Let’s debunk a hiring myth. Let’s debunk the myth that because of high unemployment, recruiters and hiring managers can and should be more selective. This is the view, according to an amazing survey conducted by Careerbuilder, of a staggering 81% of talent acquisition professionals.
Simply put, in my opinion, this is malarkey. Yes, unemployment remains absurdly high. Way too many people are unemployed. A remarkable number of people are underemployed. You can even group employees unsatisfied with their current career situation. In totality, the job market is a mess. These are all facts; however, talent acquisition professionals are doing themselves a HUGE disservice by falling into the trap of “high unemployment means I can be fussy and wait for the PERFECT candidate to present themselves” mindset. They are getting squeezed by the talent crunch.
While 81% of those in charge of hiring are being fussier, almost half of those SAME people have positions they cannot fill. And the true irony of it all is that those positions are going unfilled because… THEY CAN’T FIND TALENT. According to Manpower, in 2006 (before the economy blew up) 44% of companies were having issues with unfilled positions. That number is now at 49%. Almost 80% of firms polled at a recent SHRM conference said they are having major issues filling critical positions.
Do the math. In September of 2006, the unemployment rate was just over 4.5%, the housing bubble was still intact, and the financial sector hadn’t exploded. Yet companies were having fewer issues filling positions than they are experiencing today, with unemployment at 8.1%. Despite all of this, employers are citing high unemployment as a reason to be more selective than they were being PRIOR to the recession.
To look at this another way: companies are trying to hire new employees, they just cannot find the talent they believe to be out there. On July 31 there were 3.7 million job openings – almost four million instances of a company trying to hire someone! Yet they cannot find the talent they believe to be out there, mostly because the talent ISN’T out there. At least not in the amount they believe it to be.
Take engineering for example. Engineers of all specialties are in high demand. For every one engineer looking or open to a new opportunity, there are five openings. Or look at sales, a position very dependent on experience. There are three sales openings for every one available candidate. Recruiters and hiring managers mindsets are that they are in positions of power, but in fact the candidates have a much better situation.
This doesn’t mean that those in talent acquisition should be less fussy. The cost of a bad hire is extremely high, so you want to make sure you are hiring the RIGHT people. But instead of waiting for the perfect hire, recruiters effectively managing the talent crunch are sourcing based on teachable fit. Melanie Holmes defines teachable fit as hiring for the critical, non-negotiable skills and developing on-the-job training programs to get the rest.
That is how recruiters, talent acquisition professionals, and companies can develop a strong competitive advantage. By finding talented individuals who are unemployed, underemployed, or dissatisfied AND DEVELOPING THEM into key members of their team. That is how you help solve the talent crunch.