No B. S. Hiring Advice: Are They Leaving Your Firm Yet?

If you are hiring white collar or skilled labor, I’m sure you are already noticing how difficult it is to find and hire talent for your available positions and that some of very good people (if not your best people) are starting to leave.

This often happens post recession as firms struggle to adjust from a mentality of thinking that they hold all the cards to one where employees now have choices and firms are aggressively trying to poach talent from others.

With many fewer people in the labor market, with so many having found it next to impossible to launch their careers after graduation, what can you do to retain and hire talent?

1. Appreciate your existing talent.

Appreciation doesn’t always require money, although it helps. Often appreciation is shown by a manager’s kind words and support, his or her encouragement and demands and thanks for a job well done.

2. Training and opportunity post-training.

I can’t tell you how many people are reaching into their own pockets to train themselves in new skills or functions and then going off to other firms to use those new skills. I believe many would not be leaving if firms were paying for that training and then offering people the opportunity (or timeline) to use those newly acquired skills.

3. Accelerate your hiring process.

Is the person qualified or not? If not reject them and don’t allow hiring managers (or if you are the hiring manager) to string people along because you are afraid of making a decision. One of the most (justifiably)infuriating things job hunters contend with is hiring procrastination. You never hire the people you string along anyway. Why do it? (Oh! Provide constructive feedback. Too light means nothing. Be specific as to deficiencies).

4. Actually partner with recruiters

Hiding behind a wall of vendor management systems sending job requirements and not speaking with recruiters to define the nuisances of the requirement commoditizes hiring and causes you to evaluate more resumes, not fewer. Don’t blame the recruiter. It’s your fault for communicating what you really want and prioritizing clearly what is required and not.

And by the way, I read so many job descriptions where items listed as pluses are actually requirements and vice versa, and items listed as requirements are not actually needed. If I wasn’t speaking to someone, how would I know that?

5. Hire more entry level people and veterans.

So many organizations try to hire finished products. As it stands now, in the US there are very few 4-5 year people (I’m writing this in 2014) because the recession was in full bloom and no one hired beginners for at least two years. With skilled immigration capped at low levels, the talent pool is smaller and universities are graduating an inferior product. Entry level workers need to be trained in basic workforce expectations.

On the other hand veterans may not have the specific skills sought but in most cases you will have no issue with their drive and effort. Test them and train them in the skills sought.

A friend, a 25+ year Air Force officer, relayed the story of how people leaving the service who were doing field medical work in combat did not possess certifications for EMT jobs.

That’s ridiculous. If you’re a hospital or local government, you hire these people, pay for them to study for their certifications and they work loyally for yo.

© Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2014, 2015