Talent Circles

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Recruiting still lost in an Escher maze

By Kevin W. Grossman

She took the microphone, paused, then asked, “So how do I get noticed when I apply to a company online and my resume goes into an applicant tracking system with dozens of others competing for the same position with similar qualifications and keywords?”

She feigned a smile, held the mic at half-mast and then handed it back to me. Not just dozens of applicants, I thought, hundreds if not thousands. Not matter how she served herself up, no matter the keywords used and embedded throughout her resume and online profile, she’ll still most likely get lost in the proverbial black hole.

This particular candidate experience has been written about more than most, and unfortunately hasn’t changed much over time. My recent experience volunteering to speak at Hirewire, a local organization to help job seekers in Santa Cruz County with career development and job search advice, verified this sentiment from the woman above as well as over 20 others who attended the monthly event. Multiply that across similar gatherings in municipalities all over the U.S.

According to a recent HR Executive article titled Not Ready for Recruiting, we’re still not improving. In fact, in the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey from Allied Van Lines highlighted in the article, found two-thirds of 500 HR professionals polled saying they have "extensive" or "moderate" plans for hiring this year, and 80 percent of larger companies – with more than 10,000 employees – plan for "extensive" or "moderate" recruiting. And yet, 52 percent of those respondents consider their recruiting programs to be only "somewhat successful."

Ho-hum, diddly dumb.

Complicate that with the highly competitive IT job market. According to a TLNT article, 83 percent of startups from a Silicon Valley Bank survey said they’ll add IT staff in the next year. But, a Dice survey says that despite the growing competition for tech talent, getting professionals to jump ship isn’t easy. Only 37 percent of the surveyed managers say their voluntary departures have increased this year.

A big disconnect that relates to all this is the fact that although many companies have made progress in creating initial quality user-experience career sites, when it comes to actually applying for the jobs, it’s like trying to traverse an M.C. Escher drawing where you end up where you never started from.

Recruiting is getting more complicated than ever and it’s amazing to me that companies aren’t making the candidate experience any easier to explore career opportunities – and this means new candidates as well as internal candidates. Sourcing, recruiting, hiring and retention should be highly collaborative activities, and yet we’re truly still lost in an endless Escher maze, losing quality hires and internal moves along the way.


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