Securing Talent in the Current Job Market
As recruiters and employment firms have long recognized, jobs that require specific skill sets offer greater staffing challenges than jobs that don’t. Skilled labor is simply harder to come by, even when an economic downturn begins to favor employers in the ever-shifting balance between companies and job seekers.
But some employers have trouble accepting this reality. And when employers become picky, or simply refuse to acknowledge an essential scarcity of talent, they sometimes make unrealistic decisions that can have a negative impact on their firms. These decisions can include everything from hiring temporary help while waiting for the dream candidate to appear, to keeping positions open indefinitely (in a misguided refusal to “settle”).
I see these behaviors all the time. And unfortunately, the outcomes are rarely ideal.
Employers who are struggling to acquire skilled labor should consider the following before making any more self-defeating errors:
- Stop matching the person to the job. Instead, start matching the job to the person. If talent comes your way, even talent that’s an almost-perfect match for your needs, reach out and act. Skills are often flexible within a certain range, and jobs can often be adjusted to fit the talent at hand. The most poorly done job is the one that isn’t being done at all.
- When you hire temporary help, remember the definition of “temporary”. Either train your temps with the expectation of bringing them on full time, or just find and hire your full time employee. Exhaustive interviews and excessive pickiness shouldn’t play a role in your relationship with a short term staff member.
- Stop being a romantic, and start being a manager. As long as positions remain unstaffed, work remains undone. Some employers fear that if they make a commitment to a less-than-perfect candidate, the perfect candidate might ride in like Lancelot five minutes later. But talent is money. And when skilled candidates are turned away, they’re picked up by the competition and positions stand empty, benefiting no one. It’s romantic to wait for perfection, but when you’re staffing skilled positions, realism is a better bet.