Business leaders are increasingly concerned with how they will fill vacant roles in their organizations.
“The changing landscape around enforcement of immigration laws makes them concerned and nervous,” said Richard Burke, CEO of Envoy Global Inc., a global workforce management software company specializing in immigration services based in Chicago.
In a recent “Immigration Trends Report” from Envoy, employers indicated that they are boosting efforts to hire foreign national talent to get work completed. In 2017, 63 percent said sourcing these employees is very or extremely important to their talent strategy; this year, 70 percent felt the same sentiment. Further, 28 percent increased staff to aid in their talent attraction efforts.
Burke said that many of Envoy’s customers prefer to hire U.S.-born talent because doing so is easier with fewer transactional costs and less worry about compliance. However, many experts say there aren’t enough employees present in the United States to fill those roles. Many companies estimate about 1 million technology-related jobs in the U.S. could remain empty in 2020, so companies will need to consider nontraditional engineers who might lack degrees, according to a 2016 TechCrunch article. Business leaders might also turn to other methods of finding talent, such as adjusting business practices or even location. Envoy’s report found that 26 percent of businesses surveyed had to delay projects, and 22 percent relocated work overseas. “That’s not really in anyone’s interest,” Burke said. Employers want to keep the jobs local and contribute to GDP growth — all things the current administration wants — but they’re making it hard for employers by not allowing to hire a talented group of individuals, he said.
Without the right talent pool, business could struggle, said David Morgan, president of the information technology and engineering vertical at Addison Group, a staffing and job search firm based in Chicago. When his clients can’t find their necessary talent locally, they could take business overseas where there are enough people to fill open roles, leading to job loss in the U.S.
As a member of TechServe Alliance, Morgan has focused on the issue of H-1B availability. “We first of all have a problem with the number of visas that are even currently allowed,” he said.
In fiscal 2017, there were 236,000 H-1B visas available, which will dwindle to 85,000 for fiscal 2019. Even if the number of these visas currently allowed tripled, supply still would not meet demand, Morgan said. He added that STEM education is important to improve the supply of highly educated talent over time, but the U.S. still needs a short-term fix to help with demand, which he said is only going to continue increasing.
Similarly, crackdowns on legal and illegal immigration, as well as reductions in refugee admittance, mean fewer immigrants of all skill levels will enter or remain in the U.S. “There’s been a dramatic reduction in regulation in other areas, and the one exception has been immigration,” Burke said. His customers consist of U.S.-based employers seeking tech talent; Burke said these business leaders say they understand security and H-1B abuse are issues, though these problems are the exception and not the norm in immigration practices. Fixes to these issues include penalizing employers that lack proper background checks and abuse the system, while improving government background checks “so those who are willing to comply can hire the necessary foreign national talent, address the abuse concern and address the security concern.”
Lauren Dixon is a senior editor at Talent Economy. To comment, email email@example.com.
The tight labor market has employers scrambling to find skilled talent. According to a 2016 ManpowerGroup survey, 40 percent of employers report there is a talent shortage.
According to Will Staney, founder and principal consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies LLC, a recruitment consulting firm based in Austin, Texas, the previous mindset of the employer-employee relationship was that the employee should be grateful to be employed. This relationship has now shifted to a more candidate-driven market.
“It’s not hard to find people anymore. The biggest challenge in recruiting is actually getting them to the table,” Staney said. When competition is fierce in this area, recruiters must get creative in how they capture the attention of the talent they hope to recruit.
“I think you have to do whatever you have to do and you have to get creative and think outside of traditional ways of attracting people to get attention,” Staney said. Posting a job on a job board where everyone else is won’t effectively cut through the noise of other posts. It’s no longer enough to post a job and hope people apply. “The best solutions come when you’re really thinking intentionally and stepping in the shoes of your potential candidates and thinking like how would I want to be approached?”
Here are nine creative ways to recruit talent:
- Share the organization’s story and culture.
The biggest way to attract talent in this economy is to differentiate the company as an employer and to tell the organization’s story, Staney said. Recruiting is more of a multichannel marketing approach these days, where companies use employee stories to find talent that fits their cultures.
- Reach talent when they’re most frustrated with their current work situation.
