Hiring Wisdom: “Experience Needed.” Oh Really?

From istockphoto.com

Count yourself as fortunate if you’re NOT among the scores of employers desperately searching to fill the nationwide shortages of truck drivers, nurses, and industrial construction workers. But don’t start feeling smug either.

The trends indicate a greater demand for workers than can be supplied because of Baby Boomer retirements and the declining growth rate of the working-age population (just 0.15 percent to 0.25 percent per year, down from 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent in recent years). Six of 12 major urban areas tracked are also reporting shortages of unskilled, entry-level, frontline workers right now.

Rethinking how to meet your labor needs

Whether you’re desperate now or will be desperate later, here are some uncommon, common sense ideas to help you meet your labor needs:

  • Rethink your requirements — Does the job really require someone with “x” years of experience? If you will hire an average person who’s done an average job for five years, why wouldn’t you hire a STAR employee who’s done an outstanding job for two years? How about hiring inexperienced people with great attitudes and talent and developing an in-house training program that rewards your best employees for training your new hires?
  • Is there another way to get the job done? — Can you or should you outsource the job? Could existing employees take it on for added compensation or other possible incentives? (Still a lot cheaper than a new hire.) Could you fill the position if it could be “job shared?”

“Experience Required.” REALLY!

If you cannot get around your particular requirement for experience, you will find the people you need one place and one place only — among the gainfully employed.

In other words, when there’s a labor shortage for any one type of worker, everyone who is any good and wants to work is already working.

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So, you know right where to target your recruiting efforts, right? Not if you are among those who are reluctant to actively recruit employed people and there are many. Some don’t want to “upset the apple cart” with folks they know from a trade association or the local Rotary Club or their kids’ athletic program or they may just be against it on “moral grounds.”

Three things to remember

Whatever the reason, they fail to take into account three things:

  1. It isn’t personal, it’s just business — Your No. 1 job, the one you’re being paid for, is to protect the best interests of your organization. If you need experience, then go get it!
  2. It isn’t “stealing” –– Stealing is a wrongheaded concept here because employees do not belong to their employers. Employees are not an owned asset; they are investors who invest talents and labor for a return on their investment. (You can have the best employees if your organization is the best investment they can make.)
  3. It’s a Win/Win situation — The companies with the best employees are the most productive, innovative, flexible, and profitable. They are good for their employees, good for their customers, and good for their communities.

This was originally published in the June 2014 Humetrics Hiring Hints newsletter.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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