We are living in one of the tightest recruitment job markets we have experienced in many years. So many factors are impacting the ability to identify and recruit talent – the growing desire for remote work, the challenges presented by vaccine mandates and the overall desire by workers to rethink their work situations to create better work-life balance and find more satisfying roles. Many remain stressed and burned out from pandemic fatigue. The results – a record 4.3 million American workers quit their jobs in August. In the same month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 10.4 million unfilled positions with employers desperate to hire.
This workplace exodus runs contrary to what employers thought they knew about the workforce. People are no longer being easily wooed by a paycheck or unconventional “fun” benefits like game rooms or all-day snacks. Instead, they are looking for environments where they feel safe, valued and where their employer displays empathy. The “employee experience” is now every bit as important as the “candidate experience.” Employers need to rethink their employee communications, processes, level of flexibility and their response to what employees value. Post pandemic employees are choosing to be empowered over their careers.
So, lots of available people, plenty of openings…yet the disconnect is mindboggling.
The Wall St. Journal recently reported that studies show employers are increasingly relying on automated software to sort through job applications, yet millions of potential candidates are being skipped over. What’s missing? Part of it is the human element. If you recall, a few years back there was much talk about hiring the PERSON. We heard about untapped and underappreciated candidate markets like the disabled, working moms, veterans, people on the spectrum and so many more. Now it’s time to own up, improve and nurture those audiences for real. But there is still an elephant in the recruiting room and it’s this one BIG thing that keeps coming after us every day – TECHNOLOGY. Enterprise companies through small business owners are using tech – they are using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their sourcing efforts to find them people. Instead, the technology could be bypassing the very same talent they are looking to attract. TECH/AI removes the people factor and instead looks for key words in a resume. If the word isn’t there, that candidate is lost forever.
Of course, you can’t give up the technology, but you can use it better along with other tools to enhance your efforts rather than sabotaging them. The study cited in the WSJ was done by Harvard Business School and it revealed how heavily organizations rely on automated hiring systems. Ninety-nine percent of Fortune 500 companies are employing them to parse through potential candidates. Unfortunately, even the most appropriate applicants may not stand out. The hiring software gets tripped up by a variety of factors, largely how the people employing them set up the search parameters and the candidate criteria.
Joseph Fuller, lead researcher of the study and professor at Harvard Business School, cited examples of hospitals scanning résumés of registered nurses for “computer programming” when actually what they really needed was simple data entry skills and familiarity with electronic patient records.
Companies are rethinking their strategies to now combat these system downfalls. Job descriptions are being re-written, certain educational requirements are being eased. The longer the job description, the harder it is for a candidate to measure up. Other system pitfalls like gaps in resumes or cross-industry jargon make it less likely the system will rank a prospective candidate favorably, if at all.
The Harvard Business School study showed that these “systems” excluded more than 10 million workers from consideration. WHAT? In this market – when there are 10 million unfilled openings! They are the forgotten, the overlooked, the misclassified, the hidden, untapped talent.
For many years, professional recruiters from search firms and staffing agencies have said to clients that a resume is a piece of paper, it is not the person. We have spent many long conversations convincing clients to “just meet” a candidate we felt strongly about for a specific search. How often have we said, “you won’t regret it”? The whole person, the attitude, the experience, their emotional intelligence, are what matter! That’s where our industry comes in – it’s what Lloyd does every day. We fill in the blanks on resumes. We discern the candidate’s skills from candid conversations. We have dialogues, we ask questions to dig deeper than the document and go beyond the resume to uncover the whole person for our client
Lloyd and the staffing/recruiting industry overall have always believed in the person. The technology must still be used to make us smarter about sourcing and engaging more talent and diverse networks; however, the grit and work is in the human screening process and professional interviewing that has been a part of the Lloyd foundation since our inception over 50 years ago.
We believe strongly in the people intelligent model, Lloyd designed our LLQ process around the Top Grade model of screening and hiring. All the technology we bring in helps with speed, efficiency and flexibility, but it will NOT replace the most important part of recruiting and hiring – the person. It is always about the PERSON.