Yesterday I had the wonderful experience of attending a STEM collaboration workshop and the one question that kept running through my mind was, is it really a lack of talented applicants or are small businesses just inept at using technology to help us recruit the right people? Here are the three things that stuck.
Talent is a Myth
Talent is subjective at best and if you never actually see the applicant in action, then all you have is someone with the express goal of impressing you for 15 minutes. In order to know if someone will work with your organization and has the capacity to learn and grow, you are going to need more than 15 minutes.
Specifics won’t find your next star
Finding people is time intensive and it always will be because technology can’t guess potential. In the age of resume scanning and internet applications, we have to acknowledge that our recruiters are at a disadvantage. Our requirements are so strict, that there is no leeway for an almost right candidate who would be perfect for our organization. Our recruiting programs scan resumes for keywords not passion and passionate employees make invested employees. Those passionate employees don’t always want to play the keyword game and as a result we are losing talent.
Recruiting managers and recruiting agencies have to talk
As we grow, we start to pass the buck a little bit when it comes to finding staff. We like to give the assignment to a recruiting agency and let them throw candidates against the wall until one sticks. The problem is that recruiters don’t have a crystal ball; they don’t know what a successful candidate looks like anymore than a doctor knows the cure for cancer. They diagnose situations but putting your hiring manager in their corner and debriefing each other on why candidates weren’t successful helps them understand what a successful looks like. A great example I got from this workshop was to forward the resumes of successful candidates to recruiters, meet once a week and say ‘This is what we are looking for. Find more of these’.
A shallow resource pool looks like a little bit of sour grapes on our end. We have had such a good time with the current economy that we don’t want to put any effort into sourcing talent anymore. The sad thing is that we are the ones who lose out, because it’s our companies that suffer from no growth, no innovation and no chance.