Is It Really Hard to Find Qualified Applicants?

John Krautzel
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Employers that complain it's too hard to attract qualified candidates are only telling part of the story. Job seekers, job functions and skill demands have changed, while most companies refuse to abandon their inefficient recruitment strategies. The real challenge is finding qualified candidates willing to deal with rude hiring practices and toxic work cultures. To hire top talent, recruiters need to overcome these common reasons for resisting change.

Lack of Disruption

Employers are struggling with talent acquisition, but current results are good enough to slow their motivation to make sweeping changes. Rethinking recruitment strategies and organizational values from the ground up is costly, especially when employers have no certainty of success. Unlike the media and finance sectors, the recruitment industry hasn't faced the huge disruption necessary to force hiring professionals to make drastic changes or lose lots of money. Employers know a broken hiring system is also costly, but it's presumably safer than adopting something completely new, even if change is a step toward something better.

The Myth of Efficiency

Although it's obvious applicant-tracking technologies aren't working, recruiters can't let go of the idea that it's efficient to rely on technology for the most important part of the hiring process. Applicant tracking depends on the strength and accuracy of job postings, but employers so often write ads that are unrealistic, misleading or dull. If the initial batch of applicants is poorly chosen, qualified candidates aren't going to appear out of nowhere. As a result, a process that outwardly seems efficient ends up wasting time and resources without bringing in a large pool of qualified candidates.

Buyer Mentality

Many recruiters cling to the mentality that it's a buyer's market for employers, and companies hold all the power to cherry-pick qualified candidates. To some extent, this is true for employers that invest resources into creating an attractive employment brand that attracts top talent, but these forward-looking companies are in the minority. Job seekers have more power to research and make contact with engaging employers, so many feel less obligated to tolerate lengthy hiring processes, invasive questioning and long silences from hiring managers.

Weak Marketing Strategy

Qualified candidates are assets who help increase company revenues. Sadly, recruiters work with companies that don't understand how critical it is to market their organizations to job seekers. To be successful in the modern fast-paced, digitally connected world, recruitment teams need to have marketing, sales and data analysis skills.

Similar to building customer loyalty, smart companies can grow brand equity with job seekers by tailoring recruitment campaigns to their ideal candidates. The problem is employers are often uncertain of what makes an employee successful in a specific role, making it difficult to provide detailed data to recruitment teams. Job seekers have choices, so recruiters must study their audiences to find out the right value proposition to attract better applicants.

Social media communities are proof that talented people are everywhere. The internet is filled with everyday people of all ages devoting tireless effort and diverse skills to projects for which they often receive no monetary gain. Recruiters are putting the burden on job seekers to drive improvement, but it's up to companies to rethink biased and inefficient strategies that prevent them from finding qualified candidates.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Norwood Wilson thanks for your comment. Maybe some companies will do that but the pressure is going to be put on them by the whitehouse (at least I hope it is) to hire local talent and not outsource. So stay tuned.:-)

  • Norwood Wilson
    Norwood Wilson

    While this article sheds light on what's really happening in today's job market, the unfortunate part is that companies keep this cycle going until they figure that it is better to get talent over seas rather than reinvest in training and hiring those with the talent and pay them accordingly.

  • Vic N.
    Vic N.

    Finally! Original thinking and accurate analysis of the job market

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