SmartRecruiters Blog

People’s Causes of Unemployment

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world,” wrote Howard Zinn (‘The Optimism of Uncertainty,’ 2004). For unemployment to approach zero, the labor market must transform, and this transformation requires the ideas of many.

On Linkedin, Jessica Miller-Merrell posed the question, “Is there a solution to fixing or improving the recruiting process? Why is it so hard to find good people for your organization when unemployment is at 8.8%?”

Professionals have spoken and the trends are (1.) unrealistic expectations upon candidates, (2.) preventable communication breakdowns, and (3.) companies’ reluctance to train. Let us examine.

(1.) Unrealistic Expectations upon Candidates, and their Effects:

    • Stephanie Clark: “Not enough employers make their expectations clear. They don’t connect the dotted line between what they expect the employee to achieve and the “why” or how it impacts the company’s bottom line. Stated in another way, they don’t share their buying motivators.”


    • James Bupp: “I have seldom seen problems finding good people, unless the skill set is so esoteric that there are few candidates. What I have seen are companies that make it such a big deal – so much time and effort to choose a person – that jobs go unfilled.”


    • Russ Boreham: “Employers always want the top 10% for their company, nobody ever goes into the market saying that they just want an average Joe/Jo to work standard hours and then go home.”


    • Guy Vachon: “The extra months required to find the ideal 100% person (if you can ever find him/her) fit miss the point … it’s called opportunity cost.”


Possible Solutions and Alternative Mindsets:

    • Stephanie Clark: “To start, I’d suggest better job postings, ones that identify expectations!”


    • Lori L. Kuklinski: “I personally say, stop relying on the HR Tools that replace common sense. Start looking at me as an individual and not a number.”


    • Francisco Laborde: “Modern organizations need workers who understand what’s expected from them and are prepared to improve their own work processes based on measurement and analysis of the results as it affects customer satisfaction. . . Modern workers are flexible members of a community, not pegs in a machine.”


(2.) Preventable Communication Breakdowns:

    • Migdalia Burgos:“The level of poor communication and worse manners is quite high these days. Most organizations have a “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” attitude that’s insulting.”


    • Mark Warren: “Don’t read this and say ‘not us’ because I see it in every company and industry. Examples, ** ‘I drove a hundred miles interviewed with 4 people and spent an hour filling out paperwork. At the end I was told that there were a couple of other candidates and they would get back to me no later than 10 days. I never heard from them; not even the rejection form letter. I reached out to them and they never responded’ ** It was obvious that the recruiter had not read my resume. He knew nothing about me and knew very little about the job.’ I could give hundreds of examples I hear it every single day and frankly I am at a loss to understand the trend. . .  to your question why are the good people hard to find, maybe they don’t want to be found.”


    • James Kendrick: “Usually this happens because, knowingly or unknowingly, your goals and objectives in HR and recruiting are not the same as the hiring manager.”


    • Sven Ringling: “From my personal experience on both ends of the recruitment process, it has become extremely cumbersome through the disengagement of first hiring managers and then even corporate HR, leaving it with graduates working in a sweat shop style environment – incentivised and managed as in mobile contract sales – to match business requirements with the right people. It doesn’t work, but for some reason it goes on and on and on -“


    • Howard Berkson: “One of the biggest problems in recruitment comes with the use of professional recruiters who have little or no expertise in the job for which they are recruiting. This leads to reliance on litmus tests that often exclude highly qualified candidates.”


Possible Process Adjustments:

    • Greg Gardner: “Get your staff involved. Offer incentives to encourage them to promote your company and network with potential candidates.”


    • Darrell Z. DiZoglio: “I think part of the solution has to be using your own employees to act as quality filters and referral sources. . . I also would highly recommend abandoning the common practice of ignoring the unemployed candidates if your company and your recruiters do this (many do).”


    • Mark Herbert: “The issue isn’t the numbers, it is the process. High performing organizations have always had better processes. They recognize that the acquisition, development, and retention of talent is a strategic, competitive advantage not a “program” or relegated exclusively to HR…Link.


(3.) Companies’ Reluctance to Train:

    • Rose Spano Iannelli: “Good people are everywhere – employers however are asking for good people with specific skill sets and that pie is shrinking.”


    • Lisa Nofzinger: “I think, in a lot of cases, organizations need people with certain technical skills and most workers don’t have them.”


    • Shawn Duffy: “No one wants to train anyone. I’m not talking “ground-up” but companies think they can find someone with 100% of their requirements. Hiring someone is not like equipping a car where the factory puts in what you want. You have to get as close as reasonably possible then go from there.”


Why Train?

    • Guy Vachon: “Many hiring companies (and some internal and external recruiting professionals) lose sight of the 85/15 rule … when you find someone that meets 85% of the stated need, fits the culture, and wants the job, hire the person.”


    • David R.V.: “Most places look for that 100% fit for a position while their are many 85%-95% people that could start tomorrow and grow into 100% in no time.”


    • Richard Saling: “If a person fits the culture and they have most of the needed skills and they have an advanced degree… They can figure out what little is missing. Hire the person.”


Working creates skills. I am not alone in arguing that if companies settle for the best candidate available now, they will possess the ideal candidate sooner. Plus, through the candidate’s learning curve, the company will be paying for output instead of paying for recruiting. Make the right hire, today.

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David Smooke

David Smooke was the Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at SmartRecruiters and is the Founder of ArtMap Inc & AMI Publications.