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Where Have All the Applicants Gone?

So many jobs and nobody to fill them.

This is what I'm hearing and reading about nearly every day of the week from numerous HR professionals and business owners; they are unable to find qualified individuals. Newspaper articles entitled "Here are the jobs Maine employers struggle to fill" further indicate that there are many jobs that can't be filled. When I look at the statistics I see more RED area in the bar graph identified as "difficult to fill" than I see GRAY identified as "not difficult to fill."

I'm also hearing from unemployed, under employed, and not happily employed individuals who are saying that they can't find satisfying employment. When I ask follow up questions during my conversations with these individuals, I generally find they can't get past the online application system. BINGO! The notorious online application--flush with key word search capability. If you don't know the "code" you're not likely to have your online application identified as a "match." To further compound the problem, think for a moment about a new American whose native language is not English. I've heard first-hand that the online application process is overwhelming, burdensome, and simply unfriendly for many who do not consider English their first language.

Whether English is your native language or not, the online application is considered by many job seekers to be a barrier to employment.

The few HR professionals and business owners I speak with who ARE successful in their candidate searches have reverted back to (or have never veered from in the first place) the tried- and-true resume review, personal introduction, friendly referral, and networking.

Coincidence? Not likely. Maybe success isn't defined by the high tech, robotic-like online application system that screens OUT as many applicants as possible, rather than screening IN potential candidates. I've tested a few of these systems and, yes, they do make it easy for the screener to sort, categorize, and file the many applications received. I wonder. . .has recruitment become simply a clerical function to be managed in the most efficient manner?

On one hand employers are saying they can't find enough qualified candidates, yet on the other they are saying they have SO many applications that they need a robot to manage them. If you use one of these systems, I'll bet all of your online applications have been sorted nicely. Now consider how many people you've hired lately. Are you pleased with your results? If you are, then why are you still saying you can't find qualified candidates? Why do the headlines scream that companies can't find talent? Why can't unemployed, under employed and not happily employed individuals find YOU?

I'll cast a wide net and make my own decisions about who may or may not be qualified,

and I'll leave technology for complex algorithms and behind-the-scenes workings that make what I produce aesthetically pleasing. When it comes to people, I'll continue to choose my own.

Stay tuned for future blogs on other challenges your organization may be facing. Hint: culture, work/life balance, pay, benefits, working conditions. And if you need assistance, please keep HR Studio Group, LLC, in mind. It's what we do.

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