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Why Does It Feel Like Everyone’s Hiring, but No One’s Being Hired?

By Tom Jones, Aston Carter Business Development Executive

The Labor Market Is Hot — but Who’s Getting Hired?

Despite the Federal Reserve’s attempts to cool our economy, January’s labor report showed incredible job growth and the lowest unemployment rate since 1969. There’s no doubt that the labor market is ripe with open positions, but many job seekers wonder who’s getting hired. Two opposing narratives seem to emerge in the headlines: Companies claim they cannot find qualified workers, while candidates say that hundreds of applications go unanswered.

Despite the disconnect, there appears to be a silver lining. Job seekers are ready and willing to fill open positions, employers just need to know how to find and retain them. The key to this may be a fundamental reimagining of how companies hire, train and create flexible work practices to fill open positions.

To Find Workers, the Hiring Process Needs to Change

Hiring and onboarding can be significant obstacles when finding and retaining the best talent. Lengthy and cumbersome hiring practices combined with a lack of human touchpoints during hiring may turn off prospective candidates. Similarly, onboarding that lacks efficiency, strategic training initiatives and relational support may lead to higher and more frequent turnover. Employers should evaluate their current processes from the ground up, starting with their job descriptions and hiring processes, continuing through onboarding procedures to determine where they are losing talent.

Make Sure Job Descriptions Are Up-to-Date and Accurate

Job postings are important for finding the right candidates because they explain what the job involves and what skills the ideal candidate needs. Unfortunately, many job postings fail to describe the role completely, and employers often include too many “must haves” or list unrealistic skills as requirements, which may prevent job seekers from applying.

To write an accurate job posting, employers should consult people currently working in that role. It’s important to find out what skills employees use most often on the job and what a typical day looks like. This approach gives employers a more realistic idea of what skills and experiences an ideal candidate should possess.

Employers should also consider limiting their “must-haves” to a few essentials. Consider rethinking educational requirements and accept comparable experience instead. When there are too many nonnegotiable skills requirements, qualified candidates might self-reject or get weeded out by artificial intelligence.

Don’t Let AI Eliminate Qualified Talent

Recruiters often use artificial intelligence to screen resumes, saving countless hours eliminating unqualified candidates. Although applicant tracking systems (ATS) are helpful, they often overlook great candidates. Overly specific job descriptions cause candidates to be filtered out because their skills and experience do not match exact keywords.

A study by Harvard Business School found that 88% of employers believe that qualified, highly skilled applicants are screened out because their resumes do not meet the exact criteria in the job descriptions. To prevent the rejection of qualified candidates, ensure the job description isn’t too narrow or filled with “must-haves.”

Focus on Streamlining the Interview and Onboarding Process

In a tight labor market, every single day counts. Finding and retaining talent requires a streamlined interview and onboarding process. To begin, the job application should be simple and straightforward. One CareerBuilder survey found that 31% of respondents reported abandoning an application if it took too long to complete. At the same time, nearly half skipped an application if it was too confusing or complicated. Even once an application is submitted, lengthy interview processes that stretch across weeks or even months leave candidates open to competitors who may be able to secure them a role more quickly.

After a candidate has received a job offer, onboarding becomes essential to retaining a talented employee. An estimated third of new hires are likely to leave within six months. Efficient, strategic onboarding that lays out clear expectations helps keep employees engaged and reduces turnover.

A Skills Gap Makes Training a Necessity

As a McKinsey Global Survey reported, 87% of surveyed employers are experiencing a skills gap or expect to in the next few years. The perfect candidate is unlikely to exist for many employers, and waiting for one will only leave roles unfilled, costing companies money and leading to burnout in other workers stepping up to fill the gap.

In this tight job market, companies should invest in training to produce their ideal candidates. To do this, companies should consider developing training programs, partnering with local colleges or trade schools to increase participation or providing comprehensive on-the-job training for candidates who have many, but not all, of the skills employers seek.

Be Open to Remote and Flexible Work

Adapting to changing labor markets requires organizations to decide where they’re willing to compromise. For many, remote or flexible work will be vital to attracting talent. The demand for remote work is strong across industries, with many prioritizing it in their job searches.

An internal Aston Carter survey of accounting and finance candidates found that these candidates ranked remote work options as the most important deciding factor when choosing a new job, even beating out higher salaries. Many workers will favor companies that offer flexible work policies.

Employers who refuse to adjust to the demand for remote work will find themselves struggling to attract top talent. This goes beyond just responding to candidates’ wants. Companies that require on-site work can only pull from a talent pool of workers within a commutable distance, limiting their access to candidates. Remote or flexible work and improved remote training can help employers compete in the labor market and fill open positions more quickly.

Access Qualified Talent With the Help of a Workforce Solutions Partner

Employers can gain access to qualified talent for some of the most in-demand skill sets today by working with a staffing and workforce solutions partner like Aston Carter. Aston Carter recruiters are experts in the industries they support and bring a deep knowledge of the field and labor market to every partnership. As workforce solutions partners, we focus on the whole life cycle of an employee, from recruitment through retention. This includes implementing processes that focus on onboarding, performance optimization, insights and analytics to ensure companies have access to an optimal workforce.

Contact us to learn how Aston Carter can develop, support or manage talent recruitment solutions.

Tom Jones is a business development executive on Aston Carter’s Strategic Sales and Solutions team. His expertise in workforce solutions spans nearly 20 years. In addition to building strategic partnerships, Tom creates customized solutions for clients across a wide range of industries and segments.

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