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There’s a pandemic! Why are our jobs hard to fill?

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There were 9 million workers in the bottom 40% of wage earners out of work at the end of June 2020 as well as 3.3 million workers in the top 40% of wage earners. In September 2020 the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment rate fell to 8.4% from a high of 14.7% a few months earlier. Yet that is over 100% worse than the 3.5% it was in December 2019. Hiring Lab.org reported that job postings for high-wage occupations are trending 28% below last year at the same time versus a 12% reduction for lower-wage occupations. Why are our jobs hard to fill?

Are you selling your company?

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!

Who is writing the job descriptions?

If HR writes your job descriptions, 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.

Are you sharing salary information?

Glassdoor 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. Your jobs are hard to fill because you are  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.

How smooth is your 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. In these pandemic days of remote work, scheduling multiple one hour interviews via Zoom or Skype buys you a little extra time and gives the candidate flexibility to not infringe on their current work too dramatically. If scheduling gets delayed or interrupted, communicate your apologies to the candidate. Treat their time as valuable as yours. Niceness counts and it can be as simple as a one line email.

Our clients are hiring, but all interviewing is remote and candidates are starting work remotely as well. Losing the in-person impression makes many other aspects of the job search more important. Candidates and clients are relying more on social media for the information they aren’t getting in person. Spruce up the less obvious aspects of your hiring process and it will pay off in this odd, pandemic driven market we are in. Jobs hard to fill could necessitate professional recruiting help, too.

Contact the Executive Recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates.

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