Making Sense Of A Confusing Talent Marketplace

Earlier this week I discussed a war for talent. As cliché as the war for talent sounds, it is real. Recruiters and HR professionals have been talking about this war for over a decade and most are sick of hearing about it. The one thing we cannot hide from though is data. Data shows concrete evidence of what is going on in the marketplace.

America has been through two recessions since the millennium. The recession of 2008 hit most all of us, and most Americans are still rebounding. Let’s look at some data. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October 2009 the unemployment rate was 10% — in January 2015, it has dipped to 5.7%. In Michigan, the unemployment rate was 14.2% in August of 2009 and just 6.3% in January of 2009.

Job growth is at its highest since 1999, and 2015 looks to continue that trend. Underemployment does seem to be high, as many workers are still overqualified for their roles and doing involuntary part-time work. The underemployed are competing for the available jobs, and companies are still looking to hire the best talent available.

It is a confusing recovery, but a recovery nonetheless. Organizations are going to be competing fiercely this year to attract and retain employees. With unemployment dropping, consumer confidence is rising and candidates will be quietly listening to opportunities. When people have their guards down and are open to changes, this leads to a higher “recruit-ability.”

For the first time in many years the tables have turned — it is going to be a candidate-driven market. Candidates will be looking to make a change for a number of reasons. There is going to be some key driver that causes a desire to passively look for a new opportunity. Candidates could be looking for a higher salary, a faster-growing organization, a company with expanded opportunities, or simply to work for a high-profile industry leader. Candidates are going to be wooed by just about every organization. Organizations realize the time is now and they need to get their key players in place to capitalize on the job growth that we haven’t seen since 1999.

Job-seekers are going to have to trust recruiters and the organizations recruiting them. Relationships will be key this year! Without trust and a clear understanding of the goals of the competing organization, the organizations will not be able to attract or, for that matter, retain candidates. Companies are going to have to be relentless in their approach and get to the real issues of why people are looking to make a change and address them.

Beyond the recruiters though, the organizations that are going to win the war for the top talent will need a culture and employer brand that stands out. Marketing and recruiting will have to work hand in hand to make a clear, concise message. The organizations that will win this war will have a brand that is highly recognizable and relatable. With so much information readily available out there via social media, without a good online presence and brand, you aren’t going to be able to compete.

So what are your thoughts about this year? How are you going to win this war for talent in this competitive job market? Looking forward to discussing this Wednesday, February 18th on #TChat!

About the Author: Will Thomson lives in Austin, Texas, and works for Rosetta Stone as the Global Sales and Marketing Recruiter. He is also the founder of Bulls Eye Recruiting.

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There IS A War For Talent In 2015

Are you ready for a wild ride? 2015 is here, and it is going to be one of the best years we have seen in recruiting since 1999. Yes, consumer confidence is up and unemployment is the lowest we have seen it in years. Do you have the recruitment professionals in place to take advantage of this opportunity? If not, you need to evaluate what your organization needs to do to capitalize on attracting the right talent to your organization.

Think about this. The candidates your company could not attract for years because of economic uncertainty are now listening to opportunities. They are willing to actually make a change if the right opportunity becomes available. On the flip side of this coin, what about your employees? What is your organization doing to retain the employees who are being courted by your competitors? Your employees are willing to make a change also.

What does this mean? This means we are in a talent war. Yes, I said it. 2015 will be a bloodbath. It is hard to believe because we have been talking about a recession for a very long time. With a talent war, organizations are going to have to get competitive. Candidates are going to want and demand competitive pay and competitive perks, and will want to work for an organization with a great culture.

Recruiters are going to have to be aggressive. They are going to have to think outside of the box. They are going to have to build relationships with candidates and earn their trust. Companies are going to have to get serious about their employer brands. People are looking for jobs in many different ways this year and it will take much more than a standardized job posting on LinkedIn to attract the best.

Your organization has a choice in 2015. Are you going to be one of the success stories or are you going to be one of the companies we read about that failed? If people are looking for new jobs in your organization and you are doing nothing to retain them, then you may find yourself in a horrific situation.

If you are losing your employees as fast as you are gaining them, then you are not moving forward as an organization. Organizations need to build on what they have in place today, not just replace what they’ve lost; they have to try to find new leaders in the most competitive environment we have seen in years.

