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Is there a skills shortage or are employers too tough on candidates?

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

The persistent and much-publicised skills shortage that characterises the UK economy has long been a hot topic in the recruitment sphere.

From factual figures to fear-mongering blogs, employers can’t go online without reading new theories on the so-called talent crisis.

Now, as the national employment rate reaches a record high and we hurtle towards our official EU exit in 2019, all headlines point to one outcome: complete candidate extinction.

However, while a prominent skills shortage is good reason for a business leader to be concerned, the challenge that lies within sourcing and securing the right candidates often starts with the employer. If a pile of promising CVs have already found their way to the shredder but the position remains unfilled, it might be a good time to ask yourself whether the talent pool is too shallow, or you’re simply too tough on candidates.

If the following scenarios sound familiar, there’s a good chance you need to lower your expectations, and revise your approach.

1. You’re holding out for a hero

All too often, hiring managers hold out for months until they find The One; the ‘Baby Bear’ of candidates; the individual who needs no training or on-boarding to fit right into their role and start achieving results. Unsurprisingly, the same method on Tinder (or other such dating apps) is a sure fire way to stay single.

Of course, it may be the case that your candidate is out there, but whether they are seeking a new job, and interested in working for your company is a different story. While you endlessly swipe left for months on end in search for the perfect candidate, a passionate and intelligent professional is awaiting a reply to their application for the role. With a normal amount of nurturing, they could be up to speed within a mere matter of weeks.

2. Empty seats are killing results

If open vacancies are starting to cause a dent in the business’ bottom line, it’s a clear indicator that you’re too indecisive when it comes to recruiting new staff. Truthfully, most companies fail to measure the financial impact of unfilled positions and their fussy hiring habits - it’s when it becomes noticeable, that concern is raised.

However, as well as the monetary consequences, vacant positions can quickly take a toll on your existing employees.

After all, the work still needs to be completed, which adds extra pressure for the current team members. If the vacancy drags on, additional workload will become the norm, and your staff will soon become burnt out, and demotivated.

3. Your cost-per-hire is getting higher

An attractive salary is a staple of any competitive job offer, but if you’re spending more and more to secure top talent, you may not be getting the best return on your investment. Unfortunately, ‘purple squirrels’ are few and far between: hunting them out and throwing more money into the mix will only help to create cut-throat competition for their services.  Given the younger generations’ reputation for job-hopping, there really is little benefit to be gained from being too selective.

For 20 years, the Allen Associates team has been helping employers in Oxfordshire secure the talent they really need. Can we help you? Click here for more information.

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