Winning Companies Find New Ways to Source Talent
#evolve Magazine
July 04, 2022

Much has been made about the talent shortage that companies have faced as the COVID-era economy has begun to recover. And companies in many countries, including the United States, definitely have shortages.

But I would argue that our shortages don’t have as much to do with talent as with skills. There are plenty of people to work, but as organizations continue to hold on to traditional job requirements, the pool of talent diminishes. My sense is that many of the shortages arise when you are trying to find a specific type of person that fits your culture, will work for the perks and pay you are offering, at the time, location and schedule you want them to work.

There are definitely skill gaps in every sector and likely in every organization. This is the result of the growth and momentum we had experienced before COVID, which turned out a lot of great results and gave people and organizations little incentive to change or reskill.

Things seemed to be working well. And, as humans, we are more OK with irrita- tions at work when things are going well overall. Therefore, there wasn’t enough discomfort to help most organizations do the work to grow their people’s skills fast enough to deliver on the current and future needs of their organization. In these cases, there are definite skill- based talent shortages.

Take the role of a manager. Many orga- nizations might desire that particular role to come with 15 years of experience in the same industry to even be consid- ered. We refer to these ideals as the job requirements. However, what evidence do we really have that 15 is the magical number? If that same organization counted college of four years plus 11 years of on-the-job experience, you’d automati- cally have a larger pool of possible candidates.

This brings me to what companies are doing to adapt and find new ways of sourcing candidates to fill crucial roles and staff key projects.




“You don’t have to be everything to every person, but you have to be something to some people if you are going to get them to join your company. Good people want to work with other good people on their way to becoming great. We tend to complicate an otherwise very simple process by how we find, hire and grow our employees.”




Improving the Overall Worker Experience

This could be better pay, more flexibility on where and when you work, better-defined learning opportunities, and more recognition of the efforts people give in order to make the organization successful.

You don’t have to be everything to every person, but you have to be something to some people if you are going to get them to join your company. Good people want to work with other good people on their way to becoming great. We tend to complicate an otherwise very simple process by how we find, hire and grow our employees.


Making the Employee Experience More Human

When you ask a candidate about what they want from a work experience, it is usually limited to things related to being “on the job.” Yet, that person has a life outside of the job and those companies that can incorporate more of the human being into the job have a better chance of getting them to join.

A simple example: If you are a pet lover, can you bring your dog to the office? That is, if you even have to come to an office at all? Perhaps some candidates would prefer to have a team meeting at the dog park — and now the organization must decide the boundaries of work and life.


Hiring Good People Now, Worrying About the Job Later

If you know what it takes to be successful in your company, hire people based on that and help them grow any missing skills. Stop hiring for one position and hire for the potential of what they can do for you in the broader sense. I hate to point this out, but the more we target a specific person with a specific profile, the more likely we are to miss out on a huge number of people who might work harder and better because you took a chance on them.


Making Everyone a Recruiter

I met a person in Starbucks a month ago, and the conversation started out like any other conversation. Then she mentioned a few things that caught my attention. She was an animal lover, a recent college graduate who had majored in Feminism, and had a strong interest in exploring how things worked and were changed.

To me, these characteristics stood out and seemed like a great investment. Two weeks later she interviewed for an internship with us and will start in April as a full-time research associate. Had I only been looking through the job description, I would have missed someone with the inherent skill, drive and interests to help us.

The point is: Get everyone involved more in bringing great people into your organization. After all, if your employees don’t love where they work, you need to fix that before focusing on bringing more and more people in. Because the employees you have now likely won’t stay.

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