talent shortage


Manpower Group reports that 54% of companies experienced a talent shortage in 2019 – the highest in over a decade. Some of this talent shortage is due to workers not keeping up with changing skill sets and emerging technologies. A mismatch between available candidates and open positions. Some of this talent shortage is due to company’s not matching what they offer in benefits, education, flexibility and, yes, pay, to the changing wants and desires of different generations of workers. How can your firm successfully compete for those candidates that do match your needs?

Sell Your Company

No, don’t put the entire company on the market. Make sure your website does the best possible job of communicating why a candidate would want to work for you. Is it attractive? Up-to-date? Is there a career page? Even for small companies with one or two openings, listing them on the website is critical for attracting candidates and combating your talent shortage. Do you have personal profiles of your leadership? Yes, candidates can go on LinkedIn to research backgrounds but your website is your chance to manage those profiles in a more attractive way. Look at your website with a critical eye to determine if it is presenting your firm as an exciting, interesting, dynamic place to work. If not, fix it!

Job Description

If HR writes your job description, candidates will know it. HR can provide a framework and information about how to include company information, but the hiring manager has to provide the detail to make the job description come alive. If there is some flexibility in the need, make that clear in the job description. Sometimes being too specific causes candidates to self-eliminate. Work on the job title. A descriptive title will get more response. Most job boards are driven by title.


Glassdoor.com reports that 67% of job seekers want to see salary information in job posts. Only 27% of companies disclose salary information publicly and 34% think posting salary information can harm their negotiating position during the hiring process. According to LinkedIn another 75% are concerned about causing salary disputes with existing employees. Good grief! If your salaries are out of whack, fix them. You are hurting your ability to hire by underpaying your current employees and probably overworking them as well since you can’t attract any new hires at the salary you want to offer! Sharing fair compensation is the answer to attracting more job seekers and fixing your talent shortage.

Hiring Process

Careerbuilder says 78% of employers believe they set clear expectations and communicate well during the hiring process but only 47% of job seekers feel the same. Before you start recruiting, determine your ideal timeline. If your hiring need is immediate, your responsiveness to good candidates should be the same. If you are looking for a start date for a new employee in six months, there are ways to slow down the process without alienating the candidates.

Respond immediately to good resumes via email. “Your background looks like a good match for our opening. Do you have time to talk next week at 1 on Tuesday or 5 on Wednesday?” Pushing out the initial conversation by a week doesn’t alienate the candidate but does buy you a little extra time. Offering availability during lunchtime or the end of the day recognizes the confidentiality candidates need to protect.

Asking a candidate to interview in person is a big deal. If you are a new manager, and need to “shop” a bit to get a feel for the range of skills that are available, try to schedule just a one hour interview with you initially. Recognize that their time is as valuable as yours. If multiple in-person interviews are required, make the timing as convenient as possible for the candidate’s schedule. Remember unemployment is below 4%, it is a job seeker’s market! If you have two or three candidates you are interested in, but are having a delay in scheduling them, stay in touch. “A number of people you need to meet are attending our national sales meeting next week. We’d like to schedule you two weeks after that meeting so you get the full attention of our staff. What half-day works best for you, and we will make it work.”

Experiencing a talent shortage right now? Contact the Executive Recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates.

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