The Bottom Line On Why You Can’t Fill Jobs

The Bottom Line On Why You Can't Fill JobsRoberta Matuson [COURTESY OF FORBES.COM]

As I travel around the country, here’s what I hear from employers:

• We can’t find talent.
• We can’t keep talent.
• We can’t keep talent engaged.

Here’s what I hear from those who are seeking employment:

• I can’t get past the Applicant Tracking Systems.
• I apply for jobs and never hear back.
• I’m perfectly qualified. I suspect my age is the problem.

The Bottom Line On Why You Can't Fill Jobs

From my perspective, there certainly is a disconnect. Here are the facts. Unemployment in the U.S. is 4.7%, which is down from last month’s figure of 5.0% and the new Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report for April has just been released. There are now over 5.7 million job openings, which equals last July’s peak on records going back to 2001. This problem isn’t going away anytime soon.

Here’s why you can’t fill jobs and what you can do to change this.

You don’t know where you are going. I always tell my clients that we first have to establish where we are going before we can figure out how to get there. I use the example of someone in Detroit who is planning a trip. Is the goal to visit Canada, which is a stone’s throw away or is it to go to South America? Canada is an easy jaunt, that doesn’t even require packing a lunch. South America is quite a different story.

Decide where you are going in terms of your talent strategy, before mapping out your entire plan to get there. By doing so, you’ll be able to find a direct route that will get you to your destination in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

You’re too tentative. Have you ever been in a situation where someone really wanted you, more than anyone else? They may have wanted you for a particular role in their company or you may have been their first choice to take to the prom. In both cases, you were most likely pursued.

Hiring managers need to pursue talent the same way they would go after a ticket to a sold-out Bruce Springsteen show–with gusto! Do whatever is required to get the attention of the person you’ve identified as “the one” for your team. Don’t stop until you get a yes!

You’re focusing on the wrong things. I get how you want your applicant tracking system to completely integrate with your Human Resource Information System and you are investing heavily to make this so. However, given today’s unemployment and JOLT numbers, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Processes are not going to get your job filled. To do so, you need people who know how to attract and retain talent. This requires transforming your hiring managers into talent magnets. Doing so, will help you dramatically reduce the time it’s taking you to fill your current job openings.

Your applicant experience is dreadful. We always tell job candidates they only have one chance to make a great impression. Well, the same holds true for employers. I hear tons of horror stories from candidates regarding their experience with a company’s interviewing process. Many are relieved when they never hear back from the employer, as they can only imagine how awful it might be to work in this type of environment day in and day out.

Treat your applicants as well as you treat your customers and you’ll be golden.

Your hiring managers don’t know how to hire. Where is it written that upon promotion to management, you automatically acquire the assessing candidates gene that seems to be missing from many hiring managers? Most hiring managers have no idea how to hire. I can say this as I’ve taught thousands of hiring managers how to select for success. One such hiring manager comes to mind. She said the following to me after attending a course I facilitated on Selecting for Success. “I’ve been interviewing for years and now I finally know why I’ve been asking these questions!”

Now that I’ve exposed the real truth about hiring managers, it’s up to you to help these people dramatically improve their ability to select new hires. Believe me when I tell you that most will be eternally grateful that you are finally giving them support.

Stop eliminating candidates based on salary. Many companies toss out anyone who is asking for more money than we are willing to pay. This usually results in a huge chunk of the talent pool–those over the age of 40–being tossed out as well.

Take a few moments to have a conversation with a candidate before discarding them because of money. By doing so, you may find that many candidates are more flexible on salary than you had originally thought.

The Bottom Line On Why You Can't Fill Jobs

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