Talent Shortage: Tightening Budgets Require Smart Hiring

Posted on January 4, 2007. Filed under: Blog--All categories, Management development, Staff selection |

The tightening labor market is forcing companies to be smarter in their hiring processes. Getting the right person into the right job is more important now than ever before. Why? Because according to firms that study labor-market trends, there is a shortage of qualified individuals to fill those vacant jobs–and hiring the wrong person for the job is expensive.

In the most recent issue of Workforce, the article “An Ever-Changing Workforce Management Landscape” discusses trends in the labor field. In that article, Mark Mehler, co-founder of CareerXroads, a recruiting technology consulting firm, says:

The talent shortage, together with a tightening labor market, is forcing organizations to be more accountable for their recruiting dollars and more aggressive about finding top people. As recruiters emphasize “active sourcing,” tapping into as many avenues as possible to find strong candidates, corporate executives are demanding evidence that their work is paying off.

The pressure to find the right person for the job makes the human resources’ department job challenging, especially when the company is growing quickly and roles and responsibilities are shifting.

Too frequently job descriptions are written to encompass the idealized view of the job, not the reality of what it takes to do the job. Likewise, advertisements placed for talent for those jobs include appropriate key words to fit the job description–without taking into account what sort of behaviors and attitudes the job will reward. There is hope: job benchmarking is a method of determining exactly what is required of the job.

Benchmarking a job is a process through which stakeholders in the position (those who have held the job previously, perform it well now, and supervise that position) identify the key accountabilities required by the job. The key accountabilities are then used to determine the behaviors and attitudes the job rewards. In other words, we determine what the job needs to be performed optimally rather than looking at just the tasks that will be performed by the person holding that job. The result: an objective view of what’s required in the performance of the job.

Too frequently, staff selection is based on a compiled list of what would be nice to have in the job in terms of skills, ability, and knowledge. When candidates go through the interview process, often their appearance, tone of voice, professional demeanor, and ability to speak well under pressure gives a skewed perception of their actual ability or fit for the job. I’ve heard some HR directors say that even though the person didn’t look so great on paper, he or she was really nice in the interview. And that was the basis for the hiring decision. Yikes.

Benchmarking lessens the influence of the person personally and focuses the hiring choice on actual suitability to the requirements of the position. That might seem a bit cold and give the impression that candidates are reduced to numbers rather than who they are as people. But too many companies are reeling from bad hiring decisions because subjective data was used in the hiring process. Developing a job benchmark, using it to write a job description and advertisement, and then using it to screen candidates is proven to increase retention and satisfaction–both for candidates and their employers.

Would you like to find out more about how benchmarking jobs in your company can improve your hiring and retention? Click on the Assessments and Benchmark link to the right and the Benchmark link above to read a bit more about the process; then contact me for more information. I’ll be happy to help!


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