At the Kennedy Recruiting Conference I attended some interesting presentations and – of even more value – had the chance to speak with a number of recruiters, both internal and external. One theme that cropped up over and over is – despite the economic downturn and relatively high unemployment -Â the challenge of finding good candidates.
Despite sophisticated applicant tracking systems, countless job posting opportunities, recruiter sourcing through social networks, and enormous data-finding capabilities, recruiters still have a hard time finding enough candidates and the right candidates for specific jobs. What this means for you, the job seeker:
- Be specific about your expertise. Vague, general overviews don’t tell recruiters enough about you to conclude that you have what they need.
- Be visible in your areas of expertise. Attend and speak at professional association meetings. Write articles and blog postings. Comment on others’ blogs. Share your expertise and your opinions… and let the recruiters find you.
- Research where your expertise and interests might lead you. For example, if you are a clinical practitioner (maybe a nurse), have some knowledge of hospital technology systems, love to travel, and are eager to move away from direct patient care, you could have a satisfying and lucrative new career as a technology implementation consultant to healthcare systems. Bottom line: look for needs that intersect with your knowledge, experience, and personal interests, then find companies that respond to those needs.
One disturbing trend I noticed is the continued preference for passive job seekers. There is still tremendous bias towards those who are employed and lingering beliefs that “the best people don’t get laid off.” Having worked with extremely talented professionals who were, in fact, affected by corporate downsizing, I know this is nonsense. Plus, there are so many reasons that an individual might be unemployed that using this as a recruiting criterion seems extremely silly.
My final thought about recruiting: It needs a shot in the arm from the marketing department. In fact, successful companies need to market themselves to future employees just as seriously as they market their products or services to consumers. Yet most HR people are not marketing oriented, and despite the ubiquitous trend toward employment branding, most companies don’t invest the resources and talent necessary to make their recruiting function as vibrant as their marketing area. Those that do make the investment will reap the rewards – a more talented, more engaged workforce that creates and supports a winning culture.