On Purpose Enterprises Blog

You Need New Tactics and Weapons In The Fast-Changing Battle For Talent

Despite the plentiful supply of people looking for jobs, it’s still hard to find good people.  And the old ways of finding them aren’t working very well.  Of course, if you’ve been trying to staff high level positions, sales or technical/specialist jobs, you already know that.  So allow me to share some ‘insider’ knowledge with you.     

With unemployment hanging at 9.2% as of July 25, 2011, it would seem that there are plenty of good people available to fill the scarce high-paying jobs at companies that are hiring.  But that’s just not the case.  A recent survey by the research firm McKinsey Global Institute confirms this.     

In a recent FORTUNE article ‘One in five American men don’t work: Where’s the outrage?’, Nina Easton details how a whopping 20% (!) of American men are currently out of work, which is leading to a worsening talent shortage for American employers.   When someone is out of work, their skills become quickly outdated, and they find it very difficult to stay current with the demands of the marketplace.  At the same time, employers want people who have current skills; they want the ‘hot’ talent – which makes it even more difficult for unemployed people to find jobs.  This is terrible news for both workers and employers. 

The article states that “while we all know there is a job shortage, employers are increasingly talking about a ‘talent shortage’ — they can’t find qualified workers even for the jobs that are available.”  Susan Lund, research director for the McKinsey Global Institute says, “We found that 30% of companies surveyed had openings for six months or longer, and can’t find the right person.” 

For example, Google, one of America’s hottest places to work, has anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 jobs open at any given time that take months and months to fill!  Employers please note: your company is competing against companies like Google for talent. 

But look at all the people who are out of work and looking for jobs, you say!  As the old saying goes: water, water everywhere – but not a drop to drink.  Ironic, isn’t it?  But maybe not. 

Lots of people need jobs, but smart employers are now hiring more carefully – ‘cherry-picking’ – their employees.  They’ll only hire those employees who are proven commodities; who will perform the job to their expectations (which are now higher than ever); and who will stay engaged and stick with the organization.  That’s really not too much to expect from an employer’s perspective, is it?  But is this the hiring strategy at your organization?  If not, why not?    

If you are an employer in a competitive marketplace, this news may be even worse for you if you’re not paying attention to keeping your current top performers engaged.  The article states, “With slack demand, companies can afford to be pickier about who they hire — and commonly steal away already-employed workers rather than dip into a riskier pool of people who have been out of work for months or years. 

Yep, when your competitors need talent, they know right where the best source is: they’re coming to get your company’s best people!  Read my recent blog “You Don’t Miss Your Water ‘Til The Well Runs Dry” for a perspective about this. 

The truth is that in this fast-changing and very competitive marketplace, great talent is available if you know where and how to find it.  Great people are just harder to find, and you have to look for them differently, in different places, in different ways.  The chances are good that they’re not even looking for a job because they’re currently employed in a job where they’re a top performer. 

So, there’s good news and bad news.

First, the bad news.  In the future, the old attitudes, methods and tools just won’t work anymore.  If your organization doesn’t adapt to this battle for talent, the great people you need for your critical job openings will soon be working for one of your competitors, or in a job in a hot new industry where their skills and talents apply, where they can grow and develop in their challenging, better-paying, cool new careers.   And be prepared to say ‘bye-bye’ to some of your best people.  You’re really going to miss them.  And if current trends apply, it will be harder than ever to replace them when they’re gone.

The good news?  You can compete and win in this battle for talent.  But you’ll have to do things you’ve never done before.  You’ll have to learn new technology and discard some obsolete practices.  You’ll have to use new tools and resources you’ve never used before.  You’ll have to adapt, take some risks and change the methods you’ve used in the past.  Do these things, and you’ll surf on the tsunami, rather than getting rolled under.   

In the medical field, X-Rays were considered state of the art – until Cat-Scans and MRI’s were available.  And with this new-fangled technology (that some people thought was too costly and complicated), doctors have been able to cure diseases and help patients more effectively with more problems than ever before.  And now, when you or a family member are injured or hurting, would you rather be in a hospital with an old x-ray, or one with state of the art medical imaging technology like cat-scan and MRI?

The new assessment technology from world leader Profiles International works like that.  And as a LinkedIn Recruiter, I can help you find and hire the great talent before your competitors know what hit ’em. 

One last point.  Great talent looks for an organization that ‘gets it.’  These people aren’t motivated to go to work for another ‘same old company.’  But if your organization ‘gets it’, word spreads fast in the community of top performers where passive recruiting is often the only way to reach them.  It draws top people like moths to a flame, like iron to a magnet.       

Think of On Purpose as your secret weapon in this battle for talent.  And give me a call for a free, confidential consultation.