Finding Talent in Aisle 4

“Attention all shoppers. J2EE developers are available on sale in aisle 4. Bring your developer to the register and receive 10% off the marked price.”

Since “The Great Recession” began, too many employers have treated individuals with special skills as no more than commodities to be purchased in bulk as though they were a blue light special (for those of you outside the United States, one American retailer would place a blue light in the aisle near a sale item and refer to it as a blue light special).

The result of this commoditizing of talent by your firm will probably impact your firm’s reputation in a marketplace that has started to show signs of labor shortages in certain critical areas like IT.

Don’t believe me?

A Director of a function with a firm was chose between three job offers based upon the firm’s reputation with his friends and the behavior they exhibited on his interviews and did not choose the highest money offer.

This is becoming a more common occurrence as people have ready access to information online, the ability to maintain relationships with former colleagues through social networking and the job market has become more active again.

Another person being hired to lead a function in an insurance firm was so impressed with how the executive leadership interviewed him and established a relationship with him during its numerous interviews, that he was prepared to accept a lesser offer . . . but did not have to. As a matter of fact, he received a job offer with a financial incentive to remain with them for several years (something that with his employment history was unnecessary).

My point is that we are back to times when it will be critical to return to the attitude of selling your organization and your job opportunity to potential hires.

And not just at middle and senior management levels but at seemingly junior staff levels.

Last week, I received a call from a good client asking for someone with 2-3 years experience with a particular skill and was unwilling gto consider someone a little more senior.

I asked, “Where do you think I can find this person? They don’t exist.”

“Why don’t they exist?”

“Because 2-3 years ago when we were in the midst of the great economic calamity that destroyed the Western financial system, no one hired anyone. Now there is no one with 2-3 years of experience.”

Yes, talent shortages are in our future in many job catagories as a logical outcome of corporate behavior the past few years.

Often, it doesn’t take money to advantage your business in your sector. It takes the persistent effort to build a great reputation and the willingness to expend effort in all your interviews to leave everyone with a great feeling about your business even if you don’t plan on hiring them.




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