Throughout the last 19 years of my Human Resources career, I have regularly asked executive management and middle managers how their Human Resources department can better serve them and provide value. I ask the question usually as a yearly check-up of the health of HR in the organization. Across multiple industries and during that entire timeframe, the number one answer is consistently improvement of talent acquisition. It is usually one of Executive Management’s top concerns overall. Given the multitude and wide variety of pressing concerns that executive managers have, the answer underscores the importance of talent acquisition in any organization.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Unemployment overall is at 3.5% for September 2019,the lowest monthly rate so far in 2019. The 2019 annual average through September is at 3.7%.The last time the average annual unemployment rate was lower than 3.7% was in 1969 when it was 3.6%. In addition to extremely low levels of unemployment, a skills gap has emerged in the U.S. In 2019, PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted their 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey. The survey noted that the skills gap is a pain point for CEOs, with 55% stating that the skills gap was impeding innovation and 47% stating it impacted quality standards and customer experience.
In April 2018, Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data determined that Millennials make up the majority of the workforce (35%+) since 2016.Gen Z will also be entering the workforce en masse over the next few years.Overall, these younger generations use technology differently than Gen X and Boomers.For these younger generations, voicemail is antiquated, phone calls are avoided, and attention span has drastically diminished.With regard to voice mail, many don’t even bother setting up voice mail on their cell phones.In addition, due to the expectation of mobility they have experienced for most if not all their lives, they now expect work to be mobile and look to avoid being tied to a desk or 9-5 work schedule.
In sum: we currently have a shortage of available workers. Of the workers available, an even smaller subset has the skills needed in our economy.The expectations, work habits, and communication styles of the workers that are available and skilled have changed drastically over the last 10 years or so.Executive managers, middle managers, and Human Resources and Talent Acquisition professionals must embrace and leverage HR technology that reaches the talent they need in the manner and methods that talent wishes to be reached if they expect to succeed in the talent acquisition arena.
All that being said, I have personally witnessed resistance to using technology in progressive ways during the talent acquisition process. As recently as 2017 a recruiter I worked with told me they “didn’t think it was important to be on LinkedIn”. A member of executive management was upset that HR had transitioned to online/virtual offer letters versus one with a pen signature because they thought it would be too impersonal. And I cringed when reading in a LinkedIn networking group as recently as last month that a recruiter was upset that a candidate had not setup their voicemail so the recruiter couldn’t leave them a voice mail, and that “if they really wanted the job they should setup their voice mail”.
Do you want to necessarily hire someone who desperately needs a job, or do you want to hire someone that you desperately want to work for you?If you answer the latter, attitudes must shift, and our talent acquisition technology must be optimized accordingly
These anecdotes illustrate the great divide between what talent is doing and what those seeking talent are doing. Linked in currently has over 645+ million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. After LinkedIn went public in 2011 it increased its user base from 160 million to 400 million in.In 2017, it crossed the half a billion mark. It has radically transformed the talent acquisition landscape and continues to innovate and find ways to attract more users and help talent acquisition professionals reach qualified talent. Recruiters who successfully leverage LinkedIn provide a competitive advantage to their company.
Many Applicant Tracking Systems have implemented integrated texting capabilities in order to reach many candidates via the method that they prefer:texting. Yet even younger managers that I have worked with are resistant to texting candidates while at the same time desperate to make a hire.
Most ATS will also have some method of tracking candidate drop-off, or how many candidates do not finish the application process. Results: massive drop off statistics for any company that has a lengthy or cumbersome application process.In the short attention span world, your ATS must grab talent quickly and simply or they will move on to the next company. Boolean searches in LinkedIn and Google will target the right candidates quickly and efficiently. And Artificial Intelligence in many ATS quickly scan resumes and identify the best candidates.Lastly, your ATS must also be completely mobile-friendly, as most job seekers look for and apply to jobs via their mobile phone.
In sum, we must reach candidates where they live and communicate how they prefer to communicate in order to compete in today’s tight labor market. Do you want to necessarily hire someone who desperately needs a job, or do you want to hire someone that you desperately want to work for you? If you answer the latter, attitudes must shift, and our talent acquisition technology must be optimized accordingly.It is a job seeker’s market.