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Talent Shortage or Recruiting Shortage?

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Posted by Matt Rivera

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October 10, 2013

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Is there really a talent shortage, or is there such an ongoing lack of recruiting resources, creativity and effectiveness that most companies are now accepting long hiring cycles and mediocre hires?

It’s hard to reconcile the numbers – millions of Americans out of work or discouraged from even looking for a job and millions of unfilled positions.

Here’s where I think at least one of the problems is: Accepting slow hiring cycles and taking too long to make decisions on hires is an artificial way to slow down hiring and save money. The company says, “see, we have open jobs, things are great,” but they can’t get anyone onboard because they don’t have enough recruiters, won’t pay enough and/or it takes so long the person is no longer interested, gets another job, etc. Which is fine with management in our new wait-and-see economy.

I got some of this insight from a recent post on HR Examiner where John Sumser posits that there’s not really a talent shortage, it’s just that companies want to get people on the cheap and technology is moving too quickly. It’s a good read and food for thought on talent shortages, especially in STEM areas.

It reminds me of Einstein’s quote: “A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels,” which was later paraphrased to the more commonly known, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” He was probably talking about atomic energy, but as we all know, the right talent can create energy, solve problems and take us to a higher level.

Which means that if we accept that this is the way it’s going to be from now on, and we stop trying to improve, then we will not move forward – which appears to be the consequence many companies are facing today.

Did this type of thinking do in a company like Blackberry? It’s hard not to think that they didn’t have the right talent to keep the company moving forward. And once the slide started, it was hard to stop because I’m sure more than one job candidate got asked by friends, “Why are you interviewing there, you know they are going out of business, right?”

So the solution is to keep moving forward. And for most companies that likely means investing in recruiting resources. The question is: Are you willing to step up and say there’s a problem and fight to change the way your company is currently doing things?

I also have to tell you that now’s the time to get things moving. We are in the fourth quarter and companies are thinking about next year, next year’s projects and the talent they do or do not have. I guarantee there will be continued movement of top performers into next year.

Maybe the place to start is by looking at your recruiting resources and making management aware of the shortage there, instead of focusing on any perceived talent shortages. As long as we make excuses and accept mediocre recruiting efforts, we will continue to have this artificial talent shortage created by a shortage of good recruiting.

For more information on how this can lead to a company’s continuing talent deficit (and how to get out of it), take a look at our eBook, The Rolling Talent Deficit: How Recruiting Falls Behind and How to Reverse This Trend.

Topics: Staff Management, HR Strategies, Recruiting Trends

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