When Staney worked at Glassdoor, the company had a hard time finding technical talent. With many commuters in Silicon Valley, recruiters at Glassdoor thought they could reach commuters while traveling. The company put a large sign on their office, saying, “Tired of the commute? We’re hiring right here,” Staney recalled. Also, at a ferry and bus station, the company hired a barista truck to hand out free lattes and gourmet coffee, featuring sleeves that said they’re hiring.
- Find candidates that seek out what the company is looking for.
Staney shared other solutions from companies such as Google. If a coder went searching on Google for a coding language, they saw a popup saying, “You are speaking our language. Up for a challenge?” Then, coders could participate in a game called the Foo Bar Challenge. After reaching a certain level, they received a call from a Google recruiter.
Other companies hide recruiting messaging in the coding of their websites. People who look for the source code can sometimes see hidden messages that say something like, “We love people who look under the hood,” prompting the right talent to apply.
- Leverage video content.
Video dominates the internet today. In early 2017, people watched more than 1 billion hours of video per day on YouTube, according to The Wall Street Journal.
When Staney worked at software company VMware in 2009, he sent Flip Video cameras out with recruiters to take video with hiring managers, who would talk about their teams and show executives and recruiters, providing a behind-the-scenes peek into the company.
“I wouldn’t say that’s super creative now, but you’d be surprised how many companies still aren’t utilizing video the way they could,” Staney said. Live video is also a great platform for this mission, especially if hopeful candidates can ask questions and learn more about the job.
- Be freelancer friendly.
“If a company really wants access to more talent, especially when there’s so much talent scarcity out there, they really need to appear to be, or they need to be freelance friendly,” said Jim Stroud, global head of sourcing and recruiting strategies at Randstad Sourceright, a human resources advisory based in Atlanta. Scarcity of talent means turning to alternative forms of work, such as gig work.
One challenge of gig work, however, is when workers receive their pay. Stroud talked about an application called DailyPay, which adds into the existing payroll system at companies and allows for people to receive their paycheck ahead of the scheduled time. If a company can pay workers every day, that might be a draw for gig workers.
Another company called Hyr makes it easy for companies and workers to match up based on when the worker is available. Rather than apply for specific jobs, people can apply for the shifts that work with their schedules, he said.
- Consult other internal experts.
“When you think about the experience of a candidate, it’s not dissimilar to that of a customer,” said Jim Conti, people lead at dscout Inc., a consumer research software company based in Chicago. He shared that some of his success comes from looking internally for subject matter experts, such as sales and marketing teams, to understand the software they use for customer relationship development. Although the language in their tools will be customer-focused, simply substituting “lead” for “candidate” will make the technology useful.
- Be authentic.
There will always be a new tool that claims to reinvent the world for recruiters. Some of these are useful, but successfully finding the right talent comes down to authenticity, Conti said.
Recruiters should consider the resistance that candidates could bring up. Especially if a company lacks strong ratings employer ratings on Glassdoor, the company must acknowledge that and think critically about where the commentary is coming from and then consider how to engage with a candidate about that.
Conti said he’s seen an insurance company do well by acknowledging that it’s not necessarily a super exciting industry; young people, for instance, may not dream of being an insurance agent when they grow up. The company therefore played off of that sentiment by going out of its way to share how it makes work fun.
- Stay on the radar of desired talent.
Where does the desired talent spend time online? asked Krisi Rossi O’Donnell, chief recruiting officer at LaSalle Network Inc., a staffing, recruiting and culture advisory based in Chicago. She said her company uses Twitter to update followers on what’s happening in their markets. Through accounts for various industries, such as accounting and finance, LaSalle pushes out stories for those audiences to show that the company is up to date on news. This allows recruiting messages to be in prospective talent’s preferred form of communication.
- Stay rooted in relationships.
Ultimately, recruiting is getting back to its relationship-driven roots. The past 10 years or so have been very transactional, Proactive Talent Strategies’ Staney said, but the future will involve automation of the administrative parts of recruiting, so recruiters can have more time to spend on networking and building relationships.
“The future of finding talent is we won’t need to find it anymore,” Staney said. The future is in using the data and technology that’s available to create more human experiences.
Building those relationships is important to find what candidates seek in a job, said LaSalle Network’s O’Donnell. Because people are motivated to seek new employment for different reasons, recruiters must get to know them before calling with job opportunities.