Which department is most concerning to your organization in 2015? Is your company looking for technical people, sales people, marketing people or for employees in another department? If you don’t know that answer off the tip of your tongue, then you aren’t ready for this bloodbath. If it is all of the above, then you better get serious about your recruiting strategy.

Organizations are going to have to hire recruiters with tenacity, assertiveness, and an attitude of a winner. Recruiters who have hidden behind the scenes and done administrative tasks for years will ultimately lead to the demise of the success of your organization. The characteristics of a successful recruiter demand someone who is okay being “on call” at all times and can roll with the punches when things constantly change. Recruiters will have to be good at sales; because in this war, your competition will have the best sales people.

If there is a year to put all of your cards in the table, this would be the year. Get your recruitment strategy in place. Hire the best and invest in your human resources department. This is not the year to reduce or keep your recruitment budgets status quo. Work closely with your marketing department and make sure you have a very clear message to your candidates. Lastly, do what you can to retain the employees you want. You may have to revisit salaries, and perks; however, it is worthwhile, as you do not want to have to start over and lose out on your investment.

What is your organization doing differently to deal with these challenges in 2015? I would love to hear your thoughts and talk to you about it further on the TalentCulture #TChat Show on February 18th.

About the Author: Will Thomson lives in Austin, Texas, and works for Rosetta Stone as the Global Sales and Marketing Recruiter. He is also the founder of Bulls Eye Recruiting.

3 Things To Know About Hiring And Recruiting

Candidate Experience Matters

“Candidate experience” is a term that we’re seeing a lot of in the recruitment, hiring, and HR spaces right now, and we’re hearing it for a reason. There is a lot of competition for the top talent out there in every field, and one big way that employers can gain that competitive edge is through how they treat candidates leading up to a hiring decision.

The candidate experience can begin with how a job post is written, where it’s advertised, and how the application process works. The key to creating a great candidate experience is to really put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re trying to attract.

Don’t let the job description turn into a pie-in-the-sky wish list of skill sets and qualifications. Keep it simple and easy to read, and include some reasons why your ideal candidate would want to work for you in the first place. Choose where and how you advertise your openings carefully. Think like a marketer, about whom you want your message to reach, where they are most likely to see it, and whether or not your posting venue fits with your image as a company.

And finally, don’t put the applicant through a long, tedious and frustrating 20-page form to fill out, followed by 20 more pages of screening questions. Would you enjoy that process? How would going through that affect what you think of your prospective employer? There’s also the chance you run the risk of alienating or even screening out the right candidate when you put them through an onerous process like that, which can reflect badly on your employer brand.

Recruiting Isn’t a Science

At least, it isn’t just a science; there is an art to it as well. There are things you can screen for, and there are things you can’t categorize as easily. You can use technology to match specific skills to specific job requirements, but soft skills and personality traits are harder to quantify.

You may find the perfect candidate on paper, with all the right qualifications, and then discover he or she is a complete mismatch when it comes to fitting in with the workplace culture. Recruitment can also be about building and maintaining relationships over time, not to mention corporate branding and providing that good candidate experience.

Good recruitment strategies are a balancing act between art and science — using proven strategies as well as taking into account the more intangible aspects of qualifying candidates and getting to know them as people.

Hiring for Attitude, Training for Skill

Hiring someone with all the right skills and hoping that the right personal traits or attitudes will appear can result in disaster. More often than not, if a new hire doesn’t work out, it’s because of attitude rather than lack of skill.

The right personal traits, like flexibility or willingness to collaborate, can be as important if not more so than the perfect skill set. Again, it’s a balancing act between the soft skills and the hard skills that a candidate has to offer.

One method is to look at previous examples you’ve seen of employees who have thrived in your company, figure out what traits or abilities helped them to do so, and then look for those elements in candidates.

The bottom line is that recruiting and hiring are not simple processes by any means, but it can be effective, successful, and even pleasant for all involved when the right strategies are used. So keep these three nuggets of wisdom in mind as you prepare for your next round of hiring:

  1. Treat the candidate well by honestly considering his or her perspective.
  2. Both the “art” and the “science” of recruiting are constantly evolving and need to balanced.
  3. Hiring for attitude and training for skill can have a significant impact on the long-term costs of hiring.

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