2019-03-26 HRExaminer article jeff dickey chasins employer hiring anxiety photo img cc0 via pexels abstract art break 414752 crop 544px final.jpg
The recruitment marketing industry has always been the beneficiary of employers’ hiring anxiety. Why would they bother to use a job board or recruiting service if they weren’t at least a little bit anxious about their own abilities to fill an open position?

About a decade ago, the anxiety shifted to the industry itself as the recession dropped down. Suddenly there were plenty of qualified candidates, but not so many jobs. It took a while, but employers (at least, those that survived the recession) lost their anxiety about hiring. They thought, ‘Hey, big surplus of candidates! We got the jobs! We’re in the driver’s seat! How hard can this hiring stuff be?’. And they quit taking calls from job boards and recruiting sites because – they said – ‘We just don’t need you. We can find our own candidates.’

For some employers, this was indeed true. The recession had sharpened their survival skills and reshaped their workforce needs. They had a clearer idea of the specific skills they needed. And they certainly had people knocking on their door. These employers were the recruitment marketing industry’s former clients.

Jeff Dickey-Chasins aka "The Job Board Doctor", HRExaminer.com Editorial Advisory Board

Jeff Dickey-Chasins aka “The Job Board Doctor”, Member HRExaminer.com Editorial Advisory Board

For others, the claim that they could find their own candidates on their own turned out to be ‘wishful thinking.’ It turned out that although these employers were great at their primary business (be it widget-making or financial analysis or whatever), they weren’t quite so good at hiring. They discovered (again) that finding the right candidates was actually kind of hard.

Those employers are the recruitment marketing industry’s current clients.

Now employers are in a new age of hiring anxiety. Why? First, the market as close to full employment> as possible in most of the U.S. There are, in many sectors, more jobs than there are qualified candidates to fill them. If an employer is shopping for a data scientist or a skilled welder, they may well be out of luck. Then there are a few external factors: in the U.S., tariffs seem to be leading to trade wars with multiple major powers, including China, the EU, Canada, and Mexico. If an employer is affected by the trade wars, well…they’re anxious. Also, restrictions and conflict around immigration are causing labor supply upheavals in the U.S. and the EU. Again, if an employer depends on immigrant or seasonal labor, well…they’re anxious.

So what should the recruitment marketing industry – which is theoretically the supplier of sourcing and hiring services – actually be doing for these anxious employers? As is often the case, there is no one, simple answer. But here are a few suggestions:

Vendors should be looking hard at non-traditional candidate populations with the skills or capabilities to fill employers’ needs – even if those candidates don’t have the formal qualifications. Vendors should focus on assessing them and bringing them to their clients.

Vendors should be helping their candidates that want to ‘upskill’ themselves into a new job or industry by providing them with training, assessments, and certifications. Moving low-skilled workers into higher-skilled jobs is a good way of expanding the candidate population and helping employers at the same time.

Vendors should engage with employers about their hard-to-fill positions. What do they really need – as opposed to what they are asking for? Often, job descriptions include requirements that aren’t germane to the actual job. (Doing this may also tie back into the 1st suggestion about non-traditional candidate populations!)

I know many recruitment marketing vendors are already tackling clients’ hiring anxiety with specific services and tools. Keep up the good work! But those that aren’t? Well, food for thought. Your customers’ hiring anxiety won’t go away anytime soon.

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