I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the “skills” gap” that is preventing employers from hiring qualified workers. Employers have jobs but they don’t have people to fill them. I don’t believe the skills gap plays a large role in the the problem of high unemployment but I think organizations spend too much time focusing on finding a narrow of a skill set.
If you are having trouble filling a position, think about the skill set necessary to be successful in the job and in the company. What core skills are or should be universal throughout the company ? What skill sets will help fulfill the long term strategy?
In other words: hire for the long term!
Stop writing up 10 paragraph job descriptions with twenty three extremely specific job requirements. Take a look at the job and really boil it down to what is essential. Then think about how that role could change in the next year, two, or three and look for that simplified skill set.
There are two (at a minimum) great benefits to this idea:
1. Depending on the job and industry it may take a long time to find a fit for that long list of requirements but it is easier to find someone with essential skills, the right outlook and team fit. Look at New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, he played college basketball initially. If NFL scouts discarded anyone who didn’t have four years of high school and four years of college football experience, the Saints would have missed a key part of their 2011 team.
2. You will attract top talent. Powerhouse companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon can attract top talent because they have a vision and strategy that is farther in the horizon then making their quarterly numbers. They have visions that stretch years into the future. From a candidate perspective this can be a mind altering experience. Not many companies can outline their strategy and vision ten years down the road and tie that back to day-to-day work.
So what is holding you back from trying this tomorrow at work?
You may hear that this strategy is too time consuming or people may balk at the possible extra time and money required to bring someone up to speed. Hiring and training employee’s is the cost of doing business. If you treat your employees right and continue to offer them interesting and challenging work, they will stay with the company. As for the argument that it is too time consuming to widen your search pool, I would respond by asking how much time and money you are wasting leaving a position open for a year?
Next time you are looking at your open requisition report and see jobs entering that “open for too long” zone, stop and think about what is required for that position, is all of that really necessary? Just ask yourself that and really think about it… you may be surprised how unnecessary some of those requirements are.
- Why I Won’t Hire You [Hiring] (lifehacker.com)
- There’s no such thing as the perfect job candidate (sfgate.com)