Archive for April, 2011

Creating a MATCH between the Opportunity and the Candidate

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Finding a “Successful Hire” among Few “Qualified” Candidates

With many unemployed who want to work and companies receiving fewer qualified applicants, job seekers and companies must be creative to find a match. A “successful hire”—someone who can meet the job specification over a period of time, often within six months of hire—will otherwise remain elusive.

Companies that innovate and streamline their hiring practices may be more successful in matchmaking than those that don’t. Here are some actions worth considering:

  • First, ramp up your recruiting. Good recruiters are resourceful and will pre-qualify serious candidates.
  • Engage current employees with professional development that includes succession and career planning. Don’t lose the qualified employees you already have to competitors that offer advancement and challenging assignments.
  • Partner with your local community and technical colleges to develop programs that attract entry-level candidates.
  • Hire for “fit” and train for skills and knowledge. Interview candidates for key abilities, e.g. customer service, ability to learn and adaptability.
  • Use internal subject matter experts (SMEs) to bring new hires up to speed on knowledge specific to your organization.
  • Consider hiring the long term unemployed. In the long run, helping a long term unemployed person reenter the workforce can be beneficial for the company. He/she is likely to be more loyal to the company when the economy makes a full recovery.
  • Assess the leadership within your organization. The number one reason an employee “leaves” his/her company is not for pay, time off, or benefits; it’s the relationship with his/her direct supervisor. Does the current employee morale indicate leadership deficiencies? Maybe it’s time to switch things up.
  • Candidates Need to Change Too

    Candidates seeking to be marketable as the economy changes need to rethink their techniques and mindsets as well. As a candidate are you ready to:

  • Take a look at industry data. Can you get some experience in the sectors that are hiring?
  • Start fresh and develop know-how in a new area of expertise? With the skills and knowledge you already have, you should be able to prove yourself more quickly than someone starting with no previous work experience.
  • Train for licensures or certificates that are important in the sectors that are hiring? Going back to school is a great idea. However, if it takes too long the job market could shift yet again. If you are investing time and money, choose studies that will be in high demand and have a longer return for your investment. It makes no sense to spend a pile of cash and still be unemployed with student loan debt.
  • Utilize a career coach to help you sort through these options. Look for a good match personally and professionally when selecting a coach. A word of caution: coaches that are aligned with for-profit schools and universities are often paid based on the number of students who enroll – they may not have your best interest in mind.

    What can you do to create a MATCH?

    In this volatile job market, those who have remained employed or landed quickly are those who were willing to do different things, who continued to seek out training and education and who easily adapted to change. Savvy employees and job seekers know that the employment landscape is perpetually shifting and that the rate of change is increasing. Companies that have unfilled positions are looking for “qualified” candidates not just a warm body. An employment professional can educate you about current labor statistics and help you to identify your skills, matching them to available opportunities. You will have a professional guide to help you make informed decisions that can lead not only to employment in the short term but to help set your course for career success in the long term.

    Call me (801) 519-9144 if I can help or answer any questions.

    Mary Cosgrove – What’s Working Well?® LLC. mary@whatworkingwell.com

  • Current Employment Statistics: Is there a match between Job Openings and Job Seekers

    Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

    Truth: Companies have started to hire again and, even with high unemployment, they are not finding “qualified” candidates.
    Anecdotally, my recruiter colleagues are telling me it’s harder to fill positions than it was five or six months ago. They have noticed a difference even from January to March of this year. Survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offer insight about the relationship between job openings and job seekers.

    Professional and business services hired the most employees in January (775,000). These sectors reported among the highest number of open jobs (494,000) at the end of the month.

    Education and health services had the highest numbers of job openings in January at 498,000. Despite the large number of job openings, only 434,000 employees were hired.

    Based on its size government also had a relatively high number of open jobs at the end of January, despite its low job openings rate.

    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 11, 2011, “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey
    Highlights” January 2011.

    The survey indicates that in some sectors, the number of job openings each month that remain unfilled is increasing. Why haven’t these jobs been filled? This is what I surmise:

    Unemployment Data Tells a Story

    On the data/numeric side:

    Business has had a plethora of job applicants over the last two years. For example, if a company received 150 job applications, often there would be 3–5 qualified (could do the job) candidates from which to pick.

    When the recession began (December 2007), the number of “unemployed persons per job opening” was 1.8. When the recession ended (June 2009), the number was 6.1

    The “unemployed persons per job opening” ratio has trended downward since the end of the recession, dropping to 5.0 in January 2011. (Source BLS)

    Qualified Applicants Count, Not ALL Applicants Count

    On the “qualified applicant” side:

    ”Qualified” is a loaded word. I think there are at least three areas to consider:

    First and foremost, a “qualified” applicant has the skills, knowledge and abilities to perform the job successfully with minimal training.

    Additionally, a “qualified” applicant has the motivation and self-management to perform the job successfully.

    Third, the “qualified” applicant is a “good fit” with the organization. This can mean different things to different companies and is difficult to quantify.

    Generally, “good fit” qualities include:
    o Willingness to work within the organization’s culture either alone or for a micromanaging boss.
    o Age, gender, race, religion (all the legal stuff)
    o Willingness to relocate or travel frequently
    o Flexibility (Few or no accommodation(s) for work/family issues)
    o Willingness to work part time

    What my analysis indicates is that the ratio of unemployed persons per job opening is misleading—most applicants never reach “qualified” status.