Q&A’s – even having a blog with an ability to comment at the bottom would be better than nothing.
  • Take advantage of social technology, to show people the office and the environment – it’s pretty easy to upload videos to channels like instagram, for example. If people can visualize the work environment they can self assess about whether they want to apply.
  • Give applicants a definitive guide to filling out your application forms. Again, technology such as Camtasia which films a screen, makes this so easy to help people.
  • Get back to people quickly if they haven’t been successful. That way you can communicate in more detail with people who actually match your requirements.

Be aware that most people remember when they do not hear back or have a bad experience, and are likely to think less of your organisation for it.

This research by US firm Career Builder, says that 22% of people who’ve had a bad experience will tell other people not to apply to that company. The research also says that 75% of people have had an experience where they have not heard back after applying for a role.

Finding or changing roles is not an easy task.

It can be confidence shattering to put your *rse on the line time and time again and never hear back.

So what you might find, yet never be aware of, is that good people simply give up.

That means everybody loses all round.

End of my rant.

See you on the next blog.


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