Let this serve as an open letter to human resource professionals, hiring managers, recruiters and anyone involved with the interview process.
Last week’s jobs report clearly shows that the U.S. job market is on fire. We have the highest level of employment and the lowest level of unemployment on record. It is reported that there are more jobs available than job seekers. Nobody in the executive suite can deny that there is a brutal war for talent. In certain sectors, the battle to hire is fierce. There are shortages of talented professionals with specialized skills, such as computer engineers in Silicon Valley. Despite the lack of available candidates, companies are acting as if they are in a bubble. They still cling to their old-fashioned ways of hiring, which clearly do not work any longer.
Ridiculously long job descriptions, infuriating, glitchy and invasive applications, interview cycles that drag on for far too long, ghosting and lousy offers compound the problem. What I’d humbly suggest is that professionals involved with hiring should immediately do the following:
Give someone a chance—it’s as simple as that. There are so many good, smart, talented and motivated people that need a break. For a variety of reasons (mostly out of their control), these great people find themselves between jobs. Because they don’t neatly fit into the razor-thin silos that the companies demand of applicants, these experienced professionals are ignored and dismissed.
The vast majority of people in between jobs possess top-notch skills, have achieved success in their prior positions, demonstrated job stability and can offer supportive references. These qualifications don’t matter to the close-minded and bureaucratic gatekeepers. If the robot-screening tools kick out a résumé, the small-minded absolutists will conclude that the technology must be right. There are thousands of fantastic people who are left out in the cold. Their résumés don’t even make it to the hiring managers.
I understand that you have a job description with 73 bullet points that absolutely “need” to be met. It’s ridiculous to believe that if the new hire, Employee No. 32,003, doesn’t have all of the required skills listed in the job description, the company will close down tomorrow. Maybe I’m crazy, but 73—or even 23, for that matter—bullet points seem a little excessive. Perhaps, you’re asking for too much and don’t realize what’s going on in the marketplace?
If you stick with your old ways, jobs will stay open for so long that employees—in the division with an open head count—will grow frustrated with all of the extra work. If you won’t increase salaries for incoming candidates with the right skills, they won’t accept your offer and will go somewhere else or stay right where they are. Without the help from a new employee, the people in the group will become disgruntled, and since it’s a hot market, they’ll seek out new jobs. The best usually leave first, as they have plenty of offers and opportunities to choose from. This trend will further exacerbate matters.
In this current tight job market, you’re left with only a few options. It boils down to three choices:
1. Ease up on the over-the-top requirements to gain more candidates.
2. Offer significantly more money to entice people to join your company.
3. Give people a chance that don’t meet every single bullet point on the job description.