Lauren Dixon is an associate editor at Talent Economy. To comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Using technology in the hiring process has helped companies manage high applicant volume and alleviate unconscious bias in managers’ decision-making. However, humans still ultimately decide who to hire, making technology’s role imperfect while paving the way for additional challenges leaders need to grapple with.
This challenge comes at a time when the hiring process is more automated than ever, according to a 2015 survey from Allegis Group Inc., a group of companies devoted to staffing and recruitment services. The survey found that 71 percent of respondents said the hiring process is more automated than before, a trend that 60 percent of the survey’s respondents said has created additional unintended consequences as a result.
Additionally, 54 percent of respondents said they’ve had more trouble in judging cultural fit, 46 percent said they’ve seen greater difficulty in judging candidates’ skills and 33 percent said they’ve found that their recruiting process has slowed with automation.
“Automation is crucial in terms of streamlining processes and handling repetitive, data-intensive tasks, but it fails to interpret a person’s qualities and potential,” said Kelly Van Aken, director of experience and technology solutions at Aerotek, a unit of Allegis Group. Therefore, it’s crucial to have an interactive, personal relationship between hiring manager and job candidate, she said.
But bias in hiring begins long before technology is able to play a significant role, and it remains limited as the process moves along, with the final decision often coming down to a manger’s gut feeling.
To be sure, tools such as Textio can help people write job descriptions to strip out overly masculine or feminine language in initial job descriptions, something that has proven to be a problem in the conventional hiring process. But this isn’t a catchall solution, either.
“You can’t just solve a lot of that unconscious bias with technology. There’s definitely those human interactions,” said Fara Rives, director of product development at Allegis Global Solutions. Humans must run these tools and make changes based on suggestions from the technology. Also, recruiters still need to screen first-round candidates, and hiring managers still need to meet with their potential employees before making a job offer.
Slowly but surely, hiring is becoming more objective and fair, Rives said. “I do think [technology is] helping, and I think awareness is a big piece of that.”
Training for Change
Training is a way to build awareness of this problem. Rives said Allegis did unconscious bias training for a financial services client, leading to an 87 percent diverse slate of candidates, up from 36 percent prior to training. And much of this diversity carried through to hires, she said.
Within the hiring process comes the nuanced methods of identifying cultural fit. Unconscious biases influence who we think will be successful in a role based on what they look like, said Gabriela Burlacu, human capital management researcher at SAP SuccessFactors, a human capital management software company. If someone successfully completed the role previously, for instance, we expect the next hire to look the same.
Training can help here as well, Burlacu said. Interviewers should understand how to push past biases to identify performance and potential; this doesn’t require a sophisticated technology. A list of competencies and other factors of success in the job should be front and center for those interviewing a candidate. An interview guide based on the role’s required skills can help hiring managers rely less on gut feel, she said.
Nevertheless, bias in hiring is just one potential problem area. Companies can set targets of diversity in the candidate pool and then bring on a more diverse group of hires than the previous year, but internal barriers remain, pushing them out, Burlacu said.
Performance management processes come with biases as well, Burlacu said, citing a study from Stanford researchers that found that male and female managers both tend to be bad at managing the performance of women. For instance, developmental feedback for men tends to be more straightforward and linked more closely to business outcomes.
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This is an area of people management where technology can help, Burlacu said, but it’s ultimately up to the people involved to make the necessary culture changes.
Technology can shed light on flaws and biases in our management systems, point people to the best hire and help to effectively manage them, all leading to a more successful, productive workforce.
“People will start realizing that their own errors in human judgment have actually been holding the organization back,” Burlacu said.
Lauren Dixon is an associate editor at Talent Economy. To comment, email email@example.com.
Disparities between job titles and job tasks could pose challenges for companies and employees. For instance, if two employees do the same work but hold different titles, it can create organizational confusion as to who is responsible for what tasks.
“More importantly,” said Jim Hudner, managing director in the Boston office of Pearl Meyer LLC, a compensation consulting firm based in New York, “if the different titles result in differences in how each position is paid, this could create pay equity issues for the employer.”
In the modern, global workplace, where job titles have grown to become more creative and, in some instances, ambiguous, are they still the most accurate way to indicate what jobs employees perform?
Skills vs. Titles
Employers are beginning to shift the focus from job titles to skills, said Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at applicant tracking firm iCIMS. “Job titles are typically such few words that can carry a lot of weight, but job titles aren’t the end-all, be-all in today’s modern job market,” she said.
