Employers across the country are wondering and asking one key question – Where has all the great talent gone? Why is it so difficult to find the best hires in nearly all business sectors, from manufacturing to professional services, when the US Unemployment Rate is still above 7%?

CEO’s who describe the skilled job candidate shortage plaguing their companies sound like the Ancient Mariner: Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink!

One reason is that employers have not adapted to the new landscape of the labor market. Early in the recession, when millions of people were being laid off, it was reasonably easy to find an individual seeking employment that had the appropriate experience and skills required for a position. Now that a few years have passed, many unemployed candidates have been out of work for an extended period of time.

The better and more desirable people with the best skill sets and work experience are employed and are not desperate for a new job. Interestingly, the long-term unemployed make up more than 38% of the jobless market today.

The take-away for employers with job openings is to recognize that the candidate market has changed. Demand and competition for talent has increased substantially. To be competitive, employers will have to re-evaluate both the job fit requirements and the overall compensation package. Are employers asking job candidates to do too much work and paying too little?

Additionally, why are new college graduates not finding jobs as quickly as they have in the past? Most companies have slashed and burned their Training and Staff Development Departments during the economic downturn. Companies have not been hiring new college grads simply because training and mentoring isn’t available. Employees and managers are doing more work and have less time to do it. Employers are begging for talented individuals with 3+ years’ experience who can hit the ground running. Smart, competitive companies are beginning to make the time to train and mentor. This can be costly, but the payback is substantial.

If the traditional recruitment methods are not working, employers should consider the following suggestions:

1. Develop a recruitment strategy with a timeline. Write creative ads that draw candidates to your doorstep. Employers need to do their homework and evaluate which job boards are worth spending their recruitment dollars.

2. Partner with universities and community colleges. Companies need to go to these institutions personally and make a case for their company being the best place for the school’s top graduates. Connect and network with deans, professors, and placement staff to convince them of the company’s assets, such as its culture, opportunities for growth and bright future. Just posting job openings on university career boards or participating in college job fairs no longer guarantees the candidate of your dreams.

3. Pay current employees for referrals. Some employers cringe at this thought but keep in mind, it’s much cheaper than running multiple ads or paying recruitment fees.

4. Use your six degrees of separation. Company leaders never know who could be in their extended networking circle that might be a great fit for a job in the company. After all, social networking as a premiere recruiting strategy didn’t start with LinkedIn or Facebook.

The Chicago Family Business Council is a primary example of where you can begin to network. Go beyond your Forum Members – put the word out to all of the CFBC members when filling positions.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Mary Deibert

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This entry was posted in Blog and tagged . Posted on December 2nd, 2013 by liz