Bridging the Disconnect Between Job Candidates and Hiring Managers

© frank peters -
© frank peters -

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If you ask hiring managers, you might believe there is a shortage of talent, and if you asked job candidates, you might believe that there are many jobs out there they are qualified for but never get called back on.

The problem, as we’ll cover in this podcast, is that they are both right.

The disconnect between job requirements and candidates

This week, I talked to Alexandra Levit, a business and workplace author, speaker and consultant about some of these issues. The main piece we talked about was research from the Career Advisory Board (summary available here in PDF format). In short:

  • According to the survey, hiring managers place the highest value on the following skills: strategic perspective, high integrity, global outlook, strong base work ethic/dependable and accountability.
  • More than half (56 percent) of job seekers are confident they know what qualifications are required for employment, and 72 percent of job seekers are confident they know how to present their skills during an interview. Yet, only 14 percent of hiring managers reported that “most” or “nearly all” job candidates, over the past three years, have had the skills their company looks for in a potential employee.
  • More than half (57 percent) of job seekers surveyed are pursuing mid-level or managerial positions. However, hiring managers reported among the most important skills at the managerial level  – strategic perspective, global outlook and business acumen – are highly valued but rarely seen in candidates.
  • Only 9 percent of hiring managers reported they would be “extremely” or “very likely” to hire a managerial candidate who lacked the necessary skills but appeared eager to learn those skills on the job. However, just 30 percent of job seekers ranked prior experience as the top factor in leading to a desirable job.

What can HR do?

This might be the toughest part of the equation but there are several things that Levit and I talked about during the podcast.

One of the most important things is truly figuring out what is important for every job you’re hiring for (not what’s standard, or has been done in the past or simply what a hiring manager says they need). Pushing back on requirements (and adding in requirements that are necessary but are not mentioned or may be assumed) is the biggest role HR and recruiting leaders can play on the ground level.

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On a more strategic level, being able to invest more into training and development to fill critical education needs is one way to control your destiny as a company. If you have a constant supply of educated and developed folks in house that you can tap rather than hoping that the educational system keeps up, you really have much more control over the entire process.

HR folks can also help communicate with educators and early career advisors about what they are looking for, especially from entry level grads, that can be of great benefit too over the long run.

For the rest of the discussion, listen in on the podcast below:

[buzzsprout episode=”36405″ player=”true”]

Lance Haun is the practice director of strategy and insights for The Starr Conspiracy, where he focuses on researching and writing about work technology. He is also a former editor for ERE Media, broadly covering the world of human resources, recruiting, and sourcing. 
He has been featured as a work expert in publications like the Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, MSNBC, Fast Company, and other HR and business websites.
He's based in his Vancouver, Wash., home office with his wife and adorable daughter. You can reach him by email or find him off-topic on Twitter.