A pervasive talent shortage is a significant issue for all organizations; a 2017-2018 survey by ManpowerGroup (the largest survey of its kind) revealed that 45% of polled companies cannot find candidates with the skills they need. And worse, this number is up from the 40% reported last year. Skilled candidates are low in supply and many of those with hard skills lack the soft skills to back them up.
Frightening, right? But is that really the full picture? Are there things employers could do to help mitigate the impact of this issue?
According to HR specialist, thought leader and founder/CEO of The Human Workplace Liz Ryan, the term “talent shortage” is a deflection of blame. “It isn’t talent shortages that keep employers and willing and capable job-seekers apart. It’s the broken-down state of the recruiting process! Leaders who are serious about hiring great people need to examine their own internal practices and fix what is broken,” Ryan tells Forbes.
Perhaps she’s on to something – employers cannot force their talent base to acquire more skills pre-hire, but they CAN change their recruiting practices.
Here are some changes that companies can make to attract new talent:
- Lower skill requirements at the application stage.
Examine the position and objectively delineate what skills MUST be present at the start and what skills can be taught along the way. For example, does the open position truly require a degree to perform? In most cases, the answer is no, and you may be screening out very qualified and capable candidates simply by tossing out applicants without a degree. Try changing the requirement to “College degree OR equivalent experience.”
- Create programs that allow your employees to earn certifications that apply to their job.
This is an investment not only in your employees, but in the company itself. If a candidate enters the hiring ring and is obviously well suited to the role but lacking in the proper certifications, by paying for them to take classes, you are growing your existing talent base and creating the “unicorn candidate” that employers are desperate to find. Investing in your employees is investing in the future of your company.
- Sell the job to applicants.
Hiring works both ways, and if you cultivate a hiring culture that insists employers have all the power over applicants, then you are ignoring the fact that you need talent as much as the talent needs you. Respect your applicants and you’ll attract candidates who return that respect in kind by sticking with the company and providing valuable revues on sites like Glassdoor (and maybe referring their friends – more on that later).
- Respond to candidates as soon as possible.
After all, if you don’t snatch them up fast, someone else will get them first. This includes the candidates who don’t necessarily have all the “essential requirements”. If you don’t give ‘second-tier candidates’ a chance quickly, it’s likely that someone else will get to them first.
- Create a positive workplace culture.
Foster an environment where current employees not only want to gain recognition and promotions, but also want to recommend the company to friends. Happy employees are the most likely to refer their talented friends for positions within your company, and that’s good for business.
- Remember your manners.
It’s easy to send applicants terse, quick messages during the recruiting process, especially when you are letting them know that they did not get the job. It only takes a little time to be empathetic, and doing so means you will not alienate a candidate who might be perfect for a future role. That free recruiting is worth the effort it takes to be warm in your correspondences.
Long story short, it does not matter what the root of the talent shortage is, because no matter what, employers need to change their hiring practices to get the talent they need. With a few tweaks to your processes, and maybe even the way you think about hiring in general, you can fill your talent gaps and bring in new, exciting candidates that will take your business to the next level.
*GIS | HireRight’s Blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any statutes or laws cited in this article should be read in their entirety. If you or your customers have questions concerning compliance and obligations under United States or International laws or regulations, we suggest that you address these directly with your legal department or outside counsel.