Three Assumptions Standing Between Employers and the Workers They Need
When it comes to today’s in-demand skills, the supply of talent is tight. From engineers and programmers to marketing, management, and trade skills, employers are not only challenged to find the people they need to fill critical roles; they must compete for those people.
Also at issue is the fact that such competition is growing beyond traditional realms to include companies both within and outside their industries that need people with the same capabilities. Organizations are competing with alternative work options, such as freelancing or contracting, that may lure the worker in a different direction. And, they are competing to be seen and heard amid the sheer volume of information that gets in the way of meaningful interaction between employers and talent.
These issues create a real challenge for companies as they struggle to connect with the talent they need. In many cases, employers may be their own worst enemy as they cling to outdated or inaccurate assumptions that stand in the way of effective talent engagement. With that in mind, a recent Allegis Group poll reveals worker sentiments that point to three assumptions that employers may need to question as they improve how they engage talent.
Assumption #1: Passive Candidates are the Rarest and Most Desirable Talent
More than two-thirds (67 percent) of currently employed respondents are actively looking or open to new opportunities. They represent the portion of the workforce that falls into the traditional definition of “passive talent” or workers who have great skills and do well at their jobs but could be lured away by the right opportunity. The truth is, many people who hold jobs today are “active” job seekers, and many active job seekers could be people who choose flexible work, including contractor or gig work, as a career choice.
That figure reflects a reality that companies must consider in seeking new talent, as well as for driving relationships with their current workers. Rather than solely focusing on stealing other companies’ talent or protecting their own from poachers, companies may simply do well to focus on providing the transparency in processes and communications to make it easier for people to join the organization – whether as a traditional employee or flexible worker. In short, a fluid workforce means nearly every worker is an active candidate, and that is not a bad thing.
Assumption #2: More Data Means Better Talent Acquisition
Even the best possible employees are likely to be lazy about some things; chief among them is their digital presence. Face it, potential candidates are humans. They want to do certain things that are good for them, like eat broccoli or update their LinkedIn profile, but they don’t always do these things as much or as well as they should. In fact, nearly all respondents (98 percent) had a career profile on a social website, but less than half (40 percent) update their information frequently, and roughly 10 percent have not updated their profiles in years.
For employers, these figures point directly to the limitations of talent acquisition in the digital world. Very simply, much of that digital intelligence is inaccurate, especially when it is gleaned from social media channels. A capable sourcing and recruiting function, particularly in a solid talent solutions partner, should still be able to derive value from that information. The key to success is to understand how that information can point to the right talent for the job, filling in the blanks to identify a person who may be more senior in their role than their online information indicates, or who may have additional skills that may apply across industries. Data is only potential. It’s the way that data gets used that determines an effective talent function.
Assumption #3: Job Seekers Want Employers to Find Them
This assumption is more misleading than the previous two, mainly because it is, in fact, true. Job seekers do want to connect with employers, but the problem for employers is that many potential candidates don’t do what is needed to make themselves more visible. According to the poll, more than half of workers (55 percent) say they would not adjust their resume or application to make sure it has keywords that would match them to the type of position they seek. Twenty-three percent don’t know that applicant tracking systems score applications against job descriptions.
These people are not unqualified or lacking in knowledge; rather, corporate recruiting and the workings of talent technology are probably not their areas of expertise. The message for employers is clear: don’t act as if job seekers want to be found. Get smart about using technology that doesn’t put all the emphasis on keywords as a way to find talent. Keep job requirements as streamlined as possible so potential candidates are not overlooked due to matching issues. At the same time, employers would do well to make responsiveness a priority. According to the survey, 57 percent of candidates would give up on an employer if they took more than a week to respond to a question about a position.
Managing the Details
Moving forward, companies will continue to experience challenges in securing the talent they need to drive growth and success. The winners in this race for talent will be the employers who recognize that long-held assumptions can’t be taken for granted, whether seeking passive candidates, managing data and research, or searching for workers who want to be found. While an internal talent function provides much of the strength and resources needed to stay ahead of evolving demands, a talent solutions partner provides the always-on approach, including expertise, technology, and resources that can keep employers ahead of the details that stand between them and the great talent they seek.