Focusing on the skills needed for a position, rather than just relying on the job title, is a shift that benefits both employers and job seekers. “This level of transparency allows job seekers to have a greater understanding for the job they are interested in and can help them decide whether or not they are qualified and should apply,” Vitale said. As a result, employers will receive best-fit candidates.
Categorizing jobs by skills and proficiencies will democratize the job market so people who lack certain titles will gain necessary experience to move up their career ladders, said Rick Devine, CEO of TalentSky Inc., a career experience network platform based in San Francisco.
“Right now, visibility in the employment system is based upon titles” and the company associated with it, he said. When candidates seek a new job with a certain title, their applications can easily be passed over because they lack that same title. Thus, they never get a chance to perform the job in the first place.
“I feel that titles are vessels. We need to articulate what’s in there,” Devine added. Titles need to be broken down into skills and proficiencies involved. By doing so, current employees can see available paths for promotion internally and understand what they need in order to develop themselves into a new role. Most workers would prefer to stay in the company where they are, as changing employers can be risky.
But, “if you can’t see it, then it feels hopeless,” Devine said. It’s the job of employers to provide opportunity for people, which means providing that development and hope for new roles.
However, job titles still matter to people, and receiving a new title has a “psychological impact” on employees, who will feel that management recognizes their efforts, said Yasmin Sahami, talent acquisition manager at ZipRecruiter, an online job board based in Santa Monica, California. The title change will help them feel more accomplished and as though they’re advancing in their careers. Similarly to Devine, Sahami echoed that everyone in the workforce wants the opportunity for advancement and growth. Without that opportunity, retaining the individual becomes difficult.
“If they’re not seeing that growth and that projection of their career internally, it allows other companies to come in and recruit your talent and give them that title,” Sahami said.
However, Sahami doesn’t feel that skills necessarily take precedence over titles. “Skills represent the expertise that the candidate has and that a job requires,” she said. “The duties of the position should really be commensurate with the title.”
Sahami recognizes that titles and the disparities between jobs require careful consideration in the hiring process, which begins with solidifying the job description. This serves as the basis for the entire search. Her colleague, Suzanne Harrison, senior corporate recruiter at ZipRecruiter, added that the interview process should include clearly defined parameters of responsibilities and duties. The recruiting team, hiring manager and interview team should clearly define the duties and speak with candidates on their background and skills to be sure they match with the job description.
“Regardless of title, the job description should be very, very clear,” Harrison said. The No. 1 reason for people leaving positions is that they’re not doing what they were hired to do, or the position is not what they expected, she added.
Transparency in job descriptions extends beyond the company that’s hiring. With social media sites such as LinkedIn, candidates can include all duties performed on a job without a word limit as seen on traditional résumés, said Bill Schiemann, CEO of Metrus Group Inc., a business research and management consultancy in Somerville, New Jersey. LinkedIn, along with technology like Smashfly, can comb sites to search for qualifications to find people who are the best fit for jobs.
However, these lengthy job descriptions can become cumbersome to recruiters who seek candidates manually and without the help of search technology. Navigating this becomes a balancing act between having enough information that a recruiter finds the right candidate, while keeping information focused and to the point.
Titles of the Future
In emerging industries, Schiemann sees hierarchies having less importance, as there are fewer layers to increasingly flat organizations. Instead, there’s more emphasis on the speciality of workers and their knowledge than their titles.
Another trend is in people performing multiple jobs, meaning their titles can’t be as standardized as traditional roles. “When you don’t have it standardized, it kind of loses its meaning,” Schiemann said.
With titles that lack standardization, tension between workers could arise. If two people have the same title but perform dramatically different tasks or workloads, workers might feel they should be paid the same.
“Titles can give rise to perceived inequities when the jobs aren’t the same,” he said.
Thus, leadership should proceed with caution and shy away from assigning broad titles that don’t have much definition to them. Schiemann advised that leaders should look to other companies in their industry to see how they title employees, and use those titles where there is clear replicability within the company.
And although Schiemann thinks job titles will play an increasingly smaller role than in the past, “I don’t think it’s going to go away because people need shorthands,” Schiemann said.
Lauren Dixon is an associate editor at Talent Economy. To